County Executive Budish and College Now Greater Cleveland Celebrate Early Success of the Employee Student Loan Rescue Program

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Donisha Greene, (216) 443-7075;
Laurel Wilder, (216) 635 -0161;

Average monthly payment reduced by 76%

CLEVELAND – Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and College Now Greater Cleveland are celebrating the early success of the Employee Student Loan Rescue Program. Over one hundred county employees with outstanding student loan debt were able to receive help restructuring their loans. The average monthly payment before and after attending a one-on-one session with a College Now representative went from $474 to $149.

“Our county employees are our greatest asset and we strive to offer great benefit programs that meet their needs,” said County Executive Budish. “That’s why it’s important to be able to assist employees who are burdened with student loan debt by providing a financial benefit like the Student Loan Rescue Program - because an engaged workforce helps us continue to innovate and deliver the best services to our residents across the region.”

The U.S. Department of Education established income-driven repayment options and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (“PSLF”) Program to relieve some of the stress of student loan debt. These programs allow many borrowers to reduce their monthly student loan payments, based on the amount of monthly income earned and an individual’s employment sector; if an individual is employed by a government or not-for-profit organization, they may be eligible for forgiveness under the PSLF Program. The PSLF Program forgives the remaining balance on federal loans if 120 qualifying payments have been made under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.

As a benefit for their employees, the county contracted services with College Now Greater Cleveland to assist Cuyahoga County employees in default and garnishment resolution, loan consolidation, applying for lower monthly loan payments, applying for the PSLF program and completing the FAFSA.

“Student loan debt can often feel like an insurmountable hurdle, and many people are not aware of the programs available to help them through it,” said College Now CEO Lee Friedman. “It is our goal to ensure that graduates faced with debt are able to find a repayment program that works for their individual situation and improves their financial outlook. We are thrilled that our partnership with the county has had such success already, and we look forward to continuing our work with their employees.”

The Employee Student Loan Rescue Program has been going on for just under a year and designed for employees to alleviate debt by taking advantage of the PSLF Program. The student loan debt for county employees that attended a one-on-one session totaled $7,063,219. It is estimated that $5.1 M of that total is eligible for forgiveness through the PSLF program.

“Cuyahoga County is not only providing invaluable service to residents across the region but to its employees as well”, said Darlene Walker, Cuyahoga Job and Family Services’ Investigations Assistant. “I’m really happy I was able to work with College Now and take advantage of this program. As a result, I was able to cut down my monthly student loan payment substantially and put those saved dollars to good use.”