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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Crucial deadline approaches for AL student loan borrowers

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Friday, February 23, 2024   

Student loan borrowers in Alabama and across the country have a chance to slash their college debt or see it disappear entirely.

The U.S. Department of Education said it will conduct a one-time "payment count adjustment" this summer. It would provide borrowers credit toward loan cancellation through the Income Driven Repayment program for repayment periods from July 1, 1994.

Cora Hume, attorney for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said historically, borrowers of all ages have struggled to access the benefit.

"It's really important that they do, because it can lower their monthly payments based on their income and family size," Hume pointed out. "This April 30 deadline applies to some loans."

Hume urged borrowers to find out what types of loans they have and take the necessary steps. She said borrowers who have nonfederal loans must consolidate them into a direct-consolidation loan with the U.S. Department of Education by April 30 to reap the potential benefits.

In Alabama, most debt belongs to people ages 25 to 35, owing an average of more than $33,000.

Hume noted almost one-third of older borrowers are still struggling to pay student debt. She added nationally, more than 1 million senior citizens are not in the direct-loan program and hold an average of more than $29,000 in debt from their college days.

"The three loans that must be consolidated to receive this payment count adjustment are the commercially managed Federal Family Education Loan, Health Education Assistance loans and Perkins loans," Hume outlined. "Another loan that's sort of a 'quasi' for consolidation are Parent PLUS loans."

Hume added the upcoming deadline has the potential to change lives and suggested taking action sooner rather than later. People can call 800-433-3243 or look online at StudentAid.gov/loan-consolidation to find out if they are eligible for the adjustment.


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