Degrees Not Debt


  • Check out NEA’s Student Debt Fact Sheet for important information about timelines and eligibility for the Biden Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan
  • This year, members of our union organized, petitioned, and held the leaders we elected accountable to expand student debt relief and ensure the national Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program works the way it was intended.  And now, we’ve secured a major victory: In October 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced a major overhaul of the PSLF program! Over 70,000 borrowers were awarded PSLF under these new rules. See if you are eligible!

  • The Department of Education has created a Limited Waiver Opportunity where, until Oct. 31, 2022, many of the traditional requirements for achieving Public Service Loan Forgiveness have been relaxed. One interesting change included in this Limited Waiver Opportunity allows the period of service that led to an individual who was eligible and received Teacher Loan Forgiveness to count those years of service towards PSLF, if employment certification for PSLF is completed for that period of time. You learn more about this change and find more information on the limited waiver opportunity here.

  • Watch NEA’s Export Briefing on the PSLF Updates and the NEA Town Hall with the Department of Education on the PSLF Updates – We received exciting news from the Department of Education on Public Service Loan Forgiveness: this long broken program was finally getting an overhaul!

Learning Portal Courses

Do you have federal student loans?
Do have federal Parent PLUS loans?
Do you have family or friends burdened with student loan debt?

If you answered, “Yes!” to any of the above then Degrees Not Debt is for you!  The National Education Association recognizes the burden student loans debt is putting on public educators and developed a campaign called “Degrees Not Debt.” This campaign is intended to inform student loan borrowers of their rights and options in the repayment process.  Many borrowers are unaware of their eligibility for programs that can make their monthly payment affordable and provide loan forgiveness.

What is Degrees Not Debt and how does it work?

5 Steps to Kick Student Debt

Step 1: Pledge

Every American deserves a fair shot at higher education, but student debt has become a barrier to accessing the American Dream. Raise your voice for college affordability.
Take the pledge

Step 2: Get a Federal Student Aid ID

Why? It provides you access to your Federal Student Aid and Loan records and allows you to apply for lower student loan repayment programs.
Get your FSA ID

Step 3: Payment

Are you an educator or education support professional eligible for lower payments? There are different plans that may help you lower your monthly student loan repayments. The most common are Income Based Repayment (IBR), Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) and the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) plans. Many other plans exist that could potentially save you money. A calculator is available to help you find out which one is right for you.  If you are ready to get started sign in and complete a repayment plan request.
Sign into

Step 4: Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Do you want to be in the best position to have your student loans forgiven after working 10 years in public service?

Borrowers who work in public service jobs (such as education) often qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. This means that loans could be completely forgiven after ten years of working and making payments. Use the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) form to keep track of your eligible employment and qualifying loan payments.

Download and complete the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Employment Certification Form. Make a copy for your records then mail or fax the form to FedLoan Servicing. Your form will be reviewed and based on the information provided by your employer, determine whether you qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Step 5: Promote Degrees Not Debt

Start and advance the conversations about NEA Degrees Not Debt and solutions to college affordability and student debt.

Department of Education Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool – Walkthrough