Eligible Veterans, active-duty service members and others can erase their student loans through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
The program removes the burden of student debt on public servants, making it possible for many borrowers to stay in their jobs, and entices others to work in high-need fields.
Months on active duty count
The Department of Education will allow months spent on active duty to count toward PSLF, even if the service member’s loans were on a deferment or forbearance rather than in active repayment. This change addresses one major challenge service members face in accessing PSLF.
Service members on active duty can qualify for student loan deferments and forbearances that help them through periods in which service inhibits their ability to make payments. But, too often, members of the military find out that those same deferments or forbearances granted while they served our country did not count toward PSLF.
This change ensures that members of the military will not need to focus on their student loans while serving our country. Federal Student Aid will develop and implement a process to address periods of student loan deferments and forbearance for active-duty service members and will update affected borrowers to let them know what they need to do to take advantage of this change.
Giving federal employees credit
The Department of Education will begin automatically giving federal employees credit for PSLF by matching Department of Education data with information held by other federal agencies about service members and the federal workforce. These matches will help the Department of Education identify others who may also be eligible but cannot benefit automatically, like those with FFEL loans.
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 the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Help Tool, which will help you determine if an employer is considered a qualifying employer under the PSLF Program.
Income doesn’t matter
There is no income requirement to qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. However, since your required monthly payment amount under most of the qualifying PSLF repayment plans is based on your income, your income level over the course of your public service employment might be a factor in determining whether you have a remaining loan balance to be forgiven after making 120 qualifying payments.
Know you have creditable service?
If you know that you have qualifying employment that you have not yet certified with the Department of Education, you can certify that employment now by using the PSLF Help Tool.
Haven’t applied yet?
You will need to submit a PSLF form so the Department of Education can review your loans under the simplified rules and determine whether your current or past employers qualify for PSLF. You can submit this form through the PSLF Help Tool. Because the Department of Education expects an influx of applicants due to this announcement, you may see some delays in having your application processed.
Fact Sheet: Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program Overhaul | U.S. Department of Education
Public Service Loan Forgiveness FAQs | Federal Student Aid
U.S. Department of Education Announces Transformational Changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, Will Put Over 550,000 Public Service Workers Closer to Loan Forgiveness | U.S. Department of Education