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If you have worked in public service (federal, state, local, tribal government or a non-profit organization) for 10 years or more (even if not consecutively), you may be eligible to have all your student debt canceled. Now, for a limited time, it is easier than ever to receive that forgiveness, or get credit toward forgiveness, if you have not yet served 10 years.
But you must apply before October 31, 2022.
“Dedicated public servants are the lifeblood of democracy. They do the hard work that is essential to our country’s success – protecting us, teaching our children, keeping our streets clean and our lights on, and so much more.”President Joe Biden
Use Our Simple Tool to See If You Are Eligible
Meet Fellow Public Servants
Meet Elena, the Psychiatrist
Elena is a psychiatrist working at a state hospital in upstate New York where she has worked for the last four years. She previously worked for a non-profit hospital in New York City for seven years. She has Federal Direct Loans from her undergraduate education, as well as medical school, and has been making timely payments throughout her career. Should Elena apply for PSLF right now?
Yes! Why? – Under the temporary changes, Elena qualifies to receive credit for any past payments even if the payments were not on time or for less than the amount due. If Elena has made 120 monthly payments, then she would receive forgiveness through the time-limited changes.
Meet Vishal, the Teacher
Vishal is an elementary school teacher in Lexington, Kentucky, where he’s been a teacher for the last three years. Previously, he worked for three years at a non-governmental organization (NGO) specializing in outreach and education for local farmers. Vishal received a Federal Perkins loan for his undergraduate education and has been making on-time monthly payments regularly since he graduated. Should Vishal apply for PSLF right now?
Yes! Why? – Under the temporary changes, Vishal can consolidate his Perkins Loans into a Direct Loan and count the 6 years’ worth of monthly payments towards forgiveness. But Vishal must apply to consolidate and apply to the PSLF program by October 31. Once he consolidates, assuming he continues to work full-time at a public or private non-profit employer, he will have 4 more years of monthly payments before he receives forgiveness.
Meet Carlos, the Grants Manager
After Carlos graduated from college, he went to work full-time in a bank in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. He worked there for five years while making payments on his Federal Direct Loans. Carlos left the bank and went to work full-time for the City of Mobile as a Grants Manager where he has been working for the last ten years. He’s not sure how many payments he made throughout his time but he knows he didn’t make all his payments and, when he did, he didn’t always pay the full amount. Should Carlos apply for PSLF right now?
Yes! Why? – Even if Carlos has not made 120 payments, he should still apply because he has been working for a qualifying employer and, under the temporary changes, he can count many of his prior payments toward forgiveness even if it wasn’t for the full amount or on-time. Carlos may actually not be too far from forgiveness but he has to apply by October 31 to take advantage of the benefits.
Meet Daniel, the Veteran
Daniel graduated from college in 2012 and served in the United States Army. During his service, he paid his student loans under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program on-time. Daniel decided to leave the Army in 2020 and began working for a privately-owned manufacturing company in Billings, Montana. He still owes money on his student loans and is wondering if he could be eligible for PSLF. Should Daniel apply for PSLF right now?
Yes! Why? — Daniel may be eligible to receive credit towards PSLF from his 8 years of service in the U.S. Army. In order to receive the full benefit of the temporary changes, he will need to apply to consolidate his loans into the Direct Loan program and apply for PSLF by October 31. However, given the privately-owned company Daniel currently works for does not meet the requirements of a qualifying employer he will not be able to receive forgiveness yet. But should Daniel choose to go back to the public sector, he would only have 2 years worth of payments remaining to receive full PSLF benefits.
Meet Alicia, the Scientist
After attending the University of Chicago, Alicia moved abroad to work for a U.S.-based non-governmental organization (NGO) for six years. During her time abroad, she was paying her Direct Loans every month. She returned to the United States for her Master’s degree, during which she was not working but was still paying her student loans. Upon completion of her Master’s, she took a job with the State of Colorado as a scientist where she has worked for the last four years and continued to pay her student loans. Should Alicia apply for PSLF right now?
Yes! Why? – Alicia is eligible to receive forgiveness today due to her six years of service with a U.S.-based NGO and her four years of service with the State of Colorado. Under the temporary changes, even if she wasn’t on the right payment plan or did not make minimum, on-time payments, she would be eligible to receive the full benefit of PSLF having made 120 payments working for both qualified employers. Alicia should make sure she applies by October 31, 2022.
Help Is Here
- Download the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s customized guide for Teachers.
- Download the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s customized guide for First Responders.
- Download the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s customized guide for State/Local/Tribal Employees.
- An easy-to-use PSLF Explainer Document outlining changes and eligibility
Any U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government agency is considered a government employer for the PSLF Program. This includes employers such as the U.S. military, public elementary and secondary schools, public colleges and universities, public child and family service agencies, and special governmental districts (including entities such as public transportation, water, bridge district, or housing authorities).
A government contractor isn’t considered a government employer.
You can visit our Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Help Tool, which will help you determine if an employer is considered a qualifying employer under the PSLF Program.
The specific job that you perform doesn’t matter, as long as you’re employed by a qualifying employer. For example, if you’re a full-time employee of a public school system, your employment would meet the requirements for PSLF, regardless of your position (teacher, administrator, support staff, etc.).
AmeriCorps or Peace Corps volunteer service does count. However, no other full-time volunteer service is eligible. You must be a full-time employee who is hired and paid by a qualifying employer.
No. Private education loans aren’t eligible for PSLF and can’t be consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan.
Defaulted Direct Loans are not eligible for PSLF. However, a defaulted loan may become eligible for PSLF if you resolve the default. Learn how to resolve the default through rehabilitation or consolidation.
Yes. Like other Direct Loans, Direct PLUS Loans are eligible for PSLF. Direct PLUS Loans are made to graduate and professional students. Direct PLUS Loans made to parents may need to be consolidated.
Still have questions?
Please visit The Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid’s FAQ page.