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What is public service loan forgiveness?

If you enter public service, you may qualify to have part of your school loan waived.

To encourage individuals to work in the public sector, the United States government created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program as part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. The program forgives the remaining balance of certain college loans after a period of time.

Find out if you can qualify for this program:

Rules and requirements

To receive public service loan forgiveness:

  • You must make 120 on-time monthly payments toward your eligible loan.
    • You cannot count periods of deferment.
    • All payments must have been made after October 1, 2007.
  • You must work full-time for a qualifying public service organization while making the qualifying payments and at the time of applying for and receiving loan forgiveness.
  • The loans must not be in default status.

Eligible loans

The loans must be Federal Direct Loans, specifically:

  • Federal Direct Stafford or Ford Loans (Direct Subsidized Loans)
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford or Ford Loans (Direct Unsubsidized Loans)
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Direct Consolidation Loans

Other loans, such as Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans, Federal Perkins Loans, and certain health professions or nursing loans can qualify if you consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

How to apply

If you meet the above requirements, you can submit an Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form, and the U.S. Department of Education will notify you of the amount of remaining qualifying payments you need to make.

When you have made 120 payments, you will need to submit a PSLF application to receive forgiveness.

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