What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?
In 2007, Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. Under this program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on their eligible federal student loans after they have made 120 payments on those loans under certain repayment plans while employed full time by certain public service employers.
What must I do to have any remaining balances on my Direct Loans forgiven under the PSLF Program?
- You must make 120 on-time, full, scheduled, monthly payments on your Direct Loans. Only payments made after October 1, 2007 qualify.
- You must make those payments under a qualifying repayment plan.
- When you make each of those payments, you must be working full-time at a qualifying public service organization.
What loans are eligible for forgiveness?
Only loans you received under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program are eligible for PSLF. Loans you received under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, the Perkins Loan Program, or any other student loan program are not eligible for PSLF.
If you have FFEL and/or Perkins loans, you may consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan to take advantage of PSLF. However, only payments you make on the new Direct Consolidation Loan will count toward the 120-month payment requirement for PSLF. Payments made on your FFEL or Perkins loans, even if they were made under a qualifying repayment plan, do not count as qualifying PSLF payments.
How to apply
Since the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program requires 120 separate on-time monthly qualifying payments and was just established in 2007, no borrower will be eligible for forgiveness until 2017. Applications will be available closer to that time.
However, we do recommend that you submit employment certification on an annual basis for any months that you were employed with a public service organization and believe you have met the eligibility requirements. See steps below.
(Source: http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service, http://www.myfedloan.org/manage-account/loan-forgiveness-discharge-programs/loan-forgiveness.shtml)