Dallas County is joining the effort to unveil a program that can make it easier for public employees to pay off their student loan debt.

The county held a webinar Monday morning in conjunction with the US Department of Education providing help with a limited waiver.

The deadline to apply is October 31, which is why there is a recent push to get the word out.

"We've got so many people in the public sector and in our charities who work so hard for you and me, and it's great to see there's an opportunity for them to get that loan wiped our or drastically reduced," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. 

the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program It’s been around since 2007 and is designed to forgive the remaining balance on a loan once 120 qualifying monthly payments have been made, which is roughly 10 years of payments.

People who work in the public sector are eligible, meaning teachers, government employees at all levels, first responders, non-profit organizations, and those in the non-profit hospital sector.

But it is well known that it can be a challenge to get into this program.

“That program almost always turned people away until now. Now they’ve made it so much easier to qualify so that everyone who’s made basically 120 payments or had a license that counts toward those should be able to get substantial debt reduction.” Jenkins explained.

the the limited exemption stems from various changes during COVID-19 to help people who were out of work or unable to work during the pandemic.

The limited exemption relaxes some of the requirements.

For example, during normal PSLF, those with direct loans were only eligible. During this limited exemption, Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans, or Perkins Loans qualify for the program.

Prior to the waiver, 120 monthly payments were required under the Standard Plan or income-driven repayment plan. Now through the end of October, late payments count under any plan.

Those who have been denied in the past are encouraged to reapply.

“One of our employees has already gotten a $65,000 discount on her loans,” Jenkins said.

Everyone’s situation is different, so reading all the details is essential.

Click here to see if you qualify.

Jenkins says that they plan to have more resources available.

On November 1, the normal requirements will return.