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Do I get any benefit from public service loan forgiveness if I leave public service before the required 10 years?

If you leave public service even one monthly payment short of the required 120 payments, you will not be eligible for PSLF based on the public service you completed. However, if you return to public service, you can pick up where you left off and make payments that count toward loan forgiveness.

To become eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program you must make a total of 120, qualifying monthly payments.

However, these payments do not have to be consecutive. If you leave public service, you can still pick up where you left off and continue down the path to loan forgiveness. If you return to a public service job, you can accrue credit towards the 120 required payments while working for a qualified employer.

If a payment is no later than 15 days after your due date, or you are in certain periods of deferment or forbearance, in some cases you can still get PSLF credit so long as you can certify you worked full time for a qualifying employer.

You can make it a habit to submit the PSLF Form electronically every year to record your credits. It’s also a good idea to submit the form prior to ending employment with a public service employer, or change jobs from one qualifying employer to another, since it’s easier to get the form filled out by your employer at that time compared to when you apply for loan forgiveness in the future.