Decent grants for recent grads. via flickr user Scott Kidder

Student loan debt is so bad these days that it’s practically a running gag among millennials, not to mention a sad state of affairs everywhere. Some of us are savvy enough to beat the system where we can, but generally speaking, it’s all small potatoes compared to the ever-growing sack of money students owe to pay for their education. (God, that sentence is absurd.) Lucky for us New Yorkers, someone here is actually doing something about it.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a new student debt relief initiative called the “Get on Your Feet” loan forgiveness program, which provides up to 24 months of federal loan debt relief to any recent New York state college graduates still participating in repayment plans. That means you could be getting 2 years’ worth of debt erased from the record, paid directly by the government back to the sharks collectors you’re working with. 

There are a few caveats, not the least of which are the lengthy eligibility requirements. They’re not hard to meet, but there are a lot of them, so read carefully. In order to be eligible, you must:

be a legal resident of NYS and have resided in NYS for 12 continuous months;
be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
have graduated from a NYS high school or received a NYS high school equivalency diploma;
have earned an undergraduate degree from a college or university located in NYS in or after the 2014-15 academic year;
have earned no higher than a bachelor’s degree at the time of application; and
apply for this program within two years of receiving an undergraduate degree.
be enrolled in the federal Income Based Repayment plan or Pay as You Earn plan;
have a primary work location in NYS, if employed;
have an adjusted gross income of less than $50,000;
be current on all federal or NYS student loans;
be current on the repayment of any NYS award;
be in compliance with the terms of any service condition imposed by a NYS award.

You must also be enrolled in either the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan or Pay As You Earn (PAYE) plan.

If you meet the above criteria, you can apply for the program on the HESC website starting tomorrow, December 31. Graduates of 2015 are not yet eligible to apply, but can register to receive e-mail alerts using this form, or just check the website periodically for updated information.

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