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The public service loan forgiveness program has helped only 1.2% of NY applicants

A pile of paper money with a black graduation cap on top of it.

The federal program that is supposed to forgive student loans for workers who choose public service has failed in New York, according to a report from U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

The report talks about the 89,900 borrowers who applied for the federal public service loan forgiveness program in New York, and that just 1,099 received debt forgiveness.

The program was introduced in 2007 and promised to wipe out federal student debt in exchange for 10 years of work in the public sector. Gillibrand has introduced a bill to revamp the program.

“[The bill would] provide borrowers with a new option to have half of their loan forgiven after five years,” Gillibrand said. “They could then either pursue a career in a new field with less debt or continue to work in public service for the next five years and receive full forgiveness.”

Gillibrand said the five-year forgiveness option could help 12,000 borrowers in the state of New York alone. The bill would also expand eligibility and fix application problems. It applies to workers in fields like health care, public safety and other jobs in federal, state and local government.

The Biden administration announced other temporary improvements to the program this month.