With the recent confirmation of federal student loan repayment continuing in January 2023 after being paused for the pandemic, you might be scrambling to review your repayment plans and worrying about your finances.
While you might be considering methods such as refinancing or deferment, if you are a university employee, then you may want to consider applying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Years down the line, it could save you thousands of dollars.
What Is PSLF?
Essentially, the PSLF program is meant to forgive any remaining balance on your loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments. These payments must be under a qualifying repayment plan while you were working full-time for a qualifying employer.
Your loans must be Direct Loans to be eligible, but if you have FFEL or Perkins loans, then you may consolidate them into a Direct Loan to qualify.
For a limited time until October 31, 2022, you may receive credit for payments that would not normally qualify for PLSF, such as on FFEL or Perkins loans before consolidation even on the wrong repayment plan. You can learn more about the waived requirements due to COVID-19 by visiting the official Student Aid website.
Before going any further, let’s be clear on one thing: It is not a certain job that makes you eligible for student loan forgiveness. Whether you may be eligible or not depends more on the nature of your employer’s services. Your eligibility also rests on how the IRS classifies your employer.
Without getting into the weeds, your employer can render you eligible by being in one of the following classifications.
One student loan–forgiving qualifying employer is any government agency.
You do not need to be working for an agency at the federal level either. The provisions for qualifying employers allow any agency at all tiers to participate as a student loan forgiveness employer.
You can be eligible by working in an agency at the following levels of government:
The IRS has classifications for nonprofit groups and organizations. Under its tax codes, nonprofits that qualify as student loan forgiveness eligible employers need to be 501c organizations.
These organizations are generally tax-exempt. In other words, they are not required to pay taxes since the money they receive is not income. The tax exemption is a way to incentivize donors. How does this work? It works by guaranteeing tax breaks for donations.
So, if you work for a nonprofit organization that makes money solely through donations, you’re in the clear!
Groups Deemed Too Essential to the Country’s Education, Safety, Public Health, and Defense
This is a pretty broad group. You can use the term “public service” for classification.
Employers that are essential to the country are qualifying employers. They can include:
- The Peace Corps and AmeriCorps
- The military
- Public health
- Public education
- Law enforcement
- Fire protection
Also included are lawyers within the public sector. Under this group are district attorneys and prosecutors. Discover other jobs that qualify for PSLF here.
A Contractor or Company That Works for Any of the Above
Third parties that act as contractors for the above groups can render you eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness too.
Do I Qualify as a University Employee?
Qualifying employers for the PSLF program are defined as:
- Government organizations at any level (U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal) – this includes the U.S. military
- Not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
Your specific job description (teacher, administrator, support staff, etc.) doesn’t matter when applying for PSLF, only if your employer meets the qualifying requirements. Public elementary and secondary schools, as well as public colleges and universities, are considered under the first category. If you are employed at a private elementary and secondary school or college and university, you may still qualify for PSLF as long as the school you work for is a not-for-profit organization. If it operates for profit, then it is not considered a qualifying employer.
In addition to working for a qualifying employer, you must be working full-time. This can be defined as your employer’s definition of full-time or working for at least 30 hours per week, whichever amount is greater. If you do not have a full-time job and instead work several part-time jobs, you may still qualify as long as the combined amount of hours you work will equal to 30 per week, and each employer is a qualifying employer.
The Steps for PSLF Paperwork
See your employer in any of these groups? Good.
Now, let’s talk about what you need to do to qualify.
We'll do the work for you!
Chipper specializes in student loan forgiveness! As long as you work for a qualifying employer, we'll do the rest for you, making sure you meet the requirements in order to apply. With out help, you'll get the student loan forgiveness you deserve.
Our experts have a 100% success rate and are eager to get you closer to financial freedom! The best part, Chipper offers “Chip-In What You Can” pricing. Basically, you as the student loan borrower have the option to choose how much to pay for our expert guidance, you can set any price over $1.
With our help, you can breathe easier knowing that your student loan repayment and debt can be one less thing to worry about!
Waiving the Requirements
In order to make the most out of this program, it is best to apply as early as possible especially under the currently waived requirements. Consolidate your loans into a Direct Loan as soon as you can, and sign up for a qualifying repayment program (any income-driven repayment plan). Under these IDR repayment plans, the amount you regularly pay for your loans may change, so do your research on which plan is best for your current and projected future income.
To determine if you are on the right track for loan forgiveness, you need to submit a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) & Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification & Application, which can also be found on the Student Aid website. Once you’ve done that, you’ll know if you’re eligible for PSLF.