This story is part of CT Mirror Explains, an ongoing effort to distill our wide-ranging reporting into a "what you need to know" format. To dive deeper on any element of this topic, use the links in the story.
This story has been updated.
Around 321,000 Connecticut residents applied for President Joe Biden’s student loan relief program last year that would have allowed borrowers under certain income thresholds to qualify for up to $20,000 of federal student loan debt forgiveness.
However, the Supreme Court ruled on June 30 that the Biden administration did not have the power to implement the debt forgiveness program. And the pause on student loan repayments ends on Aug. 31, with payments restarting Sept. 1.
Overall, 15% of Connecticut residents have student loan debt, according to a 2022 report from the Office of Fiscal Analysis and Office of Legislative Research. There are 540,900 borrowers that average around $35,681 in student loan debt each — totaling around $19.3 billion statewide.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling, some Connecticut residents could still get help with their payments through various state programs.
Here’s what to know.
Qualifying residents could receive up to $20,000 for student loan payments through a pilot program.
The state budget set aside $6 million over two years to establish a pilot program to reimburse qualifying residents up to $20,000 for student loan payments.
Recipients of this program must: be current residents of Connecticut who have lived in-state for at least five years, have attended a vocational school or college in Connecticut, and have an annual income under $125,000 for an individual and $175,000 for a couple.
The program will make payments to recipients of up to $5,000 a year for up to four years. Recipients will have to complete 50 hours of community service and submit proof of eligibility for each year they participate. Payments will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Some CT residents will see their loans forgiven through a new federal plan.
The Biden administration is expected to forgive over $300 million worth of student loan debt for thousands of borrowers in Connecticut.
The new plan comes through the Biden-Harris administration’s fixes to the income-driven repayment plans, which has resulted in an adjusted count of the number of monthly payments borrowers who have had loans for 20 or 25 years have made that qualify toward loan forgiveness.
This will result in over 800,000 borrowers nationwide receiving a total of $39 billion in debt relief.
The administration released a state-by-state breakdown which projects 7,230 Connecticut residents will receive more than $309 million in debt relief.
Public sector employees can get relief through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program has been in place for years to give major relief to those who work in the public sector.
Those workers can have the remainder of their debt erased — no matter the amount — if they have made payments for 10 years.
Your employer may provide student loan assistance.
In 2019, Gov. Ned Lamont signed a measure establishing a tax credit for employers in Connecticut who assist with the payment of their employees’ student loans. This tax credit was expanded last year.
Employers can receive a credit equaling 50% of the payments made to an eligible employee’s loan, up to a maximum credit of $2,625 per employee per year.
Qualified employees must be full-time workers with eligible education loans who live in Connecticut and earned their first bachelor’s degree in the immediately preceding five-year period.
Full employer and employee eligibility requirements can be found here.
The state budget sets aside $6 million over two years to establish a pilot program to reimburse qualifying residents up to $20,000 for student loan payments. An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the amount as $12 million over two years.