For those who are employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or non-profit organization, there is a chance for you to be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Continue reading if you are interested in it.
Before checking if you qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, it is better for you to know about this program first. So, what is Public Service Loan Forgiveness Certification and Application? Have you ever heard about this program before?
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Certification and Application or PSLF refers to a federal program that forgives student loan debt for every borrower who works for a government. Not only that, this program is also created for non-profit employers. The program forgives the remaining balance of your Direct Loans after making 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full time for a qualifying employer.
If you want to qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness or PSLF program, it is a must for you to be working full time for a qualified employer or a minimum of 30 hours each week. All the loans that are eligible include federal Direct Loans and every federal loan that was consolidated into a federal consolidation loan. As for the private student loans, Federal Family Education Loan or FFEL and Federal Perkins Loans, unfortunately, they are not eligible for this program.
If you want to take advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness or PSLF program, you will have to change to an income-driven repayment plan. These kinds of plans are the ones that offer a new monthly payment that is based on your income and extend your repayment term to 20 or 25 years. For those who remain in a standard repayment plan, you will pay off your loan in 10 years and leave nothing to forgive. All the income driven repayment plans that are included in qualifying repayment plans are Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan or REPAYE, Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan or PAYE, Income-Based Repayment Plan or IBR, and Income-Contingent Repayment Plan or ICR Plan.
Once you have successfully changed to an income driven repayment plan, your loan balance will be forgiven by the Public Service Loan Forgiveness or PSLF program after making 120 qualifying payments. Take note that payments will be only considered as qualified if you are working at an eligible job when you make them. However, if you end up working for a non-qualifying employer, your previous qualifying payments will be still counted by the program. With that being said, there is still a chance for you to be able to have your loans forgiven if you return to eligible employment at a later date. If you want to keep track of your payments and eligibility, you are encouraged to complete the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness on an annual basis. Please go to https://studentaid.gov/sites/default/files/public-service-application-for-forgiveness.pdf to get the form.
As stated before, you must be working full-time for a qualified employer if you want to qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness or PSLF program. If you are wondering which kinds of job that qualify for this program, these include military service, emergency management, public safety, law enforcement, government (excluding time served as a member of Congress), public education, public health (including nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health care support occupations, as such terms are defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), social work in a public child or family service agency, public service for the elderly, public library sciences, public service for individuals with disabilities, school based library sciences and other school based services, early childhood education (including licensed or regulated child care, head start, and senate funded prekindergarten), public interest law services (including prosecution or public defense or legal advocacy on behalf of low-income communities at a nonprofit organization), 501©(3) tax exempt organizations, teaching as a faculty member in a high need subject area or shortage area (including nurse faculty and foreign language faculty), and teaching as a faculty member at a tribal college or university.
Apart from these, those who are currently volunteering full time for the AmeriCorps or Peace Corps are also eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness or PSLF program.
As for the ones who are not eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness or PSLF program include labor unions, for-profit business, for-profit government contractors (as opposed to directly working for a government agency), religious organization (except if the job is not related to religious instruction, worship services or proselytizing), and partisan political organizations.
What should you do to apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness? After you are ready to apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you will have to complete and submit the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Certification and Application form. Talking about the form, it is the same one as you would have submitted for employer certification. It can be found tap here,When making qualifying payments, make sure to include your employment history for the entire time period.
As stated before, there are some requirements to apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness or PSLF program and it is such a shame that not everyone is qualified for it. However, there is still a light. In case you do not qualify, there are other ways to cut or eliminate your student loan payments. There is a chance for you to be eligible for another student loan forgiveness program such as programs for healthcare professionals or employees of federal agencies. There are also student loan discharge programs offered by the Department of Education for borrowers who fail to repay their debt. The next way that you can do this is to opt to stay in an income driven repayment plan. Depending on the plan that you use, you will benefit from a lower monthly payment and any remaining debt will be forgiven after 20 or 25 years.