Are you a public service employee? Wait, what’s a public service employee? Public school teachers, public health nurses, government, and nonprofit employees are the most common jobs for public service, however, we put together a whole list of other public service jobs that could qualify for student loan forgiveness too. Check out that list here: What Jobs Qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?
In short, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is a student loan forgiveness program for full-time public service employees. Borrowers must have federal direct loans, be enrolled in an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan, and make 120 qualifying payments. If these requirements are met, the remaining student loan balance will be completely forgiven.
If you are a public service employee, you may be surprised to learn how much you could be forgiven! Try our forgiveness calculator to find out exactly how much you could save.
We know Sarah was surprised by how much she could be forgiven. She originally thought the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program (for Title 1 school teachers only) would be best for her. She had already been teaching for at least five years at a Title 1 school so she immediately qualified for $5,000 off her loans, but through Chipper Concierge, we discovered that the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program would save her more money ($33,087!!!)
Note: You can not pursue the Teacher Loan Forgiveness and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs at the same time. Meaning, your payments for Teacher Loan Forgiveness won’t count as qualifying payments toward PSLF. After you’ve made five years of payments toward the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program, you’ll need to start over and make 120 new qualifying payments for PSLF. Although, if you have a high debt load like John, you may be able to take advantage of both programs! Read his story and how we’re helping him here.
Moreover, Sarah had already been making payments while enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan. So the payments she made while working for her public service employer counted toward PSLF. She had about five years or 60 qualifying payments toward the required 120, thus she’s got about five more years to go before her remaining student loan balance is forgiven.
Through Chipper Concierge, we also discovered she could save more by enrolling in another income-driven repayment plan, the Revised Pay As You Earn plan, specifically $163 more on her monthly student loan bill. Additionally, another requirement for the PSLF program is to have your employer sign the Employment Certification Form (ECF), verifying you actually work for them. We had Sarah and a supervisor of hers sign the form digitally and then we sent it to the Department of Education for processing.
“Are you also DROWNING in student loan debt? But ALSO you’re too busy to actually DO something about it? I was getting tons of emails and mailings about forgiveness and didn’t know where to start. That’s where Chipper came in!!! I discovered I qualified for both forgiveness programs! I initially thought the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program was going to be best for me, but actually, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is! Chipper helped me enroll in the REPAYE income-driven repayment plan (qualifies for PSLF) and now my forgiveness potential is $33,087 compared to the Teacher Loan Forgiveness amount of $5,000!!! That number is insane and that could be you, too!”
Sarah was also surprised to know that since March 2020, (when the administration forbearance began in response to COVID-19), those who were already enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan have had 10 monthly payments count toward the required 120 monthly payments needed to qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, even if no payments were made! In other words, that’s 10 free months Sarah got toward the 120 for PSLF!!!
If you were already enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, you might’ve also received 10 free months toward the PSLF 120 required payments. Maybe you’re close to being able to apply! Do you know how many qualifying payments you’ve made so far? Many of our members are closer to the 120 than they thought.
Don’t know how many payments you’ve made or if you’re even enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan? No problem! Regardless of your situation, we can help you. Chipper Concierge is the surefire way to get your student loan questions answered and to make sure you’re maximizing your forgiveness potential. We’ll also make sure all of your documents and applications are filled correctly; we’ll remind you when it’s time to annually recertify required forms, PLUS you’ll get 1-on-1 access to our team of student loan experts, making sure you’re on the right track!
The #1 reason for PSLF denial is misinformation... ineligible loans, incorrectly filed forms, and not meeting all of the requirements for the PSLF program are the consequences of misinformation. If you think you’re on the right path toward forgiveness, I would challenge you to read through each section of this blog to make sure you really are. When it comes time to apply, make sure you’re approved for the forgiveness you deserve!
Qualifying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program requires long-term investment and commitment. However, once you complete your 120 qualifying payments, it is pretty straightforward from there to get your student debt forgiven. Make sure to follow the instructions in this blog and if you’re ever confused by which repayment plan is best for you, when to recertify your income, how to fill out the Employment Certification Form, we’re here for you!