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What is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)?

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) allows qualifying federal student loans to be forgiven if you work for a qualifying public service employer and make 120 qualifying monthly payments.

PSLF requirements

Working in public service—such as for U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal governments, the U.S. Military, 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.

Only federal Direct Loans qualify for PSLF. You may consolidate most other federal loans into a new Direct Consolidation Loan to qualify. You must also be enrolled in a qualifying payment plan. Income-driven repayment plans are your best option to pursue PSLF. Income-driven repayment plans are based on your income so you can pay less now and have more forgiven later.

How to enroll in student loan forgiveness for public service

  1. Check that your loans are classified as Direct Loans. If not, visit to determine whether your loans qualify to be consolidated into a new Direct Consolidated Loan, which then would qualify for PSLF.
  2. Enroll in a qualifying payment plan. Get started at to learn more about qualifying repayment options such as income-driven repayment plans.
  3. Fill out the PSLF form for all your qualifying employment and certify that you work for a public service organization. Use the PSLF Help Tool to fill out the form electronically, or to download a paper form (manual PSLF form) and find instructions for submitting the form.
  4. Set a reminder to submit an updated PSLF form each year to verify that you are still on track to receive PSLF.

Once you submit the PSLF form, 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 .

PSLF program tips

  • 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 monthly 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 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.
  • If your servicer does not give you accurate information about your progress toward PSLF, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-2372.

Other student loan breaks for public service

There are other benefits besides PSLF available to servicemembers, teachers, Perkins loan borrowers and others. The U.S. Department of Education offers more information for borrowers working in public service .