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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

Municipal Employees Legal Services (MELS)

MELS helps member reduce her student loan debt

Call MELS at (212) 815-1111 to make your appointment or email for assistance.


A DC 37 member who had fallen behind on her student loan repayment recently contacted MELS. She simply could not afford to make the required monthly payments and the only option offered by the servicer was to place the loan in forbearance. Unfortunately, for the member, interest continued to accrue and the debt only grew larger.

After learning of Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), she asked MELS for help. The first step for MELS was to review the member’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) records. This revealed that the loans were indirect loans originated by private lenders under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), making them ineligible for PSLF. However, MELS helped the member consolidate the loans into a qualifying direct student loan with an income driven repayment plan that matched her financial ability. This plan resulted in a monthly payment much lower than what the loan servicer had demanded many years before.

This DC 37 member is now able to afford her student loan payments and each payment brings her closer to fulfilling the required 120 installments that will enable her to request forgiveness of the remaining loan balance.

To take advantage of the temporary waiver, otherwise qualified borrowers with indirect student loans, or borrowers who simply have a history of repayment on non-qualifying plans, must consolidate their indirect loans; select an income driven repayment plan, and submit the PSLF Employer Certification form by Oct. 31, 2022. Doing so will allow the borrower to receive credit for payments made on any plan.

Whether your loan is in default, you need assistance in qualifying for PSLF, wish to learn how switching to an income driven repayment plan will affect your cost, or you just want help understanding student loans, MELS can help. To connect with a MELS attorney call our Screening Unit at 212.815.1111.