If you’re one of the many private student loan borrowers, you might have this question in mind: do private student loans have public service forgiveness, otherwise known as PSLF?
The hard truth is that there is no Public Service Loan Forgiveness for private student loans. However, it pays to know how PSLF works and how you can qualify for the program. Check out the article below to learn some alternatives to private student loan forgiveness too.
How Does PSLF Work?
PSLF is a program that grants student loan forgiveness to eligible full-time non-profit, federal, state, or local government employees after completing 120 qualifying monthly payments on their loans. Once the payment requirement is met, the remaining direct loan balance will be forgiven.
For PSLF, what matters is not your role but your employer. For instance, you qualify if your employer is a government agency or non-profit organization. Being a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps volunteer is also qualified employment. Meanwhile, partisan political organizations, labor unions, and for-profit organizations are not eligible employers.
Given that you need to make 120 qualifying payments, it will take you about 10 years to finish the process. You must make these payments while working full-time for an eligible employer. You can only make these payments when you’re required to do so under an income-driven repayment plan. Payments made in the following cases do not count:
- Grace period
- In-school status
Private Student Loans and PSLF
Do private student loans have public service forgiveness? Unfortunately, Public Service Loan Forgiveness is not available for private student loans. Private lenders want to get paid. While the federal government wants the same, public benefits exist for federal borrowers such as Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Alternatives to Private Student Loan Forgiveness
While private student loans are not eligible for PSLF, you still have other options to help handle your income and debt more effectively. These include refinancing, forbearance, and well, bankruptcy.
Private student loan refinancing can help you manage your monthly payments while you’re trying to get back on your feet. Here, you can apply for a loan from a financial institution or private bank for your current debt balance. Then, your new loan will include different terms and conditions.
You could qualify for a lower interest rate, helping you go debt-free faster and save money in the long run. However, even if you get a lower interest rate, extending the repayment term could be more costly. So, compare actual rates from different lenders and decide if refinancing your private student loan is right for you!
This is another option if you’re going through temporary difficulty. Many private lenders can let you stop making payments for a specific period. The downside, however, is that your loans still continue to accrue interest. Some lenders grant a partial forbearance, which means that you can pay the interest-only instead of making full payments of the principal + interest.
Declaring bankruptcy can be a viable option for you, depending on your situation. You can get a chance to have some of your debt lowered or canceled. However, consider this your last resort because it can affect your credit score for up to 10 years. The whole bankruptcy process can be costly too, depending on the type of bankruptcy you file for.
Final Thoughts on Private Student Loan Forgiveness
You must know by now the answer to your question — do private student loans have public service forgiveness? The answer is no. Although private student loans are not eligible for federal forgiveness programs, you can still explore other options.