Non-Profit Student Loan Forgiveness

Student Loan Forgiveness for Non-Profit Employees

In 2017, Non Profit Student Loan Forgiveness programs remain widely accessible for employees of all 501(c)(3) organizations, as well as for others not traditionally considered “non profit” employees.

In fact, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) – which is the official name of the student loan debt forgiveness program for nonprofit workers – remains the absolute best Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Program on offer, period, providing complete loan forgiveness after making just 10 years of monthly payments.

To receive Federal loan forgiveness at the 10 year mark, all you need to do is work for a qualifying organization (any 501(c)(3) will count) for at least 30 hours per week, and make your monthly student loan payments in-full, on-time, and under one of the popular Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans.

How Does Non Profit Loan Forgiveness Work?

    To qualify for student loan forgiveness for nonprofit employees, you must:

  • Have an eligible loan (only Federal Direct loans qualify for PSLF benefits)
  • Have an eligible job (only “Public Service” jobs qualify for PSLF benefits)
  • Make 120 monthly student loan payments on an Income-Based Repayment Plan

Once you’ve satisfied these requirements, you’ll receive a complete discharge on your eligible Federal student loans, meaning your debt will be cancelled entirely.

But that’s not all, because non profit loan forgiveness benefits are also one of the only Federal forgiveness benefit programs that doesn’t require you to claim the amount of money forgiven as taxable income, which means they don’t generate any additional tax liabilities.

And that’s a huge deal, because when you have to pay taxes on forgiveness benefits, that can end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars. For more information on this topic, please visit my page about Student Loan Forgiveness and Taxable Income Laws.

In my opinion, PSLF benefits are best, easiest, and most effective debt forgiveness benefits currently available, so if you think you have any chance at qualifying for them, I highly recommend pursuing the opportunity.

Why Should You Pursue PSLF Benefits?

Out of all the existing student loan relief options available to Americans in 2017, PSLF is by far the most powerful, as it’s the quickest way to get rid of your student loans without paying for them.

PSLF allows anyone who works at a qualifying not-for-profit institution who makes regular monthly student loan payments for 10 years to earn total forgiveness on their Federal student loan debt, which is far faster than any other available program.

This is an especially important program for people with high debt loads, like those who attended private schools, law school, medical programs, dental school or other expensive programs.

But Before I Dive Into Details…

If you’re in a hurry, if you don’t want to spend a ton of time researching how this works, or if you’re confused about how to qualify for PSLF, then you should call the Student Loan Relief Helpline for assistance, at 1-888-906-3065.

The Student Loan Relief Helpline is staffed by student loan debt experts who will figure out what your financial situation looks like, and what you should do to get rid of your student loans as quickly and affordably as possible.

When you call, simply explain your student loan and employment situation to them, then ask if you’re eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, and you should be able to get a quick answer for free.

When they start pitching you paid services, like research, document prep, and legal services, you can either opt to sign up for them (saving you time and hassle), or you can simply decline them and you won’t end up having to spend any money at all!

To reach the Student Loan Relief Helpline, call 1-888-906-3065.

What Loans Are Eligible for Non Profit Loan Forgiveness?

The only loans that qualify for non-profit forgiveness are those issued under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.

This means that other types of loans, like FEEL Loans, Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Grad Plus Loans and any other type of Federally-funded student loan do not qualify for PSLF.

However, if you have one or more of those loans, you might be able to consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan, which would then be eligible for PSLF.

What Jobs Qualify for Non-Profit Loan Forgiveness?

There’s a huge variety of jobs that qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, including each of the following positions:

  • Jobs with a Federal, State or Local Government Agency
  • Jobs with a Section 501 (c)(3) non-profit tax exempt organization
  • Jobs with the military, emergency management, public safety of law enforcement
  • Jobs with public health services, public education, public library services or school-based services
  • Jobs with public interest law services, early childhood education, public service for people with disabilities or public service for the elderly

Pretty much any job related to any sort of public service work will qualify you for the benefit, but any job with an organization that’s qualified as a non-profit 501(3)(c) will guarantee that you qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

The major stipulation on the employment piece is that you’ll have to be employed full-time, which is defined as working for at least 30 hours per week, averaged annually. That means you don’t have to work 30 hours a week every week, but 30 hours per week on average over each year.

Please note, however, that those 30 hours per week of work cannot include time you spent on religious instruction, attending worship services, or performing any kind of proselytizing.

What Payments Count Toward the 120 Threshold?

To qualify for non profit school loan forgiveness, you’ll need to make 120 monthly student loan payments that satisfy each of the following conditions:

  1. Payments Cannot Be Late – You can’t make payments after their due date, but will have to actually issue them on time, according to your Student Loan Repayment Plan
  2. Payments Cannot Be Partial – You can’t make 120 incremental payments, but will have to actually issue monthly payments for the full amount due according to your repayment plan
  3. Payments Must be Scheduled – You can’t make 120 payments in 3 months, but will have to actually issue them monthly, according to the schedule of your repayment plan

To make things a little clearer, you can think of the 120 payments in terms of the number of years it will take to qualify for forgiveness, and consider this a 10 year program (12 payments per year * 10 years = 120 payments).

Unfortunately, the real trick to the program is that only payments made on or after October 1st, 2007 will count toward your 120 payment threshold, so the soonest that you can possibly qualify for nonprofit loan forgiveness is October 1st, 2017. On the bright side, that date is rapidly approaching, and we’re now less than a year away from the first wave of people who will receive non-profit loan forgiveness, as long as President Donald Trump’s Student Loan Forgiveness Program doesn’t wipe out the PSLF Program (he has made statements along those lines recently…).

Which Repayment Plans Are Eligible for Loan Forgiveness?

As of 2017, all of the available Federal student loan repayment plans remain eligible to participate in this program.

Way back in April of 2014, the Government threatened to make sweeping reforms to the PSLF program, including making only income-based plan payments eligible to count toward the 120 payment limit, but there has been zero interest in putting that plan into place.

The only threat I see to the viability of non-profit student loan forgiveness via the PSLF program is President Donald Trump, who has been talking about reforming the entire Federal Student Loan Forgiveness system, and reducing all the complexities of different programs into a single, unified forgiveness option, offered to everyone, regardless of employment, income, loan size, etc., after they’ve made 15 years worth of payments.

Obviously, for those who qualify for PSLF, that would be a much worse deal, since it adds 5 years of payments onto the existing benefit structure. However, like any time that the Government changes the rules of the game while it’s being played, I do anticipate that any changes President Trump initiates would apply only to future borrowers, and that anyone who had already taken out their Federal student loans would remain eligible for the older, better version of forgiveness offered by PSLF.

What Should You Do?

My recommendation to anyone who owes Federal student loan debt is to get enrolled in one of the income-based student loan repayment plans as soon as possible, because they’re typically the best way to pay back your debt, as long as your interest accumulation is covered by a subsidized loan, or you’re willing to make payments to cover interest accumulation so that it isn’t capitalized at a later date, regardless of your potential eligibility for PSLF benefits.

In my opinion, you should try to get one one of the following income-based repayment plans as soon as possible:

The second reason to enroll in one of the above plans is that if that talk about removing non-income based plans from eligibility for PSLF ever occurs, you won’t have to worry about losing eligibility for loan forgiveness.

Is There a Limit to Loan Forgiveness?

Under the current laws, the nonprofit student loan forgiveness program has no cap, which means that your loans will be forgiven in their entirety no matter how much you owe.

Years ago, there was talk of instituting a limit to non profit loan forgiveness, setting the cap at the arbitrary $57,000 in total relief, but thus far nothing has actually been done to make that into law and I haven’t heard anyone with any power float anything along those lines ever since.

I don’t think there is any chance that this benefit will be reduced, and for now, there’s no limit to the amount of money you can get forgiven.

What Else Could Change?

There’s very little chance of the $57,000 cap being implemented, and along similar lines, the other potential changes the Federal Government discussed a few years back also seem dead in the water. However, because they were discussed publicly, and since they’d be serious changes to the program, I’m leaving this content on this page to make sure that everyone interested in the program is aware of the potential for future changes.

Hopefully, I’m right and we’ll never see any of this stuff put into place. I highly doubt it’ll occur, but again, just to be completely honest and transparent, I’m leaving this content here so that you are fully aware of the potential issues that could arise with the non-profit loan forgiveness program.

Potential changes that have been discussed include:

  • High debt borrowers (those with over $57,000 in student loans) will have to make 300 payments to qualify for loan forgiveness
  • Only payments made under the income based repayment plans will be counted toward the required monthly payments threshold
  • Married borrowers determining their income for the purposes of calculating monthly student loan payments will no longer be able to separate out their spouse’s income

What will happen if these changes are enacted?

Those borrowers with excessive, unbearable levels of Federal student loan debt are going to have a significantly tougher time getting out from under it.

How Do I Actually Apply For Loan Forgiveness?

This part includes a couple of unknowns, because the Federal Government has stated that once you’ve satisfied the payments threshold, you should apply for forgiveness using the official application form, but it’s a form that does not yet exist.

It’s been promised that this form will be created well in advance of October 1st, 2017 (the first day that anyone can qualify for PSLF forgiveness since only payments from October 1st, 2007 count), but as of now it still hasn’t been issued. I will keep checking for it, and post a link to it here as soon as the form becomes public.

Knowing that the Government still has plenty of time to put one together before the deadline in 2017, I don’t anticipate seeing this thing actually appear until later this year.

Will I Owe Taxes on the Forgiven Debt?

Unlike most other forms of student loan forgiveness, the Non-Profit Forgiveness benefits offered under PSLF are NOT taxable, and will NOT require you to claim the amount of debt you have forgiven as “taxable income” on your IRS returns, and that’s a big deal.

Why? Because the forgiveness benefits that do lead to tax liabilities can end up costing people thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.

How? If you receive forgiveness of a $100,000 loan under a different forgiveness benefit plan, the IRS forces you to add that $100,000 of forgiveness to your tax return as income!

Which means that you’d be forced to pay taxes on that $100,000 which got forgiven, at the same rate you pay for regular income (for most Americans, that’s 25% – 35%), meaning you’d owe $25,000 – $35,000!

And unlike your monthly student loan payments, which are stretched out over time so that you only have to pay a small amount of money each month, IRS tax bills are due all at once, meaning you’d have to come up with that money in a single go.

That’s no easy task, and it’s why so many people end up in big trouble with the IRS.

If you’re struggling with tax-related problems, I’ve got good news – my new site Forget Tax Debt was created specifically for you!

Like Forget Student Loan Debt, this new site offers information about dealing with IRS debt, covering topics like Getting Free Help Filing and Paying Back Taxes, applying for IRS Tax Debt Forgiveness Programs, Settling with the IRS, signing up for the IRS Fresh Start Program, and avoiding IRS Phone Scams.

Forget Tax Debt is new, but I’m building it out to be the best site on the web for tax-related problems, and like this site, I’m offering all my advice, information and resources entirely for free, so if you’re struggling with any sort of IRS issue, please be sure to visit Forget Tax Debt here.

What Do You Think?

Is this program fair? Is it valuable?

What do you think about the changes that were proposed? Would they increase the long-term viability of the program, or simply piss everyone off who was hoping to qualify for PSLF in the first place?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

I Need Your Help!

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I rely on your help to keep the servers running, so anything that you can do to spread awareness of this website will go a long way toward ensuring that I can continue to make regular updates.

Thank you for visiting, and please come back soon!

Disclaimer: This post is NOT sponsored content as I don't accept any form of sponsored posts, advertorials, native advertising, influencer marketing or incentivized, paid or promoted content. However, this post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service linked to from this post, I will receive some form of compensation.


Tim's experience struggling with crushing student loan debt led him to create the website Forget Student Loan Debt, where he offers advice on paying off student loans as quickly, and cheaply, as possible. His new website Forget Tax Debt, offers similar advice to people with back tax problems.

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  1. Victoria says:

    If I was already working at a nonprofit while I was recieving the loans and then continued to work there after graduation in a different position, does that factor into my ten years?

    • Hi Victoria,

      Only payments made after your loans were taken out, and within an approved Federal Student Loan Repayment Plan (one of the Income-Based plans) will count toward your 10 years needed to receive forgiveness. Your time spent working at the Nonprofit BEFORE receiving the loans will definitely not count.

      Make sure you’re making payments under one of the Income-Based Plans too. That’s the biggest thing that catches people off guard. If you’re using one of the other NON-Income Based Repayment Plans, then your payments aren’t counting.

  2. Eastman Johnson says:

    Hey Tim, I am curious if there are any possibilities to work for a non-profit abroad? What are the stipulations? Are the only non-profits that are eligible ones that are registered in the U.S. as a 501 (c)(3)?

    • Hi Eastman,

      Good question, but only 501(c)(3) nonprofits registered in the U.S. will qualify for this program. It may be possible to work internationally for a portion of the organization, as long as it’s registered here in the U.S., and satisfies all the other eligibility conditions, but I’m not entirely sure. Try contacting the Student Loan Ombudsman Group and ask them. (This is a free call, as it’s a group of pro bono lawyers that answer legal questions about student loans and student loan debt). Please come back and let me know what you find out, as I’d like to know in case anyone asks this again in the future!

  3. Ryan Marcey says:

    Is there an application yet?

  4. Hey Tim,

    So I have been making regular payments (standard) on my loans (2 kinds of federal) for about 40 payments. I have worked for a non-profit this whole time and just learned about this 120 payment forgiveness. If I switch now to an income driven plan and sign up for the public service loan forgiveness (which im pretty sure I qualify for). would that 120 payments reset or would my previous payments count towards it?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Justine,

      Sorry to break bad news to you, but the payments you make ONLY COUNT if you’re on an Income-Based Repayment plan at the time they’re made. You will not be credited for your previous 40 payments.

      • Ugh, just recently became aware of the non-profit student loan forgiveness program and have been reading this helpful article and the thread of comments. I’ve been working for a non-profit for the past 12 years and auto-paying my loan servicer (Sallie Mae/Navient) on 30 year repayment plan (initially a 2 year interest-only with set a set-payment amount for remaining 28 years). If an income-based repayment plan was available at the time I was not aware of it and am only seeing this type of plan as an option after reading this article. My sense from your article and responses to the comments is that I would need to enroll now in an income-based repayment plan and make another 10 years of payments before I’m eligible — a $30,000 blunder!

        • Hi Steve,

          Yes, you’ve got to be enrolled in an income-based repayment plan to get any credit for payments made toward forgiveness. Get switched asap so your payments will start counting!

  5. Do you know if VSAC loans are applicable? Vermont Student Assistance Corporation.

  6. Hello Tim,
    I’ve worked for a non profit for 8 almost 9 years (this year) and I recently started paying on my students loans. If I decided to switch over to “for profit” after my 10th year, will I still qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (loans cancelled after 120 payments/10 years)?

    • Hi Kerline,

      It’s not just 10 years of service that you need, it’s 10 years worth of PAYMENTS that you have to make. So, you have to make 120 monthly payments in-full, and on-time, WHILE working at the Non-Profit that qualifies under the eligibility conditions of the program. Sounds like you need to stay there a while longer…

  7. Hi Tim:

    So, if I have a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan I would more than likely NOT qualify for the PSLF Program? My husband and I consolidated our loans soon after we got married, we were only one or two years into our careers and it helped to lower the payment. We were never told and had no idea how much this would hurt us as it now seems that all these years later – we have been paying on the loan for 20+ years – we don’t qualify for any kind of loan forgiveness program. To make it sting even more…we are both public service professionals and have been our entire careers. He is an educator in the public school sector and I am a social worker who has always worked for non-profit agencies. We would always joke that we would still be paying on our student loans when it was time to send our children to college and NO JOKE,….we have a daughter who we will need to send off to college in just 2 short years!

  8. Hi- quick question- I worked at a non profit hospital since 2007. I understand the student forgiveness loan will not go into effect until 10/2017. I have been paying on my student loans (besides when I have been in school). Can my loans be forgiven or will it have to be after 10/2017 that those 120 payments need to be made in order to qualify?

    • Hi Dom,

      Your loans won’t be forgiven until 10/2017, if you have all 120 payments in full and on time. It’s about how many payments you made, not how long you’ve been paying.

  9. Hello, I work for a Non Profit Hospital and would like information about student loan forgiveness.

  10. So, can the new administration just say, We’re not doing this anymore and people who have been in these programs are just out of luck?

    • Kind of… President Trump can’t just overwrite any law he wants. He can cancel any and all programs that Obama initiated through Executive Orders, but Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Obama Student Loan Forgiveness, the PAYE and REPAYE Repayment Plans, etc., weren’t created based on Executive Orders, therefore, President Trump’s administration would need to get Congress’s help overturning these benefits packages.

      I still think that anyone with outstanding loans would be grandfathered through the process, and allowed to continue with their original plan (getting the benefits packages promised when they initially took out their loans), but anything is possible…

      Thing is, I have a feeling that President Trump’s Student Loan Forgiveness Program will be the biggest, best, most useful benefits package ever offered for student loan debt holders. I think it’ll only apply to Federally-funded loans, but I’m excited to see what he comes up with.

  11. Hi Tim, thanks for the helpful replies and post. Here’s my question: how much more than I currently make as a Federal employee should I make at a non-public service organization to justify putting a pause on my accrual of 120 qualifying payments for PSLF?

    My situation: already have 4 years of qualifying payments as Federal employee. Size of debt right now: roughly $170K. Currently on income-based repayment plan, and pay about $500/month. For example, would it be better to stay a Fed and make $83,000 (in order to continue making PSLF payments) or take a new job that makes $110,000? I could stay on the income-based repayment plan, but would have a pause on my 120 payments for however long I am out of the gov’t or not at a non-profit.

    In other words, if I ultimately intend to rely on the PSLF, should I stay and try to make all 120 payments in a big chunk? Or is there an income level that would be high enough to justify a 3-5 year gap before returning to a qualifying organization?

    Many thanks

    • Hi P,

      Hard to give you an answer to that… you should consult with someone like a CPA or a Financial Planner if you’re trying to figure out the numbers side of things.

      There’s definitely an income level that would be high enough where you can just ignore PSLF altogether, but I’m not the best person to ask for financial advice, so I don’t want to steer you the wrong direction.

  12. Tim,
    Thanks for helping so many people out in sticky student loan situations. I soon will find myself completing a graduate Physician Assistant program in 10/2017 and am quite overwhelmed thinking about which option will be best for me in regards to repayment. I came into grad school with 11K in debt (undergrad) and will be racking up about 80K for the PA program and about 55K for living expenses for the past two years since I haven’t been able to work while in the program (so about 140-145K total…yikes). I’m thinking my standard repayment will be about 1600 per month x 10 years. I’m hoping to make about 90-100K starting salary. I have a few concerns. My first concern is that all my government student loans (10) are at different interest rates (3.8 – 6.8% I believe). When I begin to make payments, should I go about a certain way of paying them off such as paying the 6.8% loans first? I also wanted to ask about the PSLF program. If you make all 120 payments and fulfill all requirements while working for a non profit hospital per say, does the IRS still make you pay taxes on the forgiven amount at the end of the 120 payments. I was under the impression that if you worked for a non profit or perhaps a prison that the money forgiven would not be taxed by the IRS. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I’m not opposed to paying the standard 120 payments (at 1600 per month) and being done with the loan, but a lot of hospitals are termed, “Non Profit” where I will likely be practicing in Virginia, so I was thinking if I could work for a non profit hospital and have a chunk of that loan forgiven then why not, however, I don’t know if it’s worth it if I will have to get on another payment plan with the IRS once a portion is forgiven after the 10 years of repayment. Thanks again, Justin

    PS I am married, wife is a Dental Hygienist and makes decent money and is DEBT FREE lol! She will likely be making 30-40K per year working 3-4 days per week. Just trying to figure out the best way for us to tackle on this debt with our yearly income of 120 – 140K.

    • Hi Justin,

      Anyone planning to completely pay off their loans should definitely pay back the higher interest student loans first, as that’s the thing that makes the debt so expensive (compound interest).

      The thing is… in your situation, if you’re going to get forgiveness after 10 years worth of payments, then it doesn’t really matter how much of the loan you actually pay back by that point, so you’ll just want to make the minimum payment possible each month as additional interest costs which add to your total outsanding debt won’t actually impact you. (As long as those aren’t rolled into your monthly payments each year, increasing the payment amount whenever that’s done…).

      At the end of the PSLF situation you described, you shouldn’t have any costs to the IRS. The PSLF program lets you wipe out your debt without incurring tax penalties, so you’ll be all set.

      Just make sure that you do qualify for PSLF, and do anything you can to ensure that you’re going to get the benefit. The best way to tackle your debt is definitely going after PSLF, but you should also look into the many available Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Programs, as some of them also apply not just to Nurses, but to PAs as well.

      I think you’re on the right path, just keep going, and good luck!

  13. I work as an independent contractor for a non-profit 5013c. I do meet the requirements of being a full-time contractor and am making payments on my loan. I meet all of the requirements, but do not know if being an independent contractor vs employee makes a difference. I get paid through payroll, but my income is reported on a 1099 vs a W-2. Do I qualify for the PSLF? If so, do I need to do anything other than wait for the government to release forms to apply?

    • Hi VC,

      Contact whoever services your loans to ask them if you qualify. At the end of the day, the people you send your payments to kind of have final say. If they say no, then you can start battling it out, but first ask them, and if they say yes, you’re all set. You won’t need to do anything to apply, but you will have to be enrolled on one of the eligible Repayment Plans (any of the Income-Based Plans will work). Again, ask your Loan Servicer what you need to do, as each servicer has a different process.

  14. I just want to confirm that it’s absolutely true that consolidating will remove your chance for loan forgiveness. We consolidated my William D Ford loans into what we thought was a federal consolidation program in 2006. We were told on the phone that my loan would be kept separated out, but it was not. After 10 years as an RN at a non-profit hospital and 120 on time payments, I am eligible–except the Federal Student Aid program sent a letter saying they have ‘no record of any eligible federal loans’ when I applied. I called to discuss this with them because I have papers from the loan servicer saying they are FFELP loans and the original papers stating which portion was the direct William D Ford, but this is not good enough and not considered direct consolidation. The forgiveness denial letter actually recommends that if you have federal loans to consider “direct” consolidation of your other federal loans, but their website agrees with Tim that you might nix your eligibility. Apparently, the loan agency was allowed to offer a federally backed consolidated loan and it is technically a private loan. Thankfully, I did know in 2006, to hold out my Perkins loans from consolidation and those were forgiven in 2009., but in 2006 we didn’t know about the PSLF that started in 2007. If I had not consolidated I would have been paying 6.1% interest instead of 5.25%, but the loan would be gone. I’m looking at 14 more years of payments instead. Any advice on this would be appreciated.

    • Hi Michelle,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. I try as hard as I can to prevent people from consolidating their loans, but it’s difficult to get everyone on board with the process.

      Have you looked into consulting with an attorney? It may be possible to sue the company for misrepresenting their product/service, especially since it sounds like they literally lied to you. If you have documentation of that, then it should be easy to get it resolved (you won’t get forgiveness, but can sue the company to make them pay off the loan for you since it’s their fault your forgiveness benefits aren’t being delivered).

      I would also consider contacting the Student Loan Ombudsman Group to see what they think. They may be able to point you in the right direction, or even handle the legal battle for you, for free. This is a free group of Government-backed attorneys that deal with complicated student loan matters, so there’s really no risk in talking to them. They are NOT a for-profit entity, company, etc.

      • Tim, will you clarify Michelle’s comment and your response. She said:
        I just want to confirm that it’s absolutely true that consolidating will remove your chance for loan forgiveness.

        I am asking because in the article you said:
        What Loans Are Eligible for Non Profit Loan Forgiveness?
        The only loans that qualify for non-profit forgiveness are those issued under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. This means that other types of loans, like FEEL Loans, Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Grad Plus Loans and any other type of Federally-funded student loan do not qualify for PSLF. However, if you have one or more of those loans, you might be able to consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan, which would then be eligible for PSLF.

        So, is consolidation okay or no? Help me to understand better? Thanks for your help and article!

        • Hi VC,

          Oh, that’s right… so IF you can consolidate your loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, then that loan will be eligible for PSLF. If you do some other sort of consolidation loan… no dice.

          Now – even with that said, I would still call your Loan Servicer and ask them for THEIR INTERPRETATION of the rules. Why? Because when it comes time actually GET your loan forgiveness, you’re going to have to work through the loan servicer to make it happen. If you line your ducks up now, get their response in writing saying that you’re eligible and working toward your 120 payment threshold, then it should be easier to finalize everything when it’s time to cash out.

  15. Hi Tim –
    Thank you for providing this service! Wondering if you could answer two questions:
    1) I’m unsure if the type of loan I has qualifies as a “Direct Loan”. I consolidated my loans many years ago. Under my student loan servicer online account, it is considered a U.S. Dept of Education Consolidation Loan (two Direct Consolidation loans together) and I have a level payment plan. Do you know if this qualifies?

    2) Also, I was out on maternity leave earlier this year, and my loans were put on hold (I believe it was forebearance?) for 6 months. Would this effect my application?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Dana,

      You can get both of your questions answered by contacting whoever is servicing your loan (the people you send monthly payments to). Unfortunately, consolidation typically destroys your eligibility for forgiveness benefits, but you may get lucky.

      The forbearance shouldn’t impact your application. Your years of service don’t need to be continuous, but the payments you did not make while your loans were in forebearance likely won’t count toward the 120 total (so you’ll need to wait 10 years and 6 months before you qualify).

  16. So if all of our loans have been consolidated with a loan consolidation company we no longer qualify?

  17. Hi Tim,
    I am currently working a part-time job for 30 hours a week. If I pick up an additional job as per diem or prn, would I meet the requirements of working 2 part-time jobs since I am definitely averaging 30 hours?

    • Hi Kristyn,

      I think that would qualify you for the benefit, but before making this decision, I’d contact whoever services your loan to get their response. Also, if they say that it would work, make sure to get a copy of their answer IN WRITING. You’ll need that if someone tries to change the story later on…

  18. Hi Tim 🙂 I have worked for the same non-profit health system for 12 years now. I do work full time. In this time, I have made 12 payments toward my student loan… Forbearance was easier that keeping up with payments.. I have been accepted in to the public loan forgiveness program and should have details soon. Will any part of the 12 years I have already been employed with this non-profit organization count at all towards the 10 years? as well as the 12 payments? Also, my payments when they resume will be based upon my income as well as my husbands. My spouse is my second marriage and his name is not on my original loan. My ex- husbands is. My current husband also has a pre-nup. We do not share income at all. Whats mine is mine and vice versa. IS there a way that my payments could be based on my income alone? His income drives my payments up.. Thank you for whatever assistance you can offer me.

    • Hi April,

      The only time that will count is whenever you made payments that were in-full and on-time. It sounds like you did 12 of those? If so, those 12 payments will count toward the 120 payment threshold.

      It’s no longer possible to base payments on your income alone. In the old days, you could file taxes separately, and that would qualify you to base payments on your personal income (excluding your spouse’s), but the Government got wise to this loophole and closed it.

  19. Michelle Flynn says:

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for the great article! I have worked for a non-profit for 8 years and have been making my loan payments for 7 years. I just read that the type of consolidated federal loan that I have (FFEL) is not eligible for forgiveness. Do I have ANY recourse or am I really stuck with 1) trying to get the FFEL turned into a Direct loan and then 2) paying for another 10 years while working for a non-profit in order to have this debt forgiven? Thanks!

    • Hi Michelle,

      Unfortunately, the answer is yes, FFEL loans don’t qualify for basically any forgiveness benefits. If you can turn it into a Direct Loan, that’ll be your best option.

  20. Hi Tim,
    I have worked full time for a non-profit for three years and am enrolled in an income-based repayment plan and plan on applying for student loan forgiveness after the 10 years. I’ve been offered a second part-time position at a public university as an adjunct professor and was offered some freelance work from a for-profit company. I plan on still staying at my full-time nonprofit job. If I bring in additional income, how will that affect my loan payments and loan forgiveness eligibility? I would love the extra income, but I’m not sure if it’ll be worth it if my monthly loan payment also increases or if I am disqualified for receiving income for a for-profit company.

    • Hi Julia,

      Good question! If you start making more money with these other jobs, and you’re reporting that income on your IRS returns, then you’re monthly student loan payments will go up next year. IBR is determined annually, and the IRS is who calculates what you’ve been making, and what your payment should be.

      Be careful taking on additional work…

  21. I’ve been out of school for 3 years now- didn’t graduate as I started a business with the woman that I love(and don’t want to marry so out bank accounts/taxes/etc will not be intertwined). We purchased a home last year and after many hoops I put my ICBR in forbearance for a year. That time expires in a month and I am fervently working to find employment in the public sector working with special needs populations.
    I am frustrated with myself for the choices I made late in life to go back to school and ‘better’ myself after a divorce. I had grand ideas and thought that I needed to get a college degree for mine and my sons sake. He’s now 13 and talking about college and I tell him and my 2 stepsons in no uncertain terms that they do not need a degree to achieve success and find happiness in life, financially or professionally.
    My stress levels are very high as in the back of my mind everyday is the ledger of my bank account. Surviving already in an economy where my business fluctuates on a daily and weekly basis as a self employed business person has taken its toll. Adding to my self employment taxes I am already scrimping for each month I am now facing the specter of the ICBR returning.
    I am grateful for your research as it reinvigorates me to find or begin a nonprofit that will meet my needs and allow me to be debt free by the time I’m 52.

  22. Tim McFadden says:

    Hi Tim,
    I currently work for a startup company that just applied for nonprofit status. I will be working for them during the application process while making my student loan payments. Can I apply for the loan forgiveness program now, or do I have to wait for the application process to be completed?

    • Hi Tim,

      So, the program is kind of confusing, but you don’t actually apply to anything until you’re FULLY satisfied the eligibility conditions. Meaning… all you need to do right now is get on a qualifying Federal Student Loan Repayment Plan (one of the Income-Based Repayment Plans), keep making your monthly payments, and wait until you’ve hit the 120 threshold.

      If you want to verify that everything is set up properly and that your payments are qualifying for the benefit, contact whoever services your loan and ask them, as they’re the ones with all the power in this situation. At the end of the day, THEY have to agree that you’ve satisfied the conditions of the program, and allow you to utilize your forgiveness benefit.

  23. My wife and I consolidated our loans together in 1997. Everywhere I’ve look for this kind of re-payment, our loans are not eligible because of that. I have worked for non-profits full time for the last 12 or so years. My wife has taught only part time at a college. Is there any way we could qualify?


    • Hi Appleby,

      Unfortunately, that consolidation was a huge mistake. Consolidated loans basically lose eligibility for everything. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you are probably out of luck for any of the major forgiveness benefits at this point.

      If your loans are Federal though, you could still qualify for total forgiveness after maybe 20 years worth of payments (240 full, on-time, payments). The problem is… I don’t think you could qualify for PSLF even if you BOTH satisfied the conditions, because the consolidation loan is in a different sort of arena.

      I would talk to whoever services your loan though, and see what they have to say. Another thing you could try is calling the Student Loan Relief Helpline, and asking their experts what they think. You can reach them at 1-888-694-8235

  24. Thank you for this article!

    I, along with 3 colleagues, just started a non-profit organization where we are all co-directors. I’ve been on the IBR for 2 years as well. As a director of a non-profit, would I be eligible for this? Thanks!

    • Hi Louis,

      As long as you work at least 30 (or 40? Check the requirements in the Eligibility section) hours per week at that Non-Profit, you should be good to go. All the rules for qualifying at posted below in this article, so check them out and you can find out for sure.

      Or – try calling the Student Loan Relief Helpline. These guys know at least as much as I do about availability of Federal benefits programs, so you may want to talk to them and see if they can sort it out for you. You can reach them by calling 1-888-694-8235.

      Good luck!

  25. Great Article, I start a new non-profit company Monday. I am only one year into paying my loans back, and when I first started paying, I was late on one or two payments. Does that make me unqualified for the program? Or will my 120 payments start fresh next month, as long as I keep my payments on time once I start this new non-profit job? (I worked for a news station all of last year, so I know those payments, some late, wouldn’t have qualified anyway, Right?)

    • Hi Lawrence,

      You should be fine. Make sure to keep your payments on time, make sure that each payment is for the “full” amount due, and make sure that you do not ever allow your loans to fall into default status. If your loans default, you’ll lose eligibility.

  26. Hi Tim, I found this article extremely helpful, so thank you!

    I have a few clarifying questions:

    1.) It sounds like if I worked at virtually ANY public university for 30 or more hours per week I would qualify for the PSLF – it wouldn’t matter if I was a tenured professor, or on custodial staff. Is this true?

    2.) Similarly, if I worked at a non-profit, it doesn’t matter what my position is, as long as I can show that I am an employee at 30+ hours per week (average)?

    3.) My wife is a clinical research co-ordinator at University of California, San Francisco. She has been making monthly payments of “$0” because, until this year, she was in and out of school and part-time jobs making very little money. Do monthly payments under the Pay as You Earn or Income Contingent plan count towards the 120 required for PSLF if they are “$0” per month? All our paperwork is up to date and that’s what her minimum required monthly payment is..

    Thank you!

    • Hi John,

      1. Yes

      2. Yes

      3. Yes! Even if your payments are $0 (because of Income-Based Repayment Plans), they will still count toward her 10 years required for forgiveness (under PSLF).

      You guys are in a great situation!

  27. I work for a non-profit hospital and I have heard through other coworkers that this hospital does not count toward the loan forgiveness program because its located in “a desirable place to live”. Is there is number we can call to see if our hospital qualifies? Thank you!

    • Hi Ivonne,

      There’s no phone number, but there’s a searchable online database, which you can find here. This lets you search for Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), meaning a geographic area that has been declared lacking in resources. If your facility is one an HPSA, you should qualify.

      Next step… contact whoever services your loan, and ask them. If they say no, get a second opinion with a local attorney.

  28. Do you happen to know whether 501c6 companies qualify for non-profit. There are educational components to the company but we also have a political action committee that lobbies Congress in Washington, D.C. From what I’ve seen that makes us ineligible.

    • Hi Tom,

      I’m sorry, but I’m not sure. Try contacting your loan servicer to ask them for clarification of the details. They are legally obligated to tell you the truth about access to Federal forgiveness benefits.

  29. I think the potential changes for the loan forgiveness program are ridiculous. As it currently stands it typically would take a graduate school student about 25 years to pay off their debt if they attended (like myself a private university). This proposed change wouldn’t really be a loan forgiveness at all if they require 300 or 25 years of payments to be made. I am hoping to transition to a non-profit place to work and take a pay cut to benefit from the stress of loans that I currently have. What help will that be if I’m responsible for paying my ridiculously high loans in their entirety if this change is to occur? What else can I do??

    • Hi Gaity,

      It’s definitely a good idea to try and get enrolled in the Non-Profit Loan Forgiveness Program (technically the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program). This is one of the best student loan forgiveness options currently available (if not THE best), so if you think you can get qualified for it, I’d definitely recommend pursuing this thing.

      Unfortunately, there really isn’t a whole lot else that you can do, but the good news is that this change is HIGHLY UNLIKELY to go into effect. No one has brought up the proposed changes since they were originally introduced, as it’s basically political suicide at this point to do so, so I wouldn’t worry about these changes going live any time soon (or any time at all, to be honest).

  30. I worked as a Catholic School teacher for 8 years and the schools have nonprofit status, from 2007-2015. I made payments on my student loan over 44k during this time. The payments made during these years will count toward the 120 payments? I did a financial hardship forbearance almost every year for a few months.

    I’m back in school now and non working for a nonprofit. But if I count up payments made and then go back to working for a nonprofit until I get to 120 payments, I can potentially be done with the loan?

    Thanks! P.S. I’ve worked in nonprofits since 1998. Pay is low, but rewards are great!

    • Hi Kelly,

      Yes, if the school was a nonprofit and you were employed full time by them (and satisfied all the eligibility conditions listed in this post), then your payments will count toward the required 120 payments.

      And yes, you can start and stop several times, change employers, and do other stuff in between without losing the previous eligible payments. It doesn’t really matter how you get there… as long as you make 120 eligible payments, you’ll earn loan forgiveness.

  31. Here is my question: I work for a 501© 3 as a physical therapist. I was working 40+ hours a week. Because it’s salaried and I was spending way more 40 hours a week and got pregnant, I switched to 30 hours a week which is really 40+ for me at this job wth all the unpaid phone calls and justification letters and what not, but my job considers 30 hours part time. At this rate I am not eligble now right? It’s done every year and not each month you work? Also if you are considered “call-in” or “per-diem” for a 501c 3 and work more than 30 hours, does that qualify? Is my best option to do an hour or two for another 501c3 because the program allows for 30 hours combined from two jobs? It Seems really unfair that because my job considers 30 hours part-time, that makes me ineligible when I could just do 15 hours for one place and 15 for another.

    Anyone saying people should think before they sign on the dotted line should go pee up a tree because you have no idea what you are talking about. We are lied to and hypnotized from age 5 that you need to go to college to be someone in this world and it’s drilled and drilled into our heads and highschool makes you do all these assignments for college and your 17 or 18 years old signing for a loan that has unrealistic, crazy high interest and we do it because we don’t feel we have a choice- some people are kicked out of their homes and ridiculed if they don’t go to college. Then a few years into it, even if you realize it’s a huge mistake, you have no choice but to finish because the moment you stop college, you have to start paying and how can you even pay for something that you didnt finish? We are lied to about what job salaries there will be and how it all works.

    If you want to get angry at someone, get angry at the propaganda that is everywhere telling every child they need to get good grades and go to college, otherwise they will be a loser for the rest of their life. If you want to get mad at someone, get mad at the banks and politicians that have made student loan debt THE ONLY KIND OF DEBT YOU CAN’T claim bankruptcy on and you have no consumer protections against like you do for other debt!

    • Hi Jane,

      Yes – you will not qualify for the Non-Profit Student Loan Forgiveness Program unless you fully satisfy the eligibility conditions outlined in this article. You’re going to need to find a way to increase your hours so that you end up averaging at least 30 hours per week for the entire year.

  32. Hi Tim,

    I’m a librarian and am about to get my hours cut from full time to 30 hours per week. If I’m reading the information in the PSLF correctly, you have to work an average of 30 hours per week OR what your employer considers full time. Why is it that I could have two jobs averaging out to 30 hours per week and qualify, but one job at 30 hours per week where full time is considered 37.5 would not qualify? Is there any way around this? Could I possibly get a job for a few days a month at a non-profit so I could technically qualify between my two jobs?


    • Hi Amanda,

      There’s no way around this. Requirements are requirements. It’s based on politicians, special interests groups, and the attorneys who write the laws. If you could get some work from another non-profit, then yes, you should be able to qualify between the two jobs.

  33. Where can I apply to see if I’m elgible? I’m really hoping this program works for me!

  34. keri redding says:

    I have been paying on student loans from nursing school since 1999, so I cannot get those loans forgiven even if I have made 120 payments? I took a few breaks D/T being back in school. I have about $10,000 alo from LPN to RN school which I just’ finished in May of this year. So those won’t be forgiven until I make 120 payments on those? I also am about $35,00 in debt from a 4yr healthcare management degree. Would those be able to be forgiven? I work in a non-profit hospital asa RN nurse.

    • Hi Keri,

      Yes, you need to make 120 payments under one of the income-based repayment plans before you will receive forgiveness, and forgiveness is only available on Federal student loan debt… not private loans.

  35. I have a quick question. I applied three years ago and was accepted to be part of the program. I had asked at the time, if the previous payments I had made while working for my current non-profit organization would be counted towards the overall payment balance. They said because I was on the wrong payment plan that the previous payments would not count. In your article, however, it looks as though the rules may have changed regarding the repayment plan specifications. Is there any way for me to factor in the 4+ previous years of payments I made?

    • Hi Stefani,

      Unfortunately, whoever services your loan really holds a lot of power here. Even if they’re wrong about their interpretation of the rules (and I think they are, because it shouldn’t matter what payment plan you were on), you’ve got to prove that to them, often in court.

      If you have a lawyer that you trust, I would suggest having them review your case and providing you with guidance on how best to proceed here. If you do not, and you cannot afford a good lawyer, then I would suggest contacting the Student Loan Ombudsman Group for assistance.

      This group provides free legal counsel for people struggling with Federal student loan debt, and I think they’d be able to point you the right direction.

      You can find their contact information here.

  36. So a few months ago, I filled out the paperwork and sent in the information to see if I qualify for forgiveness since I work for a quasi-city agency–the local Convention & Visitors Bureau, but we aren’t a traditional non-profit. We are a not-for-profit agency.

    My application was denied because I needed to reconsolidate my loans into the Direct Consolidation Loan. However, I’m hesitant to do that because if they end not approving my forgiveness I don’t want to be stuck paying more per month than what I currently do.

    All I want to know is if the company I currently work for is eligible for Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness because I feel like it’s a gray area that I can’t ever get an answer for. I worked at a traditional non-profit for almost 6 years before moving into my current job, so if my current job is eligible for the forgiveness, I will almost be at the required 10 year period. If it ends up my employer is eligible, then I will happily consolidate my loans for the application process.

    Any help or insight you can give would be greatly appreciated. I have been trying to find an answer to this quandary for over a year. I’ve been on multiple websites, I’ve called different companies, and no one can seem to give me a straight answer.

    Thanks you!!!

    • Hi Lynnelle,

      Unfortunately, it is a gray area when it comes to determining which companies actually satisfy the requirements of the PSLF program. Have you contacted whoever services your loan, because they are the people who will end up determining whether or not your employment actually counts.

      It’s possible that you’d be able to threaten them with legal action if they turned down your application (and you believed that they turned it down for an illegitimate reason), but you will definitely need to get them to approve your application, or SUE them to get your application approved.

      If I were you, I’d speak to them about this and ask them if your employment qualifies. If they can’t or won’t give you a clear answer, then I would consult with an attorney with experience in this space (or perhaps even in general contract law) to find out for sure.

      I wish I could give you a simple “Yes” or “No”, but this is a complicated process with a lot of potential caveats.

  37. Hi Tim,

    As a fairly recent grad (May 2014) who has only worked at a nonprofit since graduating and beginning repayment, this information is extremely helpful. Thank you for your research and putting in the time to help us all understand the process of student loans!

    A question that I didn’t see on the comments thus far–I am thinking of moving abroad for a year or two, which would mean I no longer technically work at a nonprofit. Does my time of working at a nonprofit need to be consecutive? Or would my two years at a nonprofit in the U.S., then around two years off while abroad, and then 8 years back at a nonprofit in the U.S. count towards the 10 years needed to enter the PSLF program?

    Thanks a ton!

    • Hi Ashley,

      For PSLF, no, you don’t need your nonprofit time to be consecutive. You should feel free to take off, enjoy your time abroad, and then return to finish up your eligible public service experience.

      BTW, I myself took some time off to travel abroad about a year and a half after graduation, and I’d say it was one of the best decisions of my entire life!

      Have a great time wherever you’re going!

      • Hi Tim,
        I am freaking out new grad. Trying to figure out this loan repayment stuff is so hard and your website is so helpful!
        What happens if you are eligible for the PSLF and then lets say get pregnant and want to take extra time off? what happens during the time off? how much do you have to pay? and if you pay, its not going into the PSLF because you don’t qualify anymore (since you are not full time), so then have you just added 2 years to your 10 year commitment?

        • Hi Laura,

          Thanks for the positive comments!

          While you aren’t working, your payments will still have to be made, but they will not qualify for PSLF since you’re not fulfilling the qualifying employment role. However, you will still be enrolled in one of the Income-Based Repayment Plans, which means your payments could be quite low (or perhaps even $0 if you have literally no income).

          Here’s the trick though – each year your income is reevaluated and payments are set based on the previous years’s IRS tax filings. You don’t get to change your payments every time something changes with your income (like right after leaving a job, getting a new job, etc.)… so… you’ll need to be careful/strategic with your timing, or you could end up stopping work, but being stuck with a big payment anyway.

          And yes, those payments you make which don’t qualify for PSLF won’t count toward your 120 payment requirement, but as soon as you satisfy the eligibility conditions again, your payments will start counting again. If you take 2 years off, then it’s going to take 12 years to qualify for loan forgiveness.

          If you want to get a CERTAIN answer on any questions like these, make sure to contact whoever services your loan (the people you send monthly payments to). THEY are the ones who have final say on how all this stuff works.

          Good luck!

  38. Thanks for explaining this! I think I might qualify for this debt forgiveness as I worked for one non-profit from May 2006-Dec 2014. I’m back with another non-profit as of June. I’ve never been late on payments, always paid in full. I only have $2600 left on my loan, so I think I’ll only have a few hundred left by the time I’m fully eligible, since I have that gap of not working in non-profit from January-June of this year. Maybe eligible by April 2018? I’m thinking I should call my loaners and ask for income based payments to delay it out and try to take a little more advantage of it! I do think my loan is a Stafford loan though, so it looks like I will need to change that, right? Thanks!

    • Hi Carrie,

      Here’s the problem with your math – if you weren’t on one of the Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans during those time periods, then none of that time spent working at the Non-Profit will count. To find out if yours counts, contact whoever services your loan and ask them. Or, because they don’t always make it easy to sort out (and sometimes try to lie their way out of steering you in the direction toward loan forgiveness, which leads to them having to write off your debt), you may want to try calling one of the private companies who offer refinancing and consolidation services. Try calling the Student Loan Relief Helpline and asking them for advice. You can reach them at 1-888-694-8235 and they should be able to tell you whether or not your previous time spent at the Non-Profit qualifies for the benefit (officially, the benefit is called the “Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program“, so ask them if you qualify for that).

  39. Hi Tim,
    I recently left my non profit job after 11 years, so I have 8 years in toward this forgiveness plan. I recently accepted a position with the Reading Corp which pays a small monthly stipend in addition to an educational award. Since my income will be greatly reduced, would it be better to put my loans in forbearance, or Income based? There is so much information out there, this blog is the best one as far as information goes and I just hope you can help shed some light on this for me. I hope all this makes sense.

    Thank you!!

    • Hi Julie,

      I would be cautious about relying on forbearance because all that does is delay the inevitable. Your best bet is going to be getting onto an income-based repayment plan so that you can dramatically cut down on your monthly payments.

      Good luck, and thank you so much for the kind words!

  40. Tim,
    I am all new to this process, i have read everything thanks so much for putting this altogether! I might be getting ready to join the nonprofit world, do you need to stay at one non profit forever?

    also where would be the best place to start consolidating your loans and still qualify for everything?

    i feel like one wrong move and i would be looking at repaying it all myself and then some! I saw earlier someone is 67! and still paying on loans! thats insane!

    I like to have a plan and want to make the best choices i can for my future…
    thanks so much!

    • Hi GIGI,

      On Non-Profit Forgiveness… no, you don’t need to stay at one non-profit throughout the course of the forgiveness period. You can definitely move around from place to place.

      You’ll need to be extremely careful about consolidating, because getting a Direct Consolidation Loan can sometimes mean sacrificing forgiveness benefits that you would otherwise have been eligible for – the rules are tricky and they depend on the specific types of loans that you’ve got. For example, you wouldn’t want to consolidate a Perkins Loans, because then it wouldn’t be eligible for Perkins Loan Forgiveness after you’ve combined it with non-Perkins loans.

      It’s true – one wrong move and you will screw up your financial future forever. You need to be extremely careful about how you proceed here. My advice – don’t consolidate unless you absolutely have to and your loans are all of the same type. NEVER consolidate Federal loans with Private loans, start working at a non-profit and get onto the PSLF program as soon as possible.

      Good luck!

  41. Hi,
    Original debt 57,000
    balance now 47,000
    6.8% interest rate. We pay approx $650 per month and wife has been in non profit for 3 years. Should be paid off in about 7 years at current rate.

    If we do a consolidation loan so all loans qualify for the program and then extend the loan to 30 years payments would be around $250 per month. In this scenario can we reset the clock to 10 years, make the payment for those 10 years and have the rest forgiven or would we be on hook still for the full 30 years ?

    Thanks much –

    • Hi Steve,

      Be careful of consolidation, because it’s not a silver bullet. Sometimes, consolidation reduces your access to benefits, and could end up costing you far more than it saves.

      I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to do. Why not just pay out the $650 per month for 7 years and be done with it? If you drop payments to $250 per month, but get on the 30 year plan, you’re going to start racking up interest and end up owing more over the course of the loan.

      If you do qualify for PSLF after 10 years (make absolutely certain that you do, because this could be a huge mistake if you don’t actually satisfy the eligibility conditions), then don’t forget that you’ll still end up having to pay taxes on whatever amount of debt gets forgiven. You’ll need to factor that into determining which method ends up being the cheapest.

  42. Hello,

    two quick questiosn for you:

    1) I work for a non profit on a full time, but seasonal basis, 6 mo/yr. does this mean that I would be elilgible for forgiveness after 20 years instead? (20 years x 1/2 year = 10 years)

    2) If I stop my service at the non profit after a period of time shorter than 10 years, am I eligible for commensurate, partial forgiveness? Stated another way, if a person works full time at a non profit for 9 years then stops, can they get 90% of the loans forgiven or would they need to complete the 10th year to realize any of this benefit?


    • Hi Ij

      1) You will not be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program benefit (officially name of the Non-Profit Loan Forgiveness Program) if you are only working half the year. This benefit requires full-time, year-round employment in a qualifying position.

      2) There is no partial forgiveness at this point in time. It’s an all-or-nothing approach. There have been bills circulated in Congress to try and make forgiveness and other financial benefits partial, but there’s a slim chance of those passing any time soon.

  43. Can I start my own non-profit and make payments based on what I pay myself?

    • Hi Joe,

      That’s a great question. I would speak with an attorney before attempting to do anything like this though, as I’m sure there’s some sort of process you’ll need to go through before it could get approved.

      Perhaps your friend or wife or relative could start a non-profit though? That might be a little easier to get through the system. Speak with a lawyer and you may be able to come up with something interesting.

      If you do – please come back and let me know so I can offer that same advice to others in your situation!

  44. Whatever says:

    Wow, you mean to tell me I can have my student loan completely forgive and all I have to do is live in poverty for a decade?! That sounds like the biggest bunch of bull shit ive ever fuckin heard.

    • You should have thought a little harder about the implications of borrowing so much money before signing the dotted line.

      Federal forgiveness programs aren’t being created to wipe out student loan debt for the sake of getting rid of it; they’re being created to help people who couldn’t afford to fend for themselves otherwise get out of crushing, unbearable financial situations.

  45. Gianny Melissa says:

    How can I apply for this loan forgiveness program?

  46. Hi Tim! If all other requirements are satisfied for forgiveness, are nonprofit founders just as eligible as other employees? Thanks for your help.

  47. Nell Kriesberg says:

    Hi Tim,

    I borrowed a total of $30,000 between 1990 and 1991. Over the years, I have paid back $54,000 but it has all gone to interest because of how the loan was written, periods of forbearance due to financial hardship and the high interest on the original set of loans. The figure that I now owe is $83,000. I am now in my 17th year of teaching as an adjunct at North Carolina State University. I signed on to the public school teaching loan forgiveness program in 2007 but could not manage 120 consecutive payments due to needing to put the loan into forbearance a number of times due to low pay and helping elderly parents. I am now 67and plan to retire at 70. The bank now servicing this loan is using the 15% of AGI and total amount owed to give me an IBR much higher than I can afford and they will not negotiate a lower amount that I can pay. Is there anything being done for the many people in my situation? Thanks so much, Nell

    • Hi Nell,

      Is your credit score ruined because of missed payments and such? If not, then I would look into consolidation opportunities. It sounds like the bank you’re working with isn’t going to budge.

      Alternatively, you might want to contact the Student Loan Ombudsman Group to ask if the bank is calculating your income in an illegal manner. You can reach them here.

  48. I owed $23.000 loan from sallie maewhen i was in my collage since 2000. I have never paid anything back ever since and left the country in 2005. I came back to US now and recently i have recieved new statement one of the collection agency that bought the account( west Asset management). Now with the interests it reached up to $38.000. I have hired credit rebuilt firms and erased everything from my credit report. However every year department of ED. holding my tax returns but i dont see that money that i owe ever goes down.
    What do you recomend me to do? If i have to go for sattelement would they delete the interest charges and how much i should say ok to sattle? Would they consider payment plans by $100 a month? Or since nothing on my credit report should i let it go do nothing and would that be problem to me in the future?

    • Hi Anthony,

      The money you owe isn’t going down because you’re not making payments on it, so it keeps racking up interest. Your debt will probably even grow further over time, since you are going to be accumulating more interest each year than your tax returns could cover.

      They’re not going to delete interest charges, but they’ll probably offer you some sort of settlement that’s significantly lower than the total you owe… the amount cut down is different for everyone so I can’t give you a good idea of what that might be in your case.

      I’m not sure what I’d do if I were you. It sounds like you may be able to just ignore them (and let them keep taking your tax refunds), but eventually I would think they’re going to hit your credit report again.

      You could try offering $100 a month payment plan, but that’s a really low amount and probably wouldn’t even cover your interest payments either, especially since you’ve let the loan sit in default for such a long time.

      At some point in time, you will have to address this. The sooner you take care of it, the better.

  49. I have worked for a nonprofit company for two years and then switched to another nonprofit company and have been working here for almost three years. Assuming both employers will qualify for loan forgiveness I should have 5 years of payments toward the 10 years. I am now pregnant and am not sure if I will be able to return to work. If I do not return to work but continue to make payments will I qualify for loan forgiveness once I hit 120 months of payments or would I have to return to work at a nonprofit company for at least 5 more years to qualify?

    • Hi Becky,

      With the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (what you’re using to get forgiveness after 10 years of payments for working at a Non-Profit), only payments made WHILE satisfying the eligibility conditions will count towards your 120 threshold.

      So the answer is yes, you will have to return to work at a non-profit for 5 more years to qualify for forgiveness. Sorry to the bearer of bad news, but this is how the program works.

      • she should lower her payment while not working to zero (if she’ll have no income) and then do income based payments for the next five years, correct? so she’s getting more forgiven and paying less in the long run? just trying to get a grasp on all of this.. thanks Tim

  50. what do you think about the company “edu support center” to help lower payments by income based repayment? i am under the impression the company charges a monthly service fee for filing with the department of education for loan forgiveness. can you please offer any clarity on this? thanks in advance

    • Hi Melody,

      DO NOT FALL FOR THEIR TRICKS! NO COMPANY, PERIOD, can reduce your Federal student loan payments any more than you could yourself.

      NO COMPANY, PERIOD, can get you access to special Federal student loan repayment deals, offers, or incentives that you wouldn’t be able to access on your own.

      Do not send a single cent to anyone who claims that they can help you out with your Federal student loan debt. Anything they can do, YOU can do on your own.

  51. Why can’t you people pay for your education like the rest of us? You should have spent your money more wisely when going to school. I have no compassion for people who go to school with no research and get a a degree that is worthless and then expect to stiff the bank and not pay.

    • Hi Kelly,

      I share your concern for this topic, especially when people have racked up over $100,000 in debt to get an undergraduate degree, and especially when it’s in some non-science topic, but there are all sorts of marketing and advertising tricks out there convincing people that this is the only way they can succeed in live.

      Unfortunately, a lot of money gets spent on funding the propaganda line that college is the only way to fulfill the American Dream, and that getting a degree is worth it, no matter what the cost.

      My rule of thumb is never borrow more than what you expect to make during your first year after graduation. If everyone followed that simple guideline, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

      But everyone believes that they’re the exception to the rule, and that they’re the next millionaire in the making. It’s human nature. And it’ll never change.

    • As a kid I feel like I was tooken advantage of I really had no idea what I was doin. I thank they knew that as they had me sign papers for loans. Now I know college was a big wast of time and right out of high school I racked up $20,000 in debt. My family was to no help. It isn’t that i don’t thank I should pay for it just that I feel I was lied to and I will never be able to pay back the interest on it now being out of school and having children. I will never tell my daughter she has to go to college to be great.

      • I feel you. This is so accurate.

      • I am experiencing a similar situation; if I knew what I know now. I would of payed off the $20.000 dollar student loans as soon as possible. I have never defaulted on my loans and I am currently in a Income Base Program. However my student loans has tripled in interest. I am still trying to figure it out. I would like to have forgiveness for my interest that has accumulated over in time and just pay off the $20.000 dollars. I am currently working on getting a Non-profit job for forgiveness. If would be a miracle if the student loans interest was forgiven too!

        • Hi Regina,

          What you’re asking for isn’t really the way that it works. Did you read through the entire article? The way to receive forgiveness is to stay on your Income-Based Repayment Program, keep making those monthly payments, then get forgiveness at the 10 year mark. If you qualify for PSLF, the interest that accumulated on your loans will be forgiven, along with the loan balance.

    • Kelly, You obviously were not from a family that not only encouraged you to go to college, but would settle for nothing less than the best school. It wasnt encouraged in my house. Banishment from my childhood home was my other option. They told me they were paying for it, when really they were taking out loans in my name. I was 18. I didnt understand the details. I was focused on school and trying to keep the grades. “You people”….like we’re some sort of terrible group making you miserable. Many of us are victims. Hell, if financial child abuse was a thing, my case would fit it. I pay my payments. I have a science based degree. I live in poverty. I’m just trying to take advantage of what I can to have a life someday. I dont think about kids, a house, frduge full of food….Those are dreams that were lost when my parents decided my future for me. You are ignorant and have no compassion for others.

    • Perhaps you don’t understand everyone’s situation. I borrowed the minimum amount necessary to fund only a partial amount of my education- what I wasn’t able to cover out of pocket at the time. I have been diligently paying on my $45,000 student loan for the last SEVENTEEN years. At this point I have paid more than double the original amount borrowed for school (due to the interest), and still have another 10+years of payments to go. I have worked for non-profit organizations the entire time, and do not feel that participating in this program would be “stiffing the bank” in any way.

  52. I wish the program would qualify immediately for those of us who have been out of school for a while. I’ve been making my regular payments since 2000, so am well over 10 years into it. I agree that 10 years of repayment is fair (owning your college debt makes you appreciate your education a bit more, I think), but I think once you hit the 10 year mark, if this program is in existence, then it should be available right away. By 2017, I will have 17 years of payments made and , frankly not much loan debt left. I am glad those who came after me will be able to take advantage of this sooner then me, but it seems like since I graduated sooner, I am getting shafted out of my share of repayment under this program, which is disappointing. Still, any forgiveness of student loans is a good thing. I’ll take advantage of whatever is available as soon as it is available and be thankful for it….

    • Hi Andy,

      Everyone in your situation wants the same thing, but immediate forgiveness on all outstanding student loan debt that has had 10 years worth of payments put toward it would likely tank the entire economy, and would certainly ruin some of our biggest banks.

      Remember – there’s more student loan debt than credit card debt now, and the massive banks servicing these loans are not likely to be very happy with losing their golden goose.

      Unfortunately, the corporations have essentially hijacked the political process, and hold far more sway over Congress and the President than do the American people.

      I’m with you though – it’s not necessarily fair that you’ve had to pay back such a large percentage of your loan, and the kids graduating now are going to get to finagle their way out of their debt, but I don’t see this situation changing any time soon – there’s not enough pressure on the politicians to make it happen.

      Thanks for stopping by, and good luck! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

  53. Tim,

    If I’m enrolled in the program right now (I’m two years in), making my IBR monthly, what does the 2015 budget mean for me? I have over $57,00 in loan and am the sole provider for a family of five, so we don’t pay much. Will there be a “grandfathering” in, or will my family be screwed by this?

    • Hi Joe,

      I can’t give you a solid answer on this quite yet, because the budget is still up for consideration.

      I will update this page as soon as everything gets resolved.

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