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Public service loan forgiveness

If you work or have worked in public service such as government service (federal, U.S. Military, state, local, or tribal) or certain non-profit organizations, you might be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. We have tools and resources to help you navigate through the public service loan forgiveness process.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program will forgive your remaining loan balance after you make 120 qualifying monthly payments while working for a qualifying public service employer. You won’t pay income taxes on the amount you’re forgiven.

Update! On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced a temporary waiver of some PSLF rules. Under the waiver, all past federal student loan payments will count as a qualifying payment, along with some of the months spent in deferment or forbearance.

If you have FFEL loans, you will need to consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan to qualify.

Parent PLUS loans do not qualify for the limited waiver unless they are consolidated with non-Parent loans. Contact your servicer to learn about your options.

You need to take action by October 31, 2022 to qualify. Use our guides below to figure out your next steps. For current PSLF guidance and to learn more about this limited time opportunity, visit ED's website.

How do I qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

Getting PSLF will require your careful attention to detail. Here are some tips to achieve forgiveness as painlessly as possible.

Make sure you qualify. Use the PSLF Help Tool to figure out your personal next steps. This tool is provided by the U.S. Department of Education and is free to use. Submit the forms suggested by the PSLF Help Tool to document your qualifying employment and receive credit for your monthly payments.

Stay out of default. If your federal loans do go into default, you will need to rehabilitate or consolidate them to get back on track to qualify for PSLF. To compare which option may be best for you, visit ED’s website at https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/default/get-out

Keep proof of your payments. Save your digital receipts or monthly statements—for every payment!

Check your payment tally. The PSLF Help Tool tracks your progress to 120 qualifying payments. Check it regularly to make sure it matches your records. You do not have to make the 120 qualifying payments consecutively.

Keep in mind: Some borrowers have reported that their servicers’ payment tallies do not match their personal records. Contact the servicer to try to resolve this issue. Submit a complaint with the CFPB or Federal Student Aid (FSA) if you run into this problem.

CARES Act Payment Pause: Paused payments count toward PSLF as long as you meet all other qualifications. You will get credit as though you made monthly payments. For more information on the payment pause and PSLF, visit ED’s website.

TIP: Deferments prior to 2013 and extended periods of forbearance will be automatically counted as qualifying payments. To request credit for shorter forbearances—less than 12 months in a row, or 36 months altogether—file a complaint with the FSA Ombudsman at StudentAid.gov/feedback .

Set a yearly reminder to do your paperwork. You will need to recertify your income-driven repayment plan each year. We also recommend that you recertify your employer each year —the PSLF Help Tool will guide you to the form you’ll need to complete and submit.

You can appeal if you’re denied. The Education Department offers an online form to request your PSLF/TEPSLF denial be reconsidered . To prepare to fill out the form, gather information about the payments you believe should be counted. This includes the dates of these payments; tax information for your public service employer at that time; and digital proof of your employment and payments, such as digital W2 forms and letters or statements from the loan servicer.

Guides for public service employees

The guides below can be used by employers and employees to make sure they are on track for loan forgiveness.

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You can find more information about the PSLF Limited Waiver in the webinar below and in the updated Ask CFPB questions about PSLF.

Staying on track while giving back

Servicing breakdowns can derail progress towards PSLF and potentially cause borrowers to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more than necessary on their student loans. This report highlights complaints from borrowers trying to stay on track for loan forgiveness while working in public service.

Read the report