Public Service Loan Forgiveness
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program was created to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs.
Under this program, you can qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on your federal student loans after you have made 120 payments while employed full time in the public service sector.
To qualify for forgiveness, you must make 120 payments on your loans while meeting these requirements:
- You must be repaying your loans under one of these repayment plans: Standard (10 year), Pay as You Earn, Income-Based, or Income-Contingent
- The loans you are repaying must be Direct Loans. Loans borrowed under the, now defunct, FFEL program are not eligible for forgiveness, even if they were later purchased by the government. If you have any FFEL loans, you must consolidate them into the Direct Loan program to be eligible for PSLF
- Not sure about the type of loans you have? Check the National Student Loan Data System, Direct Loans will be labeled as “Direct” and FFEL loans will be labeled as “FFEL” or simply as “Stafford” or “Graduate PLUS.”
- You must work full-time (30 or more hours/week) in the public service sector. This includes all levels of government and any non-profit agencies designated as tax-exempt under section 501( c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contractors for the government are excluded.
In addition to meeting the above requirements, you also have to be working in the public service sector when you apply and are granted forgiveness.
Tracking Your Progress
The Department of Education has created an Employment Certification Form that can be used to track your progress toward making the 120 qualifying payments required for applying to the PSLF. When you fill out the form, you will be notified whether or not your employment qualifies for PSLF and how many payments you have made toward the 120 required payments.
While the form is not required, we strongly recommend that you use this form to track your progress toward meeting PSLF requirements. The form can be submitted annually (or less frequently). If you don’t submit the form periodically, you will still need to submit a form from each employer you have had at the time that you apply for forgiveness.
The Department of Education has designated one servicer to service all PSLF Employment Certification Forms. This servicer is FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA). If your current loan servicer is not FedLoan Servicing, your loans will be transferred to them upon completion of the PSLF Employment Certification Form.
For additional information on Public Service Loan Forgiveness and to access the Employment Certification Form and Instructions, go to www.studentaid.ed.gov/publicservice.