Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Did you know?

 If you are employed by a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be able to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Qualifying employment for the PSLF Program is not about the specific job that you do for your employer. Rather, it is about who your employer is. Employment with the following types of organizations qualifies for PSLF:

  • Government organizations at any level (federal, state, local, or tribal)
  • Not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Other types of not-for-profit organizations that are not tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, if their primary purpose is to provide certain types of qualifying public services

Serving as a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps volunteer also counts as qualifying employment for the PSLF Program.

Which types of federal student loans qualify for PSLF?

A qualifying loan for PSLF is any nondefaulted loan you received under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program.

Only Direct Loans are eligible for PSLF. If you borrowed before July 1, 2010, some or all of your loans may have been made under an older federal student loan program called the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program. Read more below about actions you can take to make your FFEL Program loans eligible for PSLF.

You may have received loans under other federal student loan programs, such as the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program or the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program. Loans from these programs do not qualify for PSLF, but they may become eligible if you consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan. However, only qualifying payments that you make on the new Direct Consolidation Loan can be counted toward the 120 payments required for PSLF. Any payments you made on the FFEL Program loans or Perkins Loans before you consolidated them don’t count.

If you have both Direct Loans and other types of federal student loans that you want to consolidate to take advantage of PSLF, it’s important to understand that if you consolidate your existing Direct Loans with the other loans, you will lose credit for any qualifying PSLF payments you made on your Direct Loans before they were consolidated. In this situation, you may want to leave your existing Direct Loans out of the consolidation and consolidate only your other federal student loans.

If you don’t know which types of federal student loans you have, log in to “My Federal Student Aid.” Generally, if you see a loan type with “Direct” in the name on “My Federal Student Aid,” then it is a Direct Loan; otherwise, it is a loan made under another federal student loan program.

How do I apply for PSLF?

Because you have to make 120 qualifying monthly payments, it will be at least 10 years after you make your first qualifying payment before you can apply for PSLF. Since only payments made after Oct. 1, 2007, can be counted toward PSLF, the earliest that any borrower will be eligible to apply for PSLF is fall 2017. If you are working toward PSLF, you should complete and submit the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form(Employment Certification form) annually or when you change employers. We will use the information you provide on the form to let you know if you are making qualifying PSLF payments. This will help you determine if you are on the right track as early as possible.

If you do not periodically submit the Employment Certification form, then at the time you apply for forgiveness you will be required to submit an Employment Certification form for each employer where you worked while making the required 120 qualifying monthly payments.

We will take the following actions after we receive your Employment Certification form:

  • We will review your Employment Certification form to ensure that it is complete and to determine whether your loans and employment qualify for the PSLF Program.
  • We will notify you if the form you submitted is incomplete or if we cannot determine, based on the information provided on the form, whether your employment qualifies. We may ask you to provide additional information or documentation to help us determine whether you were employed by a qualifying employer.
  • If we determine that your employer is not a qualifying employer, we will notify you that your employment does not qualify. If you believe there is additional information that would establish the eligibility of your employer, you will have the opportunity to provide that information.
  • If we determine that you do not have eligible loan types, we will notify you that your loans do not qualify.
  • If we determine that your loans and employment qualify, we will notify you.
  • If we determine that your employment qualifies, and if some or all of your federal student loans that are owned by the U.S. Department of Education are not already serviced by FedLoan Servicing, those loans will be transferred to FedLoan Servicing. You will receive a notice if your loans are transferred.
  • If we determine that your employment qualifies, we will then review your payment history (including any payments you made to another federal loan servicer before your loans were transferred) to determine how many payments made during the period of employment certified on the Employment Certification form are qualifying monthly payments for PSLF. We will then notify you of the total number of qualifying payments you have made, and how many payments you must still make before you can qualify for PSLF.

Why pay for help with your federal student loans when your loan servicer will help you for FREE? Contact your servicer to apply for income-driven repayment plans, student loan forgiveness, and more. Learn more about loan servicers.

Whom do I contact with questions about PSLF?

If you have more questions, review the PSLF Questions and Answers page.

If your questions aren’t covered on that page, contact FedLoan Servicing at 1-855-265-4038.

Select the link PSLF to see the information directly.

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