Are you working toward or currently in a public service career?
Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLFP) to encourage individuals to enter and continue in certain public service professions.
Under the PSLFP, a borrower may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on his or her eligible Federal Direct Loan Program (FDLP) loan(s) after the borrower has made 120 monthly payments on that loan(s) under an eligible repayment plan(s) while employed full time in an eligible public service occupation(s).
Specific eligibility requirements are outlined on this page. If you are interested in pursuing a public service career, or are currently serving in such a career and are seeking loan forgiveness under this program, you can call the TG Customer Assistance team toll-free at (800) 845-6267 or send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The following are eligibility requirements for a borrower seeking public service loan forgiveness:
- The borrower must not be in default on the loan(s) for which forgiveness is requested.
- The borrower must have made 120 separate, full monthly payments beginning after October 1, 2007, on the FDLP loan(s) for which forgiveness is requested. Payments made on or before this date do not count toward meeting this requirement. Each of the 120 monthly payments must be made for the full scheduled monthly amount within 15 days of the due date.
- The borrower must be employed full time by a public service organization(s):
- While making the 120 required monthly loan payments;
- At the time the borrower applies for loan forgiveness; and
- At the time the remaining balance on the borrower's eligible loan(s) is forgiven.
Note: The borrower does not have to be employed for 120 consecutive months by a public service organization. In addition, the borrower is not required to work for the same organization for all 120 months of qualifying service.
Frequently asked questions
Which federal student loans are eligible for forgiveness under the PSLFP?
Any non-defaulted loan made under the Federal Direct Loan Program (FDLP) is eligible for public service loan forgiveness, including Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized, Direct PLUS, and Direct Consolidation loans.
Although public service loan forgiveness is available only for loans made under the FDLP, loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan Program, Federal Perkins Loan Program, and certain health professions and nursing loan programs — may qualify for forgiveness if they are consolidated into a Direct Consolidation loan. However, only payments made on the Direct Consolidation loan will count toward the 120 monthly payments required for forgiveness.
Do I have to make the 120 required payments under a specific repayment plan to qualify for loan forgiveness under the PSLFP?
The 120 required payments must be made under one or more of the following FDLP repayment plans:
- Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan
- Income-contingent repayment (ICR) plan
- Pay As You Earn repayment plan
- Standard repayment plan
- Any other repayment plan if monthly payments equal at least the amount required under the 10-year standard repayment plan
Are loan amounts forgiven under the PSLFP considered taxable by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?
Under current IRS rules, student loan amounts forgiven under the PSLFP are not considered income for tax purposes. For more information, you should check with the IRS or your tax advisor.
What types of public service occupations will qualify for loan forgiveness under the PSLFP?
The borrower must be employed full time (in any position) by a public service organization, or must be serving in a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position. For purposes of the PSLFP, the term "public service organization" means:
- A federal, state, local, or Tribal government organization, agency, or entity (includes most public schools, colleges, and universities);
- A public child or family service agency;
- A nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (includes most nonprofit private schools, colleges, and universities);
- A Tribal college or university; or
- A private organization that is not a for-profit business, a labor union, a partisan political organization, or an organization engaged in religious activities (unless the qualifying activities are unrelated to religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing) and that provides the following public services:
- Emergency management;
- Military service;
- Public safety;
- Law enforcement;
- Public interest law services;
- Early childhood education (including licensed or regulated health care, Head Start, and state-funded pre-kindergarten);
- Public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly;
- 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);
- Public education;
- Public library services; and
- School library or other school-based services.
Additional frequently asked questions
For further questions and answers, visit the Department of Education's (ED) Public Service Loan Forgiveness website and ED's own list of Q&As for borrowers.
At this time, ED has not developed an application process for the PSLFP. Since a qualifying borrower must make 120 monthly payments on his or her eligible federal student loan(s) beginning after October 1, 2007, the first forgiveness of loan balances will not be granted until October 2017. Until an application is available, it is important for a borrower seeking loan forgiveness under the PSLFP to carefully document his or her qualifying full-time employment by a public service organization(s), as those records will be required as part of the application process. Although not required, borrowers are encouraged to submit the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form to FedLoan Servicing, the PSLFP servicer, each year to help them keep track of their progress toward loan forgiveness.