The roster of people carrying student debt is really just "a list of people liable to additional taxation after graduation"; in 2007, GW Bush signed into law the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program that would allow debt-haunted grads to earn loan forgiveness by foregoing the private sector and working for lower wages in public service for a decade.
In theory, thousands of people should be having their debts wiped away this year. In reality, less than one percent of the people enrolled in the program will see that happen. The rest are screwed.
The PSLF program is a bureaucratic nightmare of paperwork mountains that must be perfectly ordered, at all times -- despite the administering agency routinely losing and messing up its own records.
In addition, the eligibility requirements are incredibly confusing, resulting in many of the enrollees being signed up, even though they shouldn't be -- a fact they don't discover until their decade of service is up.
All that adds up to the fact that in about a decade, millions of people are likely to find themselves in the same position as Debbie Baker. She's a teacher in Oklahoma who had always been under the impression she was going to have her debt erased, only to find out to her horror that she had the "wrong type" of loan when she went to apply.
"I almost threw up," she told CNBC. "I've been teaching 18 years and I still don't make $40,000— and now I have to start all over."
You're Probably Not Getting that Loan Forgiveness You're Counting On [Allie Conti/Vice]
(Image: Donkey Hotey, CC-BY)
Kaja Robinson is 53 and has a daughter about to go off to college, but she is still embroiled in bizarre, kafkaesque disputes over the $17,000 student loan she took out in the 1980s: for decades, she has had to set aside whole days to call debt collectors and try to get them to acknowledge […]
On NPR's always-excellent Rough Translation podcast comes an incredibly complex and nuanced story (MP3, transcript) about marginalized, racialized people in public housing in Marseille who found an accepting haven in a local McDonald's franchise, and who banded together to save it -- and other nearby McD's -- in a series of direct actions ranging from […]
Thomas Piketty, the French economist behind 2014's game-changing Capital in the 21st Century, has a new book, Capital and Ideology (out in France now, coming in English in 2020), which uses the same long-run economic series that Capital 21C benefited from to understand the relationship between wealth and ideology. Central to Piketty's thesis: that it's […]
There’s overwhelming support for clean energy, and the planet is giving us more reasons to invest in renewable power sources with every passing year. Even in the most inhospitable areas, wind and solar can provide a good chunk of our power, if not all of it. So why aren’t we all taking advantage of it? […]
Hey, we love Netflix and Hulu, but let’s face it: The whole setup doesn’t exactly encourage active viewing. For all the binge-watching we’ve done, it’s tough to expand our horizons or learn anything new – except for how many episodes of “The Office” it takes to make us fall asleep. It was only a matter […]
Still using elbow grease to clean the sinks, tubs and other grimy surfaces around your house? Save your elbows, and some time. If you’ve got a power drill, the RevoClean® 4-in-1 Drill Brush Cleaning Kit will instantly turn it into a professional scrubber that can tackle any stain on any surface. Attach the 4″ nylon […]