Gov. Phil Murphy and federal Department of Education leaders paid a visit to the College of New Jersey on Monday to highlight efforts to improve access to student loan forgiveness for public employees.

During a roundtable discussion at the College, Murphy, along with U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal and Federal Student Aid Chief Operating Officer Rich Cordray discussed recent changes in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Last fall federal officials announced a limited PSLF waiver opportunity that temporarily waives certain program rules to make it easier to qualify for student loan forgiveness, but the governor said many people are not aware of this.

He noted the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program has been in the past “gummed up."

"We haven’t done in New Jersey what we need to do to amplify (the changes) and at the same time I’m optimistic," he said. "I think there’s a lot of headroom in this program."

Murphy said to get more information you can visit by October 31.

"It gives you 15 years of look-back that can be transformational in a lot of the lives of folks who have put a lot of debt on their books," he said.

A pathway to college

He said student loan forgiveness is one of many ways to make attending college more attainable.

“We’ve done a lot in New Jersey on college affordability, whether it’s the community college opportunity grant, the Garden State Guarantee, more TAG money, more EOF money, all of it is means-tested so it is focused especially on middle-class families,” he said.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Murphy pointed out that many people these days are forced to take on huge amounts of debt in order to attend school, more than he did back in the day.

“I’m one of those guys, I went to graduate school, so I had a couple of years holiday, and then $38.64 as I recall, a check, each month, 120 times,” he said.

U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal said employees of federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organizations may be eligible for PSLF. The program forgives the remaining balance on certain federal student loans after borrowers have made 120 qualifying monthly payments and meet other specific criteria.

In the coming weeks, President Biden could announce an expanded student loan forgiveness plan, but officials would comment on what the president may or may not do.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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