NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – As the cost of higher education rises at some schools, student debt can become a serious barrier to a college degree or financial independence after graduation. But since October 2021, nearly 3,400 New Mexicans have had some educational debt forgiven.

The forgiveness comes from the U.S. Department of Education. It’s part of their nationwide Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

The federal program offers loan forgiveness to people who work in qualified public service jobs after graduation, such as teaching, law enforcement, or firefighting. And although the program has been around since 2007, recent changes to the program are something President Biden’s Administration has highlighted.

“To date, the Biden-Harris team has kept that promise for more than 615,000 teachers, nurses, social workers, servicemembers, and other public servants by approving a combined $42 billion in student loan debt forgiveness,” the U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a press release. The difference that Public Service Loan Forgiveness is making in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans reminds us why we must continue doing everything we can to fight for borrowers and why families cannot afford to have progress derailed by partisan politicians.”

But there are limits to the forgiveness program. One big limit: Loans from private lenders do not qualify, according to the U.S. Department of Education. And borrowers do have to make payments for 10 years before qualifying for forgiveness. For more info on how to qualify, you can check the Public Service Loan Forgiveness website.