Americans are face increasing student loan burdens. The average student now graduates from college $24,000 in debt.

For people who work in public service, however, they might be able to get that debt forgiven. Good luck figuring out how. According to a U.S. News & World Report article:

[Legislation enacted three years ago] established the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, offering loan forgiveness for those working in the public service sector. If someone stays in public service (which includes nonprofit organizations) for 10 years, the remainder of the federal debt is forgiven. This forgiveness program is not just for lawyers, but also nurses, teachers, police officers, civil servants, and countless others in public service jobs.

This looks commendable, but it’s a little unclear who qualifies for this loan forgiveness or how to take advantage of it. According to the article:

Public Service Loan Forgiveness… is not automatic. Borrowers must take specific actions in order to benefit, and some of the guidelines and rules are complex. Don’t let the paperwork overwhelm you. Become your own advocate, find out if you qualify, and if you do, take care to follow all of the processes. It’s worth it in the end.

It may well be “worth it in the end” but this fuzzy encouraging language obscures the fact that the loan forgiveness program is just another needlessly complex government runaround. If it’s a good program designed to encourage people to pursue careers in public service, Public Service Loan Forgiveness should be easy to access, not difficult. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer