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The Office of Federal Student Aid at the Department of Education has updated two of its quarterly portfolio reports with new figures on student loans, showing that the federal student aid portfolio has increased by $49 billion since this time last year.

The outstanding federal student loan portfolio now stands at $1.59 trillion among 42.9 million recipients. But the number of borrowers in repayment status has decreased due to flexibilities provided for student loans because of the pandemic -- currently, 23 million Direct Loan borrowers are in forbearance status, with 99 percent of the balances in the special CARES Act forbearance. As a result, no Direct Loan borrowers entered default during the second quarter of 2021.

FSA also introduced a new report about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which has recently streamlined its application process. The report, which examines borrowers' progress toward loan forgiveness, shows that only 2 percent of the processed application forms have met the requirements for PSLF.

"The new PSLF report provides greater insight into why many borrowers are not meeting the forgiveness requirements," the department said in a release. "For most borrowers, it is simply a matter of timing. Over 82% of borrowers who do not yet qualify for forgiveness have eligible loans that have been in repayment less than 120 months, meaning they could not yet have accumulated the required 120 months of qualifying employment or qualifying payments."