WASHINGTON (Associated Press) – The number of borrowers failing to meet the requirements of the Obama administration’s mortgage modification program is rising, almost equaling the number of homeowners who have received permanent relief.

 Over 299,000 homeowners received permanent loan modifications as of April, according to the Treasury Department. However, that’s about 25 percent of the 1.2 million borrowers who started the program since its inception in March 2009.

 By last month, about 277,000 homeowners, or 23 percent of those enrolled, dropped out during the trial phase, which requires borrowers to make at least three mortgage payments on time. This number was a 79 percent increase from the 155,000 who had left the program by March 2010.

 On average, homeowners with permanently reduced mortgages are paying $516 less each month.