The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program forgives the remaining portion of your qualifying federal direct student loans after 120 qualifying payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working for a qualifying employer. So what exactly does that mean?
Only Direct Loans, including Subsidized and Unsubsidized, Stafford, Graduate PLUS, and Consolidation loans are eligible for this program.
Your loan(s) must not be in default.
PLUS loans are only eligible if consolidated under the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan program.
Federal student loan issued prior to July 1, 2010, may have been made under the FFELP loan program. FFELP loans do not qualify for PSLF. However, you may consolidate these loans under the Direct Consolidation Loan program to become eligible for PSLF.
See PSLF Limited Waiver for additional details for qualification of FFELP payments.
Find out what kind of federal student loan you have at My Federal Student Aid.
Qualifying payments must be made after Oct. 1, 2007, must be for the full amount due, and must be within 15 days of the due date. Only payments made under a qualifying repayment plan while you work for a qualifying employer are eligible.
Qualifying payments do not need to be consecutive, for example if you have a period of employment with a non-qualifying employer and then return to a job with a qualifying employer.
Payments made while you are in school, grace, deferment or forbearance are ineligible.
It is recommended enroll in autopay to ensure your payments are sent each month on time.
PSLF is less about what you do, and more about who you work for. Working full-time for any of the below types of employers may qualify you for PSLF:
Federal, state, local or tribal government organizations.
501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit organizations.
Not-for-profit organizations that provide certain types of qualifying public services, but are not tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3).
If you work full-time as AmeriCorps or Peace Corps volunteer, you may also qualify.
US Dept of Education notes, too many borrowers wait to take this step and find out after years of making payments, that the payments they have been making do not qualify for PSLF. By completing this step first, you ensure you are the right path to PSLF. You will need to resubmit this form annually and every time you switch employers.
The DOE will determine if your loans and employment qualify for the PSLF program. They will notify you by letter or email of the number of qualifying payments you have already made, if you meet the the requirements.
Make 120 qualifying payments on a qualifying repayment plan towards your qualifying loans while working for a qualifying employer.
After your 120th payment, submit your PSLF application to your loan servicer.
Contact a PSLF Specialist about PSLA Application Process.