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What is Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

New! On Oct. 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced a temporary period during which borrowers may receive credit for payments that previously did not qualify for PSLF or TEPSLF. For current PSLF guidance and to learn more about this limited time opportunity visit ED's website.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) allows qualifying federal student loans to be forgiven after 120 qualifying payments (10 years), while working for a qualifying public service employer.

Working in public service, such as government service (federal, U.S. Military, state, local, or tribal) or certain non-profit organizations may qualify you for PSLF. Your employment may also qualify if your employer provides certain types of qualifying public services.

Here’s what to do if you want to learn more:

Step 1: Understand your choices

UPDATE: The U.S. Department of Education announced a change to PSLF program rules for a limited time because of the COVID-19 national emergency.

Under the new rules, once you take the necessary steps (explained below), any prior federal student loan payment made will count as a qualifying payment, regardless of loan type, repayment plan, or whether the payment was made in full or on time. All you need is qualifying employment.

This change will apply to student loan borrowers with Direct Loans, those who have already consolidated into the Direct Loan Program, and those who apply to consolidate into the Direct Loan Program by Oct. 31, 2022.

For more information visit studentaid.gov/announcements-events/pslf-limited-waiver .

Get started

  • Visit the Department of Education’s Aid Summary resource to determine what type of federal student loans you have at studentaid.gov/aid-summary .
  • Use the PSLF Help Tool to figure out your personal next steps for pursuing forgiveness at studentaid.gov/pslf .

Step 2: Enroll and certify

Under the PSLF Limited Waiver, any prior federal student loan payment made after Oct. 1, 2007, will count toward PSLF once you take the necessary steps. Next steps depend on whether you have a Direct Loan or some other type of federal student loan.

Next steps

  • If you already have Direct Loans but have not previously completed a PSLF form, use the PSLF Help Tool to fill out the form and submit by Oct. 31, 2022, to receive credit towards PSLF.
  • If you have a Direct Loan and previously filled out the PSLF form for all your qualifying employment, set a reminder to submit an updated PSLF form each year to verify that you are still on track to receive PSLF.
  • If you have at least one FFEL Program loan, Perkins Loan, or other federal student loans, complete a Direct Consolidation Loan application by Oct. 31, 2022. Generally, Parent PLUS loans are not eligible for the limited PSLF waiver.
  • If you have multiple periods of qualifying employment, fill out a PSLF form for each qualified employer. The forms must be submitted by Oct. 31, 2022.

Note: Generally, Parent PLUS loans do not qualify for the limited waiver. Contact your servicer to learn about your options.

Step 3: Follow up with your servicer

It is your servicer’s job to give you accurate information about your loans. Once you submit the PSLF form, your servicer is on notice that you are interested in the program and must track your progress.

If your servicer does not give you accurate information about your progress toward PSLF, you can submit a complaint online or call (855) 411-2372.

Things to consider

  • Once you submit the PSLF form, the company that services your loan may change. If you don’t know who services your student loans, you can find out by visiting the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website . Through this website you can access information about your federal student loans, including your federal student loan servicer.
  • Keep proof of your payments. Every time you make a payment, you should have the option of a PDF or email confirmation. The previous month’s payment should also be reflected in your account statements. Save those!
  • Check your payment tally. The PSLF Help Tool helps you stay on track to 120 qualifying payments. Each time you submit your PSLF certification form, you will receive a count of the number of qualifying payments you have made. Make sure it matches your records. You do not have to make the 120 qualifying payments consecutively.
  • Lump-sum payments. You can make future payments (or prepayments) to your qualifying federal student loans, and they will all be counted toward your PSLF qualifying payment count if all other program criteria are met. Prepayments will count for up to 12 months or the next time you’re due to recertify for your income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, whichever is sooner.