If you have worked in the public service for 10 years or more, you may be able to have all of your student debt forgiven.
Working in public service includes working for the federal, state, local, tribal government, or nonprofit organization. If you have worked in the public sector, you can still qualify for a discount even if those 10 years have not been served consecutively.
The Department of Education has made time-limited changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) that make it easier for eligible federal borrowers to obtain forgiveness.
“Those who have served less than 10 years can now more easily get credit for their service to date towards a possible pardon. These changes allow eligible borrowers to get additional credit for cancellation, even if they were previously told they had the wrong type of loan,” said the White House said.
In the past, there have been complex eligibility restrictions, implementation failures and poor advice given to borrowers that have resulted in many not being able to receive the credit they deserve for public service.
The Ministry of Education has also proposed regulatory changes to make the process smoother in the future. Among these proposals, it is allowed to allow more payments to qualify for the PSLF, including partial, lump sum and late payments, and to allow certain types of deferments and forbearances, such as those for service Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, National Guard service, and military service, to count toward PSLF. The Department for Education has also proposed to ensure that the rules work better for non-permanent instructors whose colleges must calculate their full-time employment.
“Dedicated public servants are the cornerstone of democracy. They do the hard work that is essential to the success of our country – protecting us, teaching our children, keeping our streets clean and our lights on, and so much more,” President Joe Biden said.
You must apply before October 31, 2022. Click here to find out if you are eligible.
The White House answers common questions
What matters as a government employer to the PSLF program?
Any U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government agency is considered a government employer for the PSLF program. This includes employers such as the U.S. military, public elementary and secondary schools, public colleges and universities, public child and family service agencies, and special government districts (including entities such as public transport, water, bridge district or housing authorities).
What types of government jobs will qualify me for loan forgiveness under the PSLF program?
It doesn’t matter what specific job you do, as long as you are employed by a qualified employer. For example, if you are a full-time employee of a public school system, your job would meet the requirements of the PSLF, regardless of your position (teacher, administrator, support staff, etc.).
Can I benefit from the PSLF if I have more than one employer in 10 years?
Yes. However, you must submit a PSLF form showing that you were employed full-time by an eligible employer at the time you made each of the 120 required payments.
Does full-time volunteer service for an eligible employer count toward PSLF?
AmeriCorps or Peace Corps volunteer service matters. However, no other full-time volunteer service is eligible. You must be a full-time employee who is hired and paid by an eligible employer.
What happens if I make my last qualifying payment while working for an eligible employer, but then leave that job to work for a for-profit company before applying for the PSLF benefit. Am I still eligible for the PSLF?
Yes, as part of the temporary changes, you are eligible for the PSLF but you must apply for it before October 31, 2022.
Are private education loans eligible for the PSLF?
No. Private education loans are not eligible for the PSLF and cannot be consolidated into a direct consolidation loan.
Are direct loans in default eligible for the PSLF?
Direct loans in default are not eligible for PSLF. However, a loan in default may become eligible for PSLF if you resolve the default. Learn how to resolve the default through rehabilitation or consolidation.
Are Direct PLUS Loans eligible for the PSLF?
Yes. Like other Direct Loans, Direct PLUS Loans are eligible for the PSLF. Direct PLUS loans are granted to graduate and professional students. Direct PLUS loans to parents may need to be consolidated.
Visit the Ministry of Education website Office of Federal Student Aid FAQ page if you have other questions.
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