Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Woman Thinking Deeply

What’s New for 2015?

There is talk of major changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, and only some of those changes would lead to better forgiveness benefits.

I’ll start with the positive – Senator Blumenthal’s proposed change to offer PSLF benefits incrementally (meaning that you’d earn a little bit of student loan forgiveness for each year that you have qualifying experience, rather than getting all your forgiveness at once after 10 years) remains on the table, but no real movement has been made to get it passed… yet.

I’m optimistic that it could happen 2015 though, because this year we’ll be facing not only the Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, but also the 2016 Presidential election. Once the campaigns really get going, I’m expecting to see a lot more noise about student loans (especially from the left side of the aisle).

On the bad side, the Federal Government has spoken about capping Public Service Loan Forgiveness benefits at $57,000, which would cause major problems for those borrowers with extremely high debt loads (especially Doctors, Lawyers, Dentists, etc.).

If this change were enacted, anyone with debt over $57,000 would have to wait longer than 10 years to have it forgiven, plus the amount actually forgiven would be limited to $57,000. That means no more free rides for those entrepreneurial graduates who rack up $100,000+ in student loans, work public sector jobs for 10 years, then write it all off, which could protect the program from going bankrupt, but would definitely hurt individuals who planned on using this program to get out of their student loan debt.

The good news for those of you with very high debt loads who plan on using PSLF to wipe it out is that the virtually no one has been talking about the proposed cap since it was originally introduced, and in my opinion, this is a dead issue that will not be implemented any time soon (or perhaps even ever).

Senator Blumenthal’s Proposed Changes to PSLF

(Updated October 1st, 2014)

I’ve got great news for a major potential change to the way that the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program works.

On Friday, September 26th, Senator Richard Blumenthal unveiled a legislative proposal to relax PSLF program requirements and start allowing incremental debt forgiveness, rather than the current all-or-nothing approach.

Currently, Public Service Loan Forgiveness benefits cannot be claimed until 10 full years of qualifying payments have been completed (that’s 120 monthly payments), but under Senator Blumenthal’s proposal, this is all set to change.

First, the new proposal would make it possible for for new participants in the PSLF program to place their eligible loans in deferment during the period of time they’re employed in public service work, and secondly, loan forgiveness will be doled out incrementally, with certain percentages of the loan balance forgiven for every two years of public service work completed.

We don’t have all the details yet, but one thing we noticed about this proposal is that it seems to take away the requirement of making a set number of payments to receive loan forgiveness, and focus more on the actual public service work itself as the determining factor.

Under the existing PSLF program rules, you’ve got to hold a job in public service and make enough monthly payments to qualify for forgiveness, but under this new proposal it sounds like you could place your loans in deferment, not even make payments on them, and start receiving forgiveness as long as you’re working in a qualifying public service job.

We could be reading this wrong, and details are relatively scant so far, but we’ll be sure to update as soon as any more information is revealed.

In the meantime, this looks like a major opportunity for anyone interested in pursuing a public service field, as it would essentially make your education entirely free, allowing you to borrow massive loans, then simply write them off.

What Is The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF for short) was created by an act of Congress in 2007, and the good news is that it’s still fully funded for 2014, but the bad news is that it’s changing (for the worse).

This program offers Federal Student Loan Forgiveness for public service work, including forgiveness benefits for jobs as varied as teaching, nursing, working for the peace corps or americorps, or as a Federal or State employee.

The stated purpose of the PSLF program is to “encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs”.

(Updated March 27th, 2014)

Obama’s Proposed Changes to the PSLF Program

In March of 2014, the Obama Administration’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget proposed some significant changes to the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program, most of which severely reduce the value of PSLF benefits.

If Congress adopts the proposed 2015 Fiscal Year Budget without amending it, then student loan forgiveness benefits for public service workers are about to see some dramatic, negative changes.

Here is a summary of how these changes could impact you:

1. High Debt Borrowers Won’t Qualify for Early Forgiveness

The Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan was originally introduced by President Obama’s Student Loan Forgiveness Reforms and offers comprehensive student loan forgiveness for federal loans once borrowers have made 20 years of scheduled, full, on-time payments.

Under the current Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, that requirement is reduced for public sector employees, who only need to make 10 years of schedule, full, on-time payments before they’re eligible to receive total loan forgiveness.

However, if the proposed 2015 Budget is passed, then PAYE student loan forgiveness and PSLF loan forgiveness won’t be available as early for high debt borrowers (those with over $57,000 in federal student loans).

Instead of receiving forgiveness at the 20 and 10 year marks, these borrowers will have to wait a full 25 years before their loans will be forgiven.

That’s a full 15 years of extra payments that PSLF program participants will need to make, and it’s a major disincentive to participate in this fantastic program.

How are those with excessive student loan debt and a public service salary supposed to purchase a home, buy a new car, get married, or start a family if they’ve got to wait an entire 25 years to discharge their debt?

2. Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Will Be Capped at $57,000

Currently, there is no maximum to the amount of loan forgiveness made available to public service employees.

That means that whether you have $50,000, or $500,000 in student loan debt, you’ll be eligible to receive total loan forgiveness once you’ve satisfied the conditions of the PSLF program.

Unfortunately, this is set to change if the 2015 budget gets approved as-is, because the public loan forgiveness program will only offer up to $57,000 in total forgiveness benefits.

Yes, $57,000 does sound like a lot of money, but for those students who racked up $100,000, $150,000, or even $200,000+ in student loan debt, this change is going to devastate their financial futures.

And while $100,000+ in student loans might sound like an unreasonable amount of debt, it’s fairly easy to rack that much up by attending medical school, dental school or law school nowadays.

3. Only Payments Made Under Income-Based Plans Will Count Toward PSLF Forgiveness

The current public student loan forgiveness program allows payments under any of the seven Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans to count toward the 10 years of required payments, but that too is set to change should the new budget be implemented without modification.

Instead of any payment counting toward the 10 year minimum, only those payments made under income-based repayment plans will be included in the calculation.

Sure, that’s not that big of a deal for some people, as many are already on one of the available income-based plans, but for others this change could hit especially hard.

At the very least, it’s an annoyance that you’ll need to switch from the Standard Repayment Plan to one of the income-based plans.

Should this change go into effect, those seeking PSLF forgiveness will have to be enrolled in one of the following federal student loan repayment plans:

4. Married Borrowers Won’t Be Able to Separate Income

This change will affect everyone who’s married and working toward public service loan forgiveness, since by default, all of you will be forced to be enrolled in one of the income-based plans listed above.

Under current law, married borrowers can reduce their monthly student loan payments by filing taxes as maried filing separately, since that allows them to exclude their spouse’s income from the calculations that determine their monthly payments.

However, should the new budget be approved, this practice will be outlawed.

Sure, the change won’t affect everybody, but it’s guaranteed to have a devastating impact on a small slice of the population who don’t deserve to be singled out.

Those borrowers married to high-income earners, especially high-income earners who helped support them during extensive schooling (like med school, dental school or law school), are going to get crushed by this change.

Instead of being able to calculate their monthly payments on the meager public-service salary of someone who’s just entered the field, they’ll have to include their spouse’s income as well, which could be extremely high.

We anticipate that this will cause monthly payments to double, triple, quadruple, or worse, and we anticipate seeing a massive spike in the divorce rate once couples catch on to the fact that it’s fiscally irresponsible to remain married.

(Previous Content)

President Obama’s Previous Reforms

The original public service loan forgiveness regulations provided borrowers the opportunity to qualify for complete loan forgiveness on the remaining balance of their eligible federal student loans, once they’ve made 240 payments (20 years worth of payments) on their student loans via qualified repayment plans, while also being employed full time by specific public service employers.

The recent creation of President Obama’s Student Loan Forgiveness Program has reduced the number of repayments from 240 (20 years) to just 120 (10 years), making the program significantly more attractive to those who aren’t quite as interested in public service work.

The PSLF Program is not without controversy, as some have argued that it’s rules are too stringent, leaving many students in the dust, while others like Diane Auer Jones, assistant secretary for postsecondary education stated that the entire PSLF program is virtually worthless, saying:

“You have to make 10 years of payments before the remainder of the loan is forgiven…. and most federal education loans are 10-year loans, which means there will be nothing left to be forgiven.”

Whether or not the PSLF Program will help you, it’s first necessary to determine if you’re even eligible for this benefit at all.

And since it’s not necessarily all that easy to understand in paragraph form, here’s a bullet point list showing exactly what you have to do to qualify for having your remaining student loan debt forgiven under this program.

Eligibility Guidelines for the PSLF Program

  • You must have an outstanding balance on a Federal Student Loan that you received under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program
  • You must make 120 on-time, full, scheduled monthly payments on your Direct Loan, including only payments that were made after October 1st, 2007 (meaning that the earliest you can possibly have all of your debt forgiven under this program is October 1st, 2017, so there is no way for you to qualify for this entirely yet)
  • You must make your 120 payments under a qualifying repayment plan (see below for qualifying repayment plans)
  • While making each of these 120 payments, you must be working full-time at a qualifying public service organization (see below for qualifying public service organizations)

To summarize – the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is extremely helpful, but not quite yet.

Since you have to make 120 loan repayments after the date of October 1st, 2007, there’s no way that you could possibly have all of your loans forgiven yet under this plan, and that won’t be available until 2017.

If you need immediate student loan forgiveness, then this plan won’t help you, but if you’re working at a qualifying public sector job (or planning on doing so), then you should definitely do your best to conform to the eligibility guidelines below so that you can utilize this incredible benefit once you’re fully qualified to do so.

Which Student Loans are Eligible for PSLF?

While it may seem unfair, not all Federal Student Loans qualify for PSLF forgiveness. In fact, some of the most popular forms of loans will disqualify you from eligibility for this benefit.

Only loans that have been awarded under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program are eligible for PSLF.

If you received loans under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, the Stafford Loan Program, the Perkins Loan Program, the Grad Plus Loans Program, or any other Federal loan program, then you do not qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness benefits.

If you do happen to have FFEL loans or Perkins Loans, and want to take advantage of the PSLF plan, then you will first have to consolidate your loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

Keep in mind though that only payments you have made on the new Direct Consolidation Loan will count toward your 120-month (10 year) payment requirement for PSLF eligibility.

Any payments you might have previously made on your FFEL or Perkins loans will not count toward this requirement, even if they were made after October 1st, 2007, under a qualifying repayment plan and while you were working full time at a qualifying public sector employer.

To find out about how to consolidate your FFEL or Perkins loan into a Direct Consolidation Loan, check out (note: this is a Government site so you can trust it).

If you don’t know what type of loan you have, then visit to find out.

Which Payments Count?

Three different factors go into determining whether or not your student loan repayments qualify as one of the 120 required to receive complete PSLF forgiveness. They are:

  1. Payments Must Be Made On Time – Any payment received by whoever services your Direct Loan no later than 15 days from the scheduled payment due date counts as an “On-Time payment”.
  2. Payments Must Be Made In Full – Any payments make on your Direct Loan that equal or exceeds the amount you are required to pay each month according to your Direct Loan repayment schedule count as “Full Payments”. If you made, or make a payment that is less than the amount set in your repayment schedule, then those payments will not count toward your required 120 payments. However, if you make multiple payments per month equaling or exceeding the required full monthly payment amount, then you will get credit for a single Full Payment. You cannot game the system by making many payments each month though, as the maximum number of credits that you can receive in a 30 day period is 1.
  3. Payments Must be Scheduled – Any payments that you make on your Direct Loan which is made under a qualifying repayment plan after your loan servicer has billed you for the month’s payment will count as “Scheduled Payments”. Any payments made while your loans are in the in-school status, or during a grace period status, or under deferment or a forbearance period will not count as Scheduled Payments.

*NOTE:  Qualifying payments must also be made as separate monthly payments. You cannot game the system by making lump sum payments, or payments for future months that you have not yet been billed for, as these will not count as qualifying payments toward your 120 payment requirement.

However, if you are employed with AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps, you may fall under special rules allowing for lump sum payments. Contact your employer for additional details.

Keep in mind that only payments which were made while you were a full-time employee at a qualifying public service organization will count toward your required 120 qualifying monthly payments.

You also need to be a full-time employee of a qualifying public service organization both at the time that you apply for PSLF benefits, and when your student loan forgiveness is actually granted.

What Repayment Plans are Eligible?

The two best repayment plans for PSLF benefits are the Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR) and the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR). Using either of these two repayment plans will be your best bet for maximizing your PSLF benefits.

The 10-Year Standard Repayment Plan is also PSLF-qualifying, as are any other repayment plans where you make a monthly payment that would be as much, or higher than the amount you would be paying under the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan.

Keep in mind that your repayment plan could actually completely invalidate the PSLF benefit, as, for example, if you decided to use the 10-Year Standard Repayment Plan throughout the entire course of your loan, never missing a payment of paying less than the scheduled amount, then you wouldn’t have any student loan debt to forgive anyway, so the PSLF benefit would be worthless to you.

Using the IBR or ICR repayment plans, you will make a lower monthly payment, which allows you to stretch payments out for an extended period of time (more than 10 years), and will cost you more interest in the long-run, but allow you to take advantage of the PSLF benefits once you’ve satisfied all the eligibility criteria.

However, if you failed to meet the eligibility criteria for any reason (for example leaving public sector employment), then using the IBR or ICR plans would backfire, leaving you with substantially higher debt levels than  you would have had using the 10-Year Standard Plan.

If you are not absolutely certain that you want to remain employed at a qualified public sector position for the duration of your eligibility period for PSLF, then you should not rely on PSLF benefits, as they are likely to provide you nothing of value.

What Kinds of Jobs Qualify for PSLF?

Employment with a federal, state or local government agency, entity or organization counts as qualified employment for PSLF.

Additionally, any federal, state or local non-profit organization designated as tax-exempt by the IRS under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code counts as qualified employment too.

Some private non-profits that are not qualified tax-empty organizations under 501(c)(3) may also count as qualifying public service organization, if they provide certain specific public services.

Eligible public services include: military service, emergency management, public safety or law enforcement, public health services, public education or public library services, school library or other school-based services, public interest law services, early childhood education, public service for individuals with disabilities and public service for the elderly.

One stipulation to qualification is that labor unions and partisan political organizations do not, under any circumstances count as qualified employers.

What Counts as Full-Time Employment?

First, your position must meet your employers definition of full-time employment.

Even if you work more than 40 hours a week, if your employer somehow does not define your role as a full-time employee for their tax liabilities, then your position will not allow you PSLF eligibility.

Additionally, your position must meet the following criteria:

  • Your position must be at least 30 hours per week when averaged annually
  • Your 30 hours per week cannot include any time spent participating in religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing

Teachers and employees of public service organizations with contracts for at least eight months per year must also meet full-time standards if they work an average of at least 30 hours per week during the contractual period, and must receive credit from their employers for a full year’s worth of employment.

Also, If you work at more than one qualified part-time job simultaneously, you are allowed to meet the full-time employment eligibility requirement if you work a combined average of 30 or more hours per week at your positions with eligible employers.

Typically, your actual work duties and the type or nature of your employment with your employer is irrelevant to PSLF eligbility, unless you work for a not-for-profit organization that has something to do with religion.

In that case, when determining full-time work, you may not include any time that was spent participating in religious instruction, worship services or any form of proselytizing (as mentioned above).

How Can I Track My Progress?

To keep track of your eligibility for PSLF forgiveness, the Government provides a form called the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (which you can find here) that you should download, print, fill out and submit to track your progress for completing PSLF requirements.

The ECPSLF form will guide you through the process of collecting required employer’s certification of employment, and submitting the form will provide you with confirmation of qualifying employment and eligibility for your Direct Loan payments.

This form should be submitted annually, though it could be submitted less frequently as long as you’re able to provide all the necessary data for the time period covered, and it will essentially prevent you from discovering any problems along the way, or from straying from the path of eligibility from the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

You are not required to use this form, but it should help you to remain organized, understand how much of the eligibility you have completed, and how much you have left to complete, and keep you on track for receiving total loan forgiveness once you’ve finished PSLF requirements.

If you do choose not to submit the form along the way, you will still need to submit a separate form for each employer at the time that you request final clearance for PSLF benefits, so you might as well be using it throughout the process when it’s easier to collect the required information.

Seven Steps to Receiving Forgiveness:

  1. Complete the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form each year, or whenever you change jobs, providing the Government with your employer’s certification credentials.
  2. Submit the completed form to FedLoan Servicing, who services all PSLF loans, following the instructions found on the form itself (which you can read here).
  3. FedLoan Servicing will review the form you submitted, make sure it’s completely filled out properly, then determine whether or not your employment qualifies you for PSLF benefits.
  4. If the form wasn’t filled out properly or if you do not qualify for the PSLF Program, FedLoan Servicing will let you know and provide you with another opportunity to give them the correct information.
  5. If FedLoan Servicing can’t tell whether or not you qualify for the PSLF Program, they might request more documents from you to prove that you have been or are employed by a qualifying public service organization. You may be asked for IRS forms (W-2’s), pay stubs, or any other documents to prove your employment at the business you’ve listed, or to prove that your employer is in fact a qualified public service organization.
  6. If your employment does qualify you for the PSLF Program, but some or all of your federally held loans are not currently being serviced by FedLoan Servicing, then those loans will be automatically transferred to them so that you have a single servicer for all of your federal student loans. Once your loans have been transferred to FedLoan Servicing, all payments you made to different servicers in the past will be reviewed to see if they qualify as counting toward PSLF payments.
  7. FedLoan Servicing will let you know if your employment qualifies for the PSLF Program, and will let you know how many payments you have made that count as qualifying payments. You will know exactly how many qualified payments you still have to make before you are eligible for complete loan forgiveness under PSLF benefits.

What To Do Once You Qualify for Forgiveness

After you’ve completed the entire process and made your 120th qualifying payment, you should immediately submit the PSLF application to request loan forgiveness.

The application does not yet exist (since no one can possibly qualify until 2017 anyway), but the Government has promised that it will be ready well in advance of the first day that qualification is possible.

Remember that you will need to be working for a qualified public service organization when you submit your final request, and that you will have had to be working for a qualifying organization, in a qualified position, and have made 120 qualified payments before you can even consider submitting this request.

Finally, you will need to remain working for a qualified organization when they receive your request, and offer you complete forgiveness.

Do not think that simply submitting your application will mean that you can now change jobs, leaving the public service space, and still receive your loan forgiveness – this program has not been set up to work that way.

Other Resources

For additional information about PSLF benefits, please visit the resources listed below:

View the PSLF Fact Sheet here.

View the PSLF Question & Answer Page here.

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When my site gets posted to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Blog sites, more people find out about these important benefits programs, increasing the chances that they will be used, and remain in existence.

Thank you for your support, and please come back soon!


Tim's experience battling crushing student loan debt led him to create the website Forget Student Loan Debt, where he offers advice on dealing with excessive student loans and advocates a cautious approach to funding education costs via borrowed money.

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  1. I’ve been scammed by Direct Loans. Been paying under public service plan for almost two years. Today I find out only 8 payments qualify so far. Somehow multiple payments are showing up as PENNIES short of the payment due and therefore not counting as a qualifying payment. Why would I make a payment 9 cents short of what was due?? More than once?? Be warned!!! I’m livid!!

    • Barb Cinque says:

      Omg Stacy, that is terrible! Others have shared similar stories, where Direct Loans figures out ways to cheat them of forgiveness for their loans. Its just disgusting! I hope you write your congresspeople and raise hell!

    • Stacy, did you ever get your payment issued resolved. It seems to me that you would be able to prove that the payments you made within those two years qualify.

    • This has also happened to me! They better make an exception when the time comes around for forgiveness!

  2. Thank you for your helpful and thorough information. It is difficult to sift through the truth and lies that are out there on the internet. Your site is great!!

  3. Great site. I’m in the healthcare field and I understand why this program is being reformed. Unfortunately PSLF is being abused by many doctors:

    They take out significant loans for Medical school. Let’s say 200k. Then they do their residency for 3-6 years, then fellowship for 2-4 years. During residency and fellowship they make 40k-60k, so their payments are very low during these ten years. After the ten years, they start making the big bucks (200k+), and there loans are forgiven!

    While it’s all within the rules, this wasn’t how the loan forgiveness was meant to be used.

    • Hi Derrick,

      I’m in agreement with you that a lot of people are taking advantage of the way this program works, but some proposed updates to Federal loan forgiveness are about to close the loopholes being exploited by the people you mentioned.

      If everything goes according to the latest proposal from President Obama, loan forgiveness will be capped at $57,000, so people with $100,000 or $200,000 in debt won’t be able to simply write it all off just before they start pulling in big money.

      This is going to screw things up for a lot of future Doctors, Dentists, etc., but it’s a better deal for most tax payers (basically everyone who isn’t having their massive loans forgiven).

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • I understand the concern about the benefit of the program to those with larger loans. However, as you mentioned the doctor with 200k loan. This student has put in 4 years of medical school, 3-6 years or residency and 2-4 years of fellowship – a total of 10-15 years additional education after college – before they earn a significant income.

      Lets take your example of 200k+ income. With practice expenses about 50% – their income is not much more than an engineer, pharmacist, nurse 10-15 years after their education and has been earning for those 10-15 years – and maybe raising a family. The years of sacrifice for further education and accumulation of expertise your doctor spend learning is what we want when we are sick and need a physician to get diagnosed and treated correctly. What is that worth?

      And this statement “This is going to screw things up for a lot of future Doctors, Dentists, etc., but it’s a better deal for most tax payers (basically everyone who isn’t having their massive loans forgiven).” is socially divisive (esp if you substitute a ” certain Race” instead of Doctors, Dentists, etc).

      Just my thoughts.

      • Hi Roberto,

        I hear you and I agree that your points are valid, but I’m not that concerned about being “socially divisive”. I want to make sure that the Forgiveness programs remain funded over the long-haul. When there are big loopholes that allow certain people (especially high-income individuals) to exploit the program and end up having hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt forgiven, that’s a concern for me.

        These programs were created to help people who got way over their heads into debt and have no way to ever get back out from under it. I do not believe that the intent of the programs was to help give more money to people earning 6-figure incomes. Yes, Doctors, Lawyers, Dentists, etc., accumulate a great deal of debt, and yes, their services are important and highly-valued by society, but I feel like they’re already compensated well enough.

        I’m more concerned that Forgiveness is available to the single-mother of multiple children who is barely scraping by, but now facing a several hundred (or even thousand) dollar monthly student loan debt bill. SHE is the person who needs assistance from the Federal Government, and I want my tax dollars being funneled to people like HER.

        I do not want to subsidize Doctors, Lawyers and Dentists. They already live in nicer houses than me, drive nicer cars than me, take more exotic locations than me, send their kids to nicer colleges than I’ll be able to afford, and make significantly more money than I ever will. Why should I pay for their education costs?

        • I can see helping people who needs help, avail themselves of subsidy for education to get themselves started toward a productive life. I can agree about helping people who faced undue or hardships not of their making.

          However, any government help/subsidy should be applied fairly and evenly across everyone related to the cost of their education and income not just because they live in a nicer house.

          Should the nurse, engineer, pharmacist, sales person, or technical worker be treated differently than HER or the doctors, Dentists and Lawyers or one of your readers that is looking to subsidize a $100k grad school education.

          Maybe the student should learn the risk vs rewards for the loans – before they take on the loans – rather than spending the loans on a program that may not yield the income to repay the loan or to depend on subsidies.

          Opinions aside – I appreciate the time and effort you do. Thanks.

          • Socially, I tend to agree with Roberto. Financially, I agree with Tim. I don’t think the program should be dictating that certain Public Servants don’t count. That is social engineering. That can be done by putting a lid on the forgiveness and or changing the IBR/PAYE so that high earners gain little forgiveness. (As a point in fact, that is what usually happens with docs. In my experience, most docs don’t enter the program at all but if they do, it’s usually after residency and being on the job for a few years. As such, by the time the 10-year window is over, the doc will have made an IBR/PAYE rate against some heavy earning years, leaving a much lower balance for forgiveness.)

            Financially, I’d hope that this program can remain funded to help those at the lower incomes. We could quibble if that means that I care more (from a social standpoint) about teachers and social workers. Aside from that, this program makes great impact in K-12 and social work. I see it everyday. Applied properly, it is life changing for many.

            Tim, keep up the great work.

          • Thank you for weighing in JZ and thank you for the kind words as well! Much appreciated!

  4. There are bound to be many changes to this program throughout the years, especially leading up to 2017. I am just curious if any one knows if one were to enroll in the program, would they be grandfathered into the rules which were in place at the time of enrollment? For example, if a person enrolled before the 2015 budget changes, would they still get all of their loans forgiven no matter what the amount, or would the $57,000 cap apply to them also? Without some sort of grandfather clause, the whole PSLF program could be very dubious. Imagine working at a lower paying PS job for 9 years, all the while gaining debt due to interest and low payments, believing that you are going to be fine at year 10. Then all of a sudden, there is another change to the program which somehow disqualifies you. There you are left without forgiveness and more debt than you would have had if you had worked at a higher paying job. See the quandary here? Thank you, Tim for this article.

    • Hi Sara,

      It’s hard to predict what will happen to this program as things continue to evolve, but there’s a good chance that grandfathering will apply.

      My take is that whatever rules were in place at the time you officially got onto PAYE, those rules will continue to apply to you no matter how things change down the line.

      It’s a scary situation, to be sure, but in this instance I think we can count on grandfathering to protect us from any future reduction or cancellation of benefits.

      • Kevin Walsh says:

        First of all I would like to thank you Tim for your time and effort in creating this very detailed article. I also would like to thank you Sara for asking your question. The issue with changes to the program being made to the program is my number one concern with the program. I have been approved as of January 2015 as I have consolidated my loans of $30,000 for my education. I feel as if I will always be worried over the viability of this program for years to come. If any information becomes available about “grandfathering” in of the PSLF program I would love to hear more. Is there any way this program would completely fall apart? I certainly hope not. Good luck to everyone out there. Thanks Tim, Sara, and everyone else who contributed questions, concerns, and feedback.

        • Hi Kevin,

          Thanks for the kind words. So far there is nothing yet about “grandfathering” benefits of the PSLF program, but I honestly don’t see any reason why the Federal Government would decrease benefits for those already enrolled.

          If they do end up cutting benefits, I think they’ll have to pick an arbitrary starting point some time in the near (or perhaps distant) future, and allow everyone who’s already taken out loans to enjoy the previously more lucrative promise.

          It would be a travesty for them to do something like that, and I just can’t believe that even Politicians would slash the program for people who’ve made decisions based on what they knew would be available.

          I’m watching the situation closely and will continue to provide updates whenever more information is released.

          Thank you for stopping by!

          • Candice Gayle says:

            I am very concerned about this idea of so many negative changes happening to this program. I would be very negatively affected unless I am grandfathered in (I really hope that happens). I understand why so many changes may need to be made, which is namely because of people taking advantage of this potentially amazing program. If there a place I can go to support this program? Is there some sort of petition that has been made to help keep the program mostly how it is now?

          • Hi Candice,

            I share your concern, as do many other Americans who RELY on PSLF benefits to survive financially, but I’m not aware of any existing petitions to preserve the current rules.

            I believe that we’ll all get a fair deal when all is said and done, and I’m nearly certain (based on what I’ve heard from experts in the field) that any changes to Public Service Loan Forgiveness will be pushed out to some future date, allowing people already in school or already in the program to continue taking full advantage of its benefits.

  5. Ricci Robson says:

    Hi, I have already tried application for SLF, and despite perfect re-payments many years and over 10 years in the public sector, my application was refused, why?? I am re-submitting. Any suggestions welcome!!

  6. Hi Derrick,

    When will we find out whether the $57,500 cap is approved or not? The bare minimum I’d need to take out for my grad school program is $60,000, but with living expenses and what not it’s closer to 100,000. I’d like to start school next year, but if I take out $50,000 my first year and then find out I’ve almost met my limit, I’m screwed! I guess since I wont have started PAYE or Pub Service payments until 2017 there’s no “grandfathering” if this decision is passed within the next year.

    This is so overwhelming :(

    • Hi Lucy,

      You’re in a tough spot – I agree, but there’s no way to know when the final verdict will emerge on the $57,000 cap. This is all still very much “in the works”, and unfortunately, when it comes to politically-charged issues like these, things tend to move very slowly.

      It’s POSSIBLE that everyone with student loans before the new rule goes live will be grandfathered in – I don’t think you’d have to be enrolled in PAYE to be counted before the changes go live, but again, this is a major risk.

      Sorry that I can’t provide you with a clearer answer =(

  7. John Pedigo says:

    As someone who has been in public service and paying my student loans faithfully since 2007, this whole program is pointless for me. I have a family of four and make *just* enough that even the IBR plan would constitute a higher payment than my current consolidated payment by about $150 a month. I had no idea about filing taxes separately from my wife, but that would be too complicated given our situation and just doesn’t seem above board. Oh, well. Hands – meet boot straps. My debt. My problem.

  8. Elisabeth says:

    I have a scenario that I would like your insight on. Borrowers can be enrolled in IBR or ICR plans and take advantage of PSLF by paying relatively low payments on their student loans. Under the IBR plan it is possible based on a low annual income that calculated payments can be $0 and this qualifies as a “qualified payment”. My question is, based on income, would $0 “payments” under the IBR plan be counted as eligible payments for the PLSF? PLSF payments must be qualified payments according to your payment plan and in some cases a $0 monthly payment is a qualified payment for low income earners under the IBR.

    Any input you have is valued. I was running this scenario through my head and cannot figure out if it is viable. Also, after I graduate my monthly payment under IBR or ICR should be considerably low since the previous year (2014) I didn’t earn much income. If I fall under this $0 category I’m not sure if I should pay extra or not.

    • Hi Elisabeth,

      The good news is that, yes, the $0 payment does count as a “qualified payment” for the PSLF program.

      The important thing to keep in mind is that eventually you will have to pay taxes on whatever amount of debt gets forgiven, so if you aren’t at least making interest payments, that could end up costing you more than it saves in the long-run.

      Plan carefully, make your interest payments, put aside some money along the way, and when your PSLF forgiveness kicks in, you’ll definitely be a happy camper!

      • My understanding is that you don’t have to pay taxes on PSLF plans?

        • Hi Kathryn,

          I’m not entirely sure what you’re referring to – PSLF Plans? Are you thinking of Student Loan Repayment Plans?

          Or are you asking about not paying taxes on the balance of the loan forgiven once you’ve satisfied the conditions of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and had your debt cancelled?

          • Aaron Ceresnie says:

            As it stands now, any balance forgiven under PSLF is not considered tax-deductible income, which means that any remaining interest will not have to paid at the time of forgiveness. Can you confirm this?

          • Hi Aaron,

            I think you’ve got the right reading on that rule, but one thing to keep in mind is that everything gets worked out almost exclusively based on what your lender decides to do. I can’t confirm anything. For a real confirmation, you need to speak with whoever is servicing your loan.

            Also, don’t forget that even though you’ll have the balance and interest forgiven, you will have to add the amount forgiven as taxable income on your IRS tax filing, so it’s not like it all just evaporates into thin air. Bottom line: tread cautiously.

          • Following up on this person’s original question…. Way down the road, once my loans are forgiven and my debt has been cancelled, what happens with the interest? Do I pay this off on my own or is this forgiven too? Do you have any more information or suggestions on this? Thanks!

          • Hi Jaimie,

            Everything gets forgiven, debt and interest. However, you will end up having to add the total amount of all the money forgiven to your tax return that year as if it it were income, so you will be responsible for paying taxes on whatever gets written off. Keep that in mind when you’re planning to leverage loan forgiveness benefits, because it could end up costing quite a bit of money.

  9. Curiosity question. I was a seasonal full time IRS employee 2004-2007 and again in 2009. I was paying on my loans during that time. I then went back to school full time in 2010 to become a RN BSN at which point I went in to deferment. After graduating in Dec 2012, I started repaying in July 2013. In Jan 2014, I started a masters (nurse practitioner) full time while also working full time at a 501(c)(3) facility. I’m back in deferment…again. Would any of the payments made during my stint at the IRS count? How do I tally the payments made when I started at the 501(c)(3)? Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Lynne,

      Did you read the entire page? Check out the section called “Eligibility Guidelines for the PSLF Program” for a detailed answer to your questions.

      Loan payments from before October 1st, 2007 don’t count toward your required 120 payments, and neither do any payments made on a repayment plan that isn’t eligible for PSLF.

  10. Hi Tim,

    I’ve been working for 10 yrs as a full-time RN for Kaiser. I have Navient, and I think I only qualified for the Private Loan at that time, I didn’t qualify for the Perkins Loan. Am I eligible for this loan forgiveness program? I’ve been making payment since 2005. Thanks.

    • Hi Donna,

      If your loans are private, then you won’t qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. It’s only for Federal student loans.

      For options on private student loan debt, see here.

  11. This is very unfortunately that they have no program to help forgive the debt of military spouses. Before I hear “You’re just a spouse, you don’t wear a uniform” and other negative comments, I will say the following:

    1.) Since we are married, our money and our debt is combined.

    2.) I was in school right before and after we got married. Spent $86,000 for a law degree. I graduated in 2007, passed the bar exam, and the economy plummeted. Our original plan was for him to get out of service after he completed 4 years, and I would work. I could not find a job in the horrible economy, and we received orders to Germany so I was unable to work there as an attorney. He decided to re-enlist and now that will be his career. Since returning to the US 3 years ago, we have lived in 3 states. It will be 4 states starting this June. So that’s moving on average of every year–not long enough for me to even apply for and take a bar exam in our new state. But while we were in Germany, he was an E5 making $2330 base pay and I had a $1200 student loan monthly payment.

    3.) All of my debt accrued BEFORE the GI Bill was expanded to allow transferability to spouse, which we definitely would have waited on my going to school if we had known that such a benefit was going to be passed by Congress. I believe this bill was passed in 2008. I’m starting to just believe I’m unlucky…

    4.) When we were in Germany, after 8 months of job searching, I did land a very low grade federal job. I looked into student loan forgiveness at the time, and since I knew there was no way I would be able to complete 10 years guaranteed of public service/having a govt job due to all the upcoming moves, I did not even apply.

    5.) He is currently deployed overseas and I have two very young children, so working right now would be cost-prohibitive. We still have thousands and thousands in student loans.

  12. It’s not clear if there’s any loan forgiveness available for military reservists. What’s available for reservists?

  13. Kathleen says:

    If anyone has any advice as to if anyone can help or who to contact, please advise.

    All of my loans originated after the 2007 date so I was fine. I had loans of rough 70k.
    I was eligible for $17500 student loan forgiveness under the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. I called 3 times to ensure that submitting the reimbursement would not affect or start over the 10 year period for Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness. I submitted the form and wonderfully the $17500 was forgiven.
    Unfortunately it turned out I was given wrong info
    Because my account was sold and immediately after, the new company told me that the previous loan company gave me wrong info and that the 10 years does in fact start over.

    Is there any way to undo this? The new company says they can’t help me because (understandably) they aren’t Mohela.

    Also, it’s not like I’m financially benefitting. The 17500 did not and will not reduce my payments because I am on income based. So all it does is reduce the total that will eventually be forgiven and it started my 10 years all over. What’s worse is my income will obviously be much higher these next 10
    Years and I’ll be paying for 15. Lastly, the end result of whether this can be fixed or not
    is an actual consideration into whether or not I get married. I was hoping to take one year off if and when we Have a child but won’t be able to afford it if the payment is based off both of our income and for another 10 years.

    Basically, since I was given wrong info, I would like them to rebill me the 17500 and any interest I owe and have the payments I’ve made this far count instead of starting over.

    I can’t believe that receiving the 17500 credit to my account had turned out to be the worst financial mistake ever and all because some reps gave me wrong info.

    Any suggestions, advice, or even who I could/ should comtact for help would me appreciated.


    • Hi Kathleen

      I would recommend that you contact the Student Loan Ombudsman Group IMMEDIATELY!

      You need to have them investigate this and make sure that you aren’t being screwed.

      You can reach them at 1-877-557-2575. Call them today and get this sorted out.

  14. Ford Prefect says:

    I was making income-based repayment (IBR) payments while working at a 501(c)(3), and continued to do so while on active duty with the Army. But then . . . I enrolled in a masters degree (using Army tuition assistance).

    Somehow, my loan servicer caught wind of my activities, and put me in academic deferment against my will. I tried to get back into repayment, but found it wasn’t so easy. So, I kept my mouth shut and went with the deferment.

    So, anyway, I’ve got something like 30 payments toward my 120. But now I am off active duty and re-entering the workforce as a teacher. What I would like to know is this:

    Given that I have to eat, and am not assured immediate eligible employment, if I take work with a non-eligible employer now (ie, for-profit or foreign school, etc), can I resume making IBR repayments toward my 120 when I later find a job with an eligible employer?

    That is, does the present taint of private sector filthy lucre preclude me from later pursuing PSLF?

    • Hi There,

      The short answer is no. You can bounce back and forth between the public and private sector, then still leverage PSLF at some point down the line. PSLF is not an all-or-nothing benefit.

      Forgiveness is based on satisfying the eligibility conditions of making enough payments (120 or 240), and qualifying for forgiveness once you’ve hit that magic number.

      Just be aware that any payments you make while working in the private sector won’t count.

  15. I am kind of in the same boat as Kathleen.while I did not receive the 17500 forgiveness I just recently consolidated my loans to save 100 dollars per month . I thought this would be a good financial decision however I couldn’t have been more wrong! I have worked as an educator for the last 5 years and was told that you had to work at least that long in order to qualify for loan forgiveness? Well after speaking with the servers of my new loan that is untrue! My loan payments for the last 5 years should have counted! However since the consolidation process I have to start over! I am sick to my stomach! I have Been religious at calling my previous servers to see if I qualified for any kind of forgiveness and have paid my debt on time and in full. How could somebody fail to tell me I was eligible all along? Please……is there anything that can be done to count the past 5 years??

    • Hi Kerri,

      I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you. Loan servicers often can’t be trusted – firstly, because it’s in their best interest to lie to the borrower, and secondly, because many of them simply aren’t trained up and aware of all the benefit programs that are out there.

      I do not know if you’ll be able to get anywhere with this, but I would speak to a lawyer if I were you. You may want to try contacting the Student Loan Ombudsman Group first (they are free, but offer legal advice for those dealing with tricky Federal student loan situations), to find out if you would even have a chance by filing a lawsuit.

      You can contact the Ombudsman Group here.

  16. Just found this site. Very insightful. Thanks for monitoring this. I’ve been a federal employee (law enforcement) for almost ten years now.

    I’ve been watching this issue for a long time and am not at all surprised of all the changes that have made it difficult to get this benefit. For instance, I am not on an ICR or IBR or any kind of income sensitive plan they list. I’m on a level payment plan. Why on earth would they penalize someone who tried to make bigger payments by not allowing the standard/level repayment plan to be eligible? When I started paying my loans (circa 2006), I believe I was put into a “graduated” repayment plan. I don’t see that mentioned anywhere in the pre-reqs. How does someone who was in the graduated repayment plan get looked at for PSLF?

    It may not matter anyway because it appears I’m “double ineligible” for having consolidated Stafford loans (FFEL) and not a Federal Direct Loan. Am I correct on that? It’s possible my consolidated loans are Direct loans but it’s hard to make heads or tails. I don’t recall even being given a choice between FFEL and Federal Direct loans when I applied back in 2003. It was just “government loan”, please apply.

    What a scam this whole thing is. Anyway, I appreciate your research on this Tim. I’ll continue to watch this site.


    • Hi Wes,

      I think the explanation for the requirement of “income-based” repayment is to ensure that everyone pays their “fair share” of their student loan debt. It “levels the playing field” so that a guy making lots of money and a guy making only a little bit of money each pay the same percentage of their income before being able to write off their debt.

      In a nutshell, it’s pretty similar to the rest of the Socialist-leading programs that have been implemented in the past few years. There’s pros and cons to the way that PSLF have been configured, but the sad part of the situation is that it’s really only useful for a small, select group of people who deliberately work the system to their advantage (since many people won’t qualify for PSLF no matter what they do).

      FFEL loans are NOT eligible for PSLF, you’re right. If your loans were made under that program, then you’ll need to consolidate them under the Direct Loan Program in order to start taking advantage of Public Service Loan Forgiveness. You can find out what type of loan you have here:

      I hear you on the complaint – believe me, you’re not the first to be let down by the system, and you certainly won’t be the last. The best thing for you to do is get yourself onto the proper payment plan as soon as possible, and start taking advantage of the benefits that you deserve.

      Good luck!

      • Thanks for the response Tim. My FFEL loans were consolidated shortly after graduation and I’ve been paying one payment ever since. In order to consolidate my loan into a Direct Loan Program I would have to have another loan to consolidate it with, correct? That’s another “catch” that will keep people like me out of receiving this.

        Do you know why FFEL loans were deemed ineligible? I looked but could not find an explanation. What a kick in the ‘you know what.’

        • Hi Wes,

          That’s a good question about consolidation a previously consolidated single loan – I am not sure if it’s possible to consolidate without having two separate loans. I would contact the Department of Education to ask that one. It doesn’t SEEM like it would be possible, but sometimes weird stuff like that is allowed.

          I have no idea why FFEL wasn’t included. There’s probably a political answer to that, but I haven’t seen it explained anywhere, ever. The good news is that if Congress really does open up the Pay As You Earn plan to everyone (as Obama told them to do by December of 2015), you should be able to qualify for all the same benefits even with your FFEL loans.

  17. I really appreciate all of this information and this website! My wife is a Physical Therapist with 160k debt. She is on Income based Repayment and working for a non profit in her 4th year of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness. We’re really confused on what to do moving forward. If this is capped at 56k, what happens to all the interest that keeps accruing? Will her debt even go down? Also, with all the interest that she can’t write off, is it still worth it since she owes so much money? Finally, is there a way to pay down some of the 160k to bring down the interest accruing each year? I really appreciate any thoughts and insight- this process is overwhelming to say the least. Thanks again for such a useful website!

    • Hi Drew,

      I’ve got good news for you – don’t worry about the $57k cap. That was a topic that got brought up a while back, but has not received any lip service ever since.

      It’s highly unlikely that it’ll ever be implemented, and even more unlikely that it would be applied to people with existing student loans anyway.

      IF the cap were instituted, your wife would almost certainly be protected from facing it by some sort of grandfather clause. So… don’t worry about that one.

      You’ll need to do the math to determine whether or not PSLF will be worth it for you guys – that depends on a lot of different factors, like total debt getting forgiven, whether or not adding that to your income jumps your tax bracket, etc. You may want to speak with a tax professional to determine which option is better for you.

      You can definitely pay down some of that total $160,000 to reduce interest accumulation, but only by sending in bigger payments. There’s no easy way to stop the accumulating interest, and unfortunately, compounding interest works against you in this situation.

      I wish I had some better, more useful answers for you, but I think you guys are on the right track and that you’ll end up ok. Just make sure that you’re putting aside a bit of money each year for that eventually loan forgiveness tax increase and you should be fine!

      • Thanks so much, Tim! While we still have some questions, you are providing great feedback and a resource full of good information for an issue that is very hard to find accurate information. We have set up an appointment to meet with someone to go over some of the other questions, but are appreciative of your work- thanks again!

  18. Kathryn says:

    My understanding is that forgiveness under pslf is NOT considered income for tax purposes. Is that wrong? I am working towards pslf but because I’m in a low paying job and my one payments are correspondingly low, my loans have ballooned. It accumulates faster than I’m paying at this point. Thank you!

  19. I don’t know the current status of the decision to try to cap loan forgiveness at $57k (although I’m certainly going to look into it) but, as an attorney, I think it’d likely be difficult for the feds to make such a change WITHOUT a grandfather clause for existing PSLF enrollees. The reason is because the purpose of the PSLF program was to encourage professionals to pursue a career in lower-paying civil service jobs and, for those of us who made career decisions based upon the representation that our loans would be forgiven after 10 years, there’s a serious liability/detrimental reliance issue for the feds in unilaterally changing the deal. The average student loan debt for attorneys is now well-above $150k and there are more than enough attorneys out there right now (myself included) who would be willing to bring legal action to protect what the law would regard as a vested property right. For those not already enrolled in PSLF, it would obviously be a very different story.

    • Hi Ken,

      That’s totally my understanding as well – anyone in the system (carrying any debt whatsoever) is likely to be grandfathered through and exempt from a new rule limiting PSLF forgiveness.

      I think it’d be impossible for them to reduce the benefit without excluding everybody with existing debt from that reduction.

  20. Dr. Tish Bradley says:

    So I take issue with the part of the article that reads, “That means no more free rides for those entrepreneurial graduates who rack up $100,000+ in student loans, work public sector jobs for 10 years, then write it all off.”

    A couple of things. Unless you take the lowest paying jobs in the public sector, in my experience the loans are designed to have you paying off the majority of the loan in ten years. I happen to be a principal and was told that now I have to pay $2,000 a month, based on my income (NOTE: My income isn’t low but 2000 is not even an option)?

    At that rate, they will forgive four payments. This program only benefits individuals with the lowest paying jobs in the sectors but is not suited for those well-meaning people who intend to lead in the field. In my case, I earn $40.00 interest daily at 6.99% and all I know is that I went to a top 25 school based upon what I was told about PSLF.

    I could have gone a far cheaper route had the true “payoff” been abundantly clear.

    • Thanks for weighing in Dr. Bradley.

      The good news for you is that PSLF is unlikely to get capped any time soon. I haven’t heard any further discussion about the proposed $57,000 limit getting put in place, and I highly doubt that it’s going to happen any time soon, or be applied to people with outstanding student loans.

      Personally, I’m still for the cap, because I think the existing unlimited forgiveness benefit is a threat to the system’s future financial integrity, and could lead to a complete loss of Federal student loan forgiveness benefits for everyone. I’m just an observer here though, and I don’t have access to the program’s financials or a crystal ball, so this is merely speculation.

      I do have one question for you though – which part of the PSLF “payoff” wasn’t “abundantly clear” to you going into this whole thing? As far as I can tell, all the information about how this program works is publicly available, so I’m curious to know which element came to your as a surprise?

  21. Maryann Campisi says:

    Thanks for sharing all of this helpful information. I just want to make a point that the public employee loan forgiveness program seems very unfair to anyone who is forced or required to retire (health reasons, injury, unemployment, to care for a family member, etc) before the 120 monthly payments can be made (and more unfair if you worked in public service for many years prior to starting payments). Most of us do not retire rich. The current rules also seem to not benefit those of us taking parent loans for our children when we are in our mid 50’s because we are going to have to be able to work into our 60s for any possible loan forgiveness and the payment plans can really put a burden on saving for retirement. Just want to point this out and hope for changes ahead. Thanks for reading my rant.

  22. Santos Aguilar says:

    If I took out federal loans eligible for PSLF forgiveness for undergrad and have been making payments. 5 years later, I decide to go to graduate school and take out additional loans, will the 120 payment requirement begin all over? Thanks

    • Hi Santos,

      I believe that your loans will be treated separately, unless you consolidate them. If you keep them separate, then the 5 years of payments you’ve made toward your undergrad loan will count toward PSLF for it, while you’re going to be starting from scratch with the graduate loan.

      If you consolidate your loans, then I think you’ll start at zero with both of them. Be careful! Contact whoever services your loan and ask them how they interpret the guidelines here, because at the end of the day, they’re the ones who get to make the call.

  23. Hi,
    What do you think about the Student Loan Project agency? They offered me a low monthly payment and said I qualified for the Public Forgiveness program because I’m a public school teacher. The fee was 500.00. Navient is servicing my loan now and the payments will be double. Is the Student Loan Project agency legit? Is this a scam?
    Thank you

    • Hi Jackie,

      I can’t comment on any particular company or offer, but I will tell you that you can qualify for and enroll in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program entirely on your own, without having to pay anyone anything. All you need to do is contact your loan servicer (Navient) and ask them about getting onto the program.

  24. Hi, thank you for all the great information and updates! I just wanted to make sure of one thing. What makes one “grandfathered in”? I consolidated my loans and got on the IBR plan as soon as I started teaching. I asked if I needed to fill out any form and the loan service company said no. I read where you agreed that we do not HAVE to fill out the form but it would be helpful because we would need each employers information when the 10 years are up. Well I have worked with the same district for five years and have no intention of changing in the next five so I never submitted any form. It will be very simple to get one district’s word that I have worked there for X number of years. I only made sure I had followed all steps of eligibility. My question is…Am I still considered grandfathered in? Or do I need to submit the form to be grandfathered in? Thank you!

    • Hi Stephanie,

      When I’m talking about being “grandfathered in”, I’m talking about the idea that if this program’s benefits are cut, those cuts likely won’t apply to anyone who’s already taken out Federal student loans.

      My opinion is that you don’t need to have any application submitted, and I believe that your loan serciver is correct. I don’t think you have anything to worry about here.

  25. There needs to be many changes and there is no forgiveness for the Parents Plus borrowers and our kids couldn’t have had even money to attend college without us taking out loans for them. There are also so many restrictions to loan forgiveness for students that I find it hard to believe that many people would receive any benefits.

    The only people who would probably get the benefits are people who borrowed more like doctors and lawyers. I also notice seasonal/full time wildland firefighters do not qualify to any forgiveness due to the definition of full time. They definitely need changes to help middle class students and parents with loan forgiveness.

    • Hi Lorraine,

      I agree wholeheartedly. I’m honestly hoping that student loan debt becomes a big issue in the upcoming Presidential Election. If Donald Trump would just ONCE say the phrase “student loan debt”, I think we’d see some serious media coverage of this important issue.

      Keep your fingers crossed!

  26. Jeff Herriford says:

    I’m trying to get myself some more information on the PSLF program as my wife is currently enrolled in it. I hear about all these changes set to take place in the future and it scares me about our financial future. In her and now our case she has a large student load debt of 150k plus and is on a income based repayment plan. At the current rate of repayment we would never pay these loans off after ten years. Therefore, these laws capping repayment at 57k would completely cripple us financially. I read what the lawyer says above about the grandfather clause and that gives me hope that the current system we are enrolled in is possible to ride out to the end. Do you foresee any possible changes to the program for people already enrolled that could drastically change things. Also, should I be checking any other place for information regarding PSLF program. Thank you

    • Hi Jeff,

      As far as anyone knows (yet), none of the proposed changes are going to be put in place. There’s been no recent discussion of any of the reductions in benefits.

      Plus, even if these reductions were to go into effect, virtually everyone in the industry agrees that they would not be applied retroactively (against anyone who’s already borrowed student loan money).

      IF anything changes for the negative, then the restrictions are likely to apply ONLY to future borrowers. There will probably even be a couple year grace period before the restrictions are applied to the new borrowers, to provide time for everyone considering school and student loans to make themselves aware of the new changes.

      I would not worry about this. I think you’ll be completely fine.

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