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With the fate of the Biden administration’s sweeping student loan forgiveness program in limbo and headed to the Supreme Court, New York state borrowers may have another option for relief.

The On Foot loan forgiveness program, launched in 2015, is designed to “invest in recent college graduates with student loan debt who have decided to invest their future in New York,” said Angela Liotta, public information officer and director. communication with the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation.

Under the program, some state residents may be eligible for student loan forgiveness with up to 24 months of payments.

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According to higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz, there are about 2.5 million people in New York who have federal student loan debt, totaling nearly $100 billion in debt.

Here’s what borrowers need to know about the program.

You must have lived and attended school in New York City

State aid is available to legal New York residents who have lived in the state for 12 consecutive months or more. If you work, you must also work in the state.

Among other requirements, applicants must have graduated from a New York City high school or earned a New York State high school equivalency diploma, and must have attended an in-state college or university and earned their bachelor’s degree on or after December 2014.

You must also apply to the program within two years of graduation.

An income-based repayment plan is required

To qualify for the program, borrowers must enroll in an income-based repayment plan where their payments are typically set at 10% of their discretionary income, such as a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) plan, revised Pay Like You. Earn (REPAYE) plan or Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan.

Eligibility is limited by income, loan type

The program excludes those with an adjusted gross income of more than $50,000 per year.

Not all student loans qualify for state aid.

Subsidized and unsubsidized loans under the Direct Loan Program are eligible. Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) may not qualify, although you can consolidate these loans into the Direct program. Private student loans are not eligible.

At the same time, the loans we take during graduate school are also usually excluded from state forgiveness, and to qualify for the program you need to have no more than a bachelor’s degree at the time of application.

Not sure what kind of student loans you have? You can check at Studentaid.gov.

Up to 24 months of student loan payments available

Under the Get Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program, New York State can cover your entire student loan balance for up to 24 months under an eligible income-based repayment plan.

The state makes payments directly to your student loan servicer.

Loan forgiveness may have tax consequences. Recipients will receive a 1099 form from the state and are encouraged to contact a tax professional, the IRS, or the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for more information.

Federal student loan payments have been suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic-era policy and will remain suspended until legal disputes over the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program are resolved, or until the end of August, whichever comes first.

Although you can apply for the On Foot loan forgiveness program now, applications will be reviewed for eligibility when federal student payments resume, Liotta said. However, if you think you qualify, it’s a good idea to apply for aid now because the requirement is that you apply within two years of graduation.

Not eligible for this program? New York has a list of other state and federal student loan forgiveness programs.

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