Public Service Loan Forgiveness was started in 2007 to help talented workers in public service reduce the burden of their federal student loans by forgiving their balance after ten years. While this act was well-intentioned, ten years later, more than 99% of applicants are being rejected- but this doesn’t have to happen to you.
These are payments made to the right loan under the right repayment plan while working for a qualifying employer. These do not need to be sequential- you can make some of these payments, then move to a non-qualifying employer where your payments don’t count towards PSLF, then move back to a qualifying employer to make more qualifying payments. They can’t be payments you’ve made while under deferment, grace period, or any other period when payments aren’t required.
If you’d like a checklist for the above criteria where you can answer some questions, and check your loan, your repayment plan, and your employer eligibility with an online tool, this free PSLF calculator will save you time and alert you to potential issues now– before you apply for PSLF.
If you applied to PSLF and were one of the 99% that were not accepted, you can appeal through the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) program. Don’t wait to get in line (send a request email) for TEPSLF as soon as possible, as it’s a limited opportunity.
There are options for you beyond PSLF and TEPSLF. There are other federal and state forgiveness programs that may forgive some or all of your loans- for example, the Perkins Loan forgiveness program. There are also paths for forgiveness available for students under Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans. Be sure to take the time to see what you may qualify for; the research could be well worth it.