Student-Loan Relief Extended for Public-Sector Workers

Roughly three million borrowers are enrolled in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, with an average balance of $87,514.

Photo: Joshua L. Jones/The Athens Banner-Herald/Associated Press

President Trump’s move to suspend most Americans’ student-loan payments through the end of the year will deliver extra benefits to public-sector workers, according to a clarification the White House released Friday.

Many of those workers will have a portion of their student debt forgiven under an executive action Mr. Trump took earlier this month, whereas other borrowers will have their balances frozen but no debt forgiven.

Mr. Trump’s executive action extends through Dec. 31 a provision in the Cares Act that allows most federal-student-loan borrowers to stop making payments, with no interest accruing. As originally passed by Congress in March, that provision was set to expire Sept. 30, and some experts have expressed doubt over Mr. Trump’s legal authority to extend the provision unilaterally.

The Cares Act effectively forgave debt for borrowers enrolled in a program known as Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Congress created the program in 2007 to reduce student debt for borrowers who work for government agencies at any level and for many nonprofit groups.

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