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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

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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