How To Get Student Loan Forgiveness for Government Workers (Federal, State & Local Gov’t Employees)
(Updated April 10th, 2019)
In 2019, one of the best ways to earn Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Benefits is to be a Government Employee and use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) to earn complete forgiveness for your loans in return for 10 years of qualifying work and payments.
- What is Government Employee Loan Forgiveness?
- How Does Government Employee Forgiveness Work?
- What Loans Qualify for Government Employee Forgiveness?
- What Jobs Qualify for Government Employee Loan Forgiveness?
- What Payments Qualify for Government Employee Loan Forgiveness?
- How to Apply for Government Employee Loan Forgiveness
- Are Applications Actually Being Approved?
- What Other Relief Options Are There?
Please review this Guide to Government Employee Loan Forgiveness, then if you have any questions about how the program works, or whether you qualify for it, leave me a Comment in the section at the bottom of this page and I’ll get you a response within 24 hours.
What is the Government Employee Loan Forgiveness Program?
Government Employee Workers at any level of Government and with any organization are able to earn complete forgiveness for Federal student loans via the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), the official name of the Government Employee Employee Student Loan Forgiveness Program.
PSLF is by far the best Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Program around, because it offers total loan forgiveness benefits for 10 years of working in Public Service (as a Government Employee) and making income-based payments toward your student loans, no matter how much you actually owe after the 10 year period has expired.
To get loan forgiveness after 10 years, you’ll need to work full-time at a job that qualifies as a “Government Employee” and you’ll need to make your monthly student loan payments on-time, in-full, and according to the schedule of an Income-Driven Federal Student Loan Repayment Plan, but as long as you satisfy those simple requirements, your loans will be forgiven!
But Before I Explain How Government Employee Forgiveness Works…
Let me clue you in to a quick piece of advice – while the Government Employee Forgiveness Program does do an excellent job of getting rid of your student debt, it will take AT LEAST 10 years before you can qualify for the forgiveness benefit, so you will certainly want to look at alternative options for short-term financial relief.If you're truly struggling with student debt, then you should also consider paying a Student Loan Debt Relief Agency for help. Why? Because the people working at these companies deal with student loans all day, every day, and they're your best chance at figuring out how to get your loans back under control.
I've interviewed all sorts of debt relief agencies over the past 10 years, talking to all sorts of so-called "experts", and I can tell you that in all honesty I've only found two companies I trust to offer actual financial relief to people struggling with student loans.
For help with FEDERAL Student Loans: Call the Student Loan Relief Helpline at 1-888-906-3065. They will review your case, evaluate your options for switching repayment plans, consolidating your loans, or pursuing forgiveness benefits, then set you up to get rid of the debt as quickly as possible.
For help with PRIVATE Student Loans: Call McCarthy Law PLC at 1-877-317-0455. They will negotiate with your lender to settle your private loans for much less than you owe, then get you a new loan for the much lower, settled amount. NOTE: McCarthy Law can ONLY help with Private student loans.
If you do decide to call one of these companies and you have a bad experience with either of them, PLEASE make sure to come back and let me know about it in the Comments!
How Does Government Employee Loan Forgiveness Work?
This is one of the simplest forgiveness programs around, because it only has three basic eligibility rules, and those rules are pretty easy to satisfy.
Core Eligibility Requirements
- You must have an eligible loan (only Federal Direct Loans will qualify)
- You must have an eligible job (only “Government Employee” jobs will qualify)
- You must make 120 monthly student loan payments on an Income-Driven Repayment Pla
After you’ve satisfied these three requirements, you’re able to apply for the discharge and will receive total and complete student loan forgiveness, and you won’t even be charged any taxes on the forgiveness amount by the IRS (which happens with virtually all other forms of forgiveness…).
Now, that is a pretty basic overview of the program, and there are definitely additional details you need to know about, but I’ll explain all of those in the rest of this Guide, so pay close attention as it’ll help you decide if PSLF is right for you, or if you should be looking elsewhere for forgivenness.
What Loans Qualify for Government Employee Forgiveness?
ONLY Federal Direct Loans qualify for the PSLF, so you’ll have to have one (or more) of the following types of loans to pursue Government Employee forgiveness benefits under the Public Service program.
- Federal Direct Subsidized Loans
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans
- Federal Direct Grad PLUS Loans
- Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans
- Direct Consolidation Loans
Any other types of loans, including Private Student Loans and Federal Loans made under the old Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL Loans) will not count for PSLF, so you won’t be able to get rid of those for Government work.
HOWEVER, If you can turn your other loans into a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan, then that new Direct Consolidation Loan WILL BE eligible for PSLF, and your Government Work WILL qualify you for having it discharged.
What Jobs Qualify for Government Employee Forgiveness?
You have to be working for the Government Full-Time, which means at least 30 hours per week, in a “Public Service” role, but the great thing about this program is that the definition of Government Work is quite loose, so tons of different jobs are going to qualify you for PSLF benefits.
- ANY job at ANY level of the Government, including Federal, State and Local Government jobs, including:
- Jobs in Emergency Management, Public Safety and Law Enforcement, or the Military
- Jobs in Public Health Services, Public Service for People with Disabilities and the Elderly
- Jobs in Public Education, Public Libraries or other School-Based Services
- Jobs in ANYTHING ELSE where you can prove that you’re technically a “Government Employee”
The easiest way to qualify is obviously to have a job directly with the Government, like working for the DMV, or as a member of Congress, or in the Local Government Capital Building, but there are SO many jobs that qualify you as a “Government Employee”, from things like Military Personnel to Police Offiers to Fire Fighters to Park Rangers, that the options are nearly limitless.
My suggestion to find out if your job qualifies is to contact whoever is in charge of HR, and simply ask them – “Does my job count for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?” It’s their job to understand these benefits and inform you whether or not you can utilize them, so put the onus on them!
Finally, one other thing you should do to ensure that your job does in fact qualify for PSLF is to send in an annual Employment Certification Form that allows the Department of Education to review your position and state clearly whether or not you are eligible.
For details on how to do this, visit my Guide to Certifying Employment for PSLF.
What Payments Qualify for Government Employee Forgiveness?
Remember, you have to be enrolled in one of the Income-Driven Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans for your payments to count towards Government Employee forgiveness, so you will need to be using one of the following plans to pay back your loans.
Qualifying Repayment Plans
- The Pay As You Earn Plan (PAYE)
- The Revised Pay As You Earn Plan (REPAYE)
- The Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
- The Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)
Only payments you made while enrolled in one of these plans will count towards that 120 payment threshold (10 years worth of payments required to complete the program), and those payments must be made while you’re also working in that qualifying job we just discussed above.
However, even though Donald Trump may be the enemy to student loan forgiveness benefits, he did do one really nice thing for borrowers, which was to pass a law creating a program called Temporary Expanded PSLF (TPSLF), which lets people qualify for PSLF forgiveness if they satisfied ALL THE OTHER REQUIREMENTS of PSLF, but weren’t enrolled in the right repayment plan.
To find out if you can use the TPSLF Program to get forgiveness, look at my Guide to the Temporary Expanded PSLF Program.
And finally, there’s four other rules that determine qualifying payments, each of which you’ll need to satisfy for any payment to count toward the 120 payment threshold, which are:
Qualifying Payments Must Have Been
- Made After October 1st, 2017
These are pretty easy to satisfy, however, because it just means that only on-time, in-full, and monthly payments made after October 1st, 2007 will count toward the 120 threshold. As long as you were enrolled in an IDR Repayment Plan, and following the plan, your payments should count.
How To Apply for Government Employee Forgiveness
The one quirk with this program is that you don’t apply for it until you’ve fully satisfied all the eligibility conditions, meaning you’ve worked for the required 10 years in a Governemnt Employee role, and made the 10 years worth of qualifying IDR payments during that time period.
But, don’t forget that you should be Certifying your Employment each year along the way, as this will help ensure you don’t screw anything up, and that when it comes time for the Department of Education to review your application, they’ll be able to fast-track it since they’d already completed all their annual reviews.
When you do make that 120th qualifying payment, then you’ll need to fill out the official PSLF Application, which you can download here, and which you’ll submit along with your Employer’s Certification to FedLoan Servicing, who handles all PSLF applications for the Department of Education.
You can submit the paperwork to FedLoan in three different ways, using whatever is most convenient for you.
To Mail Your PSLF Application, Send It To:
- U.S. Department of Education
- FedLoan Servicing
- P.O. Box 69184
- Harrisburg, PA 17106-9184
To Fax Your Application, Send It To:
To Upload Your Application, Go Here:
Are Government Employee Loan Forgiveness Applications Actually Being Approved?
In a report from LA Times on April 3rd, 2019, we found out that PSLF Applications are not getting approved at the rate they should be, with the Department of Education doing everything they can to prevent approvals form being issued.
In fact, out of the tens of thousands of PSLF Applications that have been submitted, less than 300 of them have been approved!
I know at least 300 people who’ve visited this website and submitted details to me that SHOULD have qualified them for a PSLF approval, so I can tell you that this is definitely an issue with the Department of Education, and probably guided by Betsy DeVos.
The fact that fewer than 300 people have received PSLF benefits is an outrage, especially in light of the Congressionally approved Temporary Expanded PSLF Program, which added $700,000,000 in funding for the program, and which should have opened PSLF up to THOUSANDS of Americans who simply weren’t enrolled in the right Federal Repayment Plan, but who otherwise should have qualified fo rthe benefit.
On the bright side, Democrats in Congress are going to the Media about this and protesting heavily, and even some high-profile Senators like Tim Kaine of Virginia is piping up to talk about how the Department of Educatio isn’t living up to it’s responsibilities.
Personally, I think we need to see President Trump replaced before anything actually changes though, because he’s the one responsible for Betsy DeVos running the Department of Education, and she’s the one who has been trying to stop all forms of Federal Forgiveness from being approved, including both PSLF and the Borrower’s Defense to Repayment Program.
Should I Apply for Government Employee Forgiveness?
Even though approvals aren’t being distributed like they should be, I still think it’s worth pursuing and applying for PSLF Forgiveness as soon as you’ve satisfied the eligibility requirements of the program.
Why? Because eventually the promise that the Federal Government made to Public Service workers will be fulfilled – eventually a Democratic President will be elected, and eventually someone sane will be put back in charge of the Department of Education.
Even if you don’t qualify for PSLF, my advice is to change jobs and find a role that WILL allow you to qualify for the benefit, because this is the single most powerful Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Program that exists.
In fact, it’s even possible to get total PSLF forgiveness without ever paying a single cent on your loans, because you COULD qualify for a $0 monthly payment under one of the IDR Repayment Plans, and even those $0 payments still count towards the 120 payment threshold.
What Other Student Loan Relief Programs Should I Explore?
If you’re not able to qualify for Government Employee Loan Forgiveness Benefits via PSLF, then don’t worry, because there are tons of other excellent forviveness, discharge and relief programs that you may still be able to utilize.
My website contains over 100 Guides offering advice on how to take advantage of Federal and Private student loan relief programs, so the good news is that you’ve come to the right place if you want to find out how to get rid of your debt.
For details on getting Help with Federal Student Loans, start with my Guides on:
Federal Student Loan Relief Programs
- Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
- Federal Student Loan Bankruptcies
- Federal Student Loan Consolidations
- Federal Student Loan Delinquencies & Defaults
- Federal Student Loan Rehabilitation
- Federal Student Loan Wage Garnishments
- Federal Student Loan Deferments
- Federal Student Loan Forbearances
- Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans
Alternatively, if you need Help with Private Student Loans, you should start with my Guides on:
Private Student Loan Relief Programs
- Private Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
- Private Student Loan Consolidations
- Private Student Loan Bankruptcies
- Private Student Loan Default Help
I’ve spoken with thousands of student loan borrowers over the past decade of offering advice, and I’m nearly certain that you’ll be able to find SOMETHING that helps reduce your debt, so don’t give up without spending some time researching the benefits outlined above because you’re virtually guaranteed to find a way to save some money.
If you need help sorting out which programs you may be eligible for, please leave a Comment at the bottom of this page, making sure to tell me if you have Federal or Private loans, and giving me some details about which programs you’re considering, what you do for a living, etc.
I’ll get you a response with my advice within 24 hours of posting!
Finally, Please Help Me Out!
I’m not kidding when I say that running this site is like having a second full-time job. I spend all my time not at work researching new student loan benefits programs, watching the news, looking at legal changes, and updating or writing new Guides for this site.
And I can only keep doing this if you help me spread the word that this site exists! I’ve done well to rank at or near the top of Google’s results for years, but some big brands and huge businesses are moving into the space, pushing propaganda instead of advice, and hurting people’s chances of getting effective debt relief.
If this Guide helped you, then please consider giving back to me and the wider student loan borrowing community by sharing a link to my site on your Social Media pages, via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or anywhere else that you participate, like Reddit, old school Forums, or school-based community groups.
The more people who visit FSLD, the more time I can dedicated to writing Guides like this, and helping people like you.
Thank you for your support!
As you can imagine, building these Guides is no easy task, and I have to compile information from all around the web to put together an all-encompassing explanation of how these programs work.
For this Guide, here are some of the most important resources I used to construct the content.
- The Official PSLF Page on Federal Student Aid
- How to Qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, from the Official Blog of the Department of Education
- The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Application (from the Official Student Aid Government Website)
- Why Public Service Loan Forgiveness Is So Unforgiving – NPR
- Education Department Rejects Nearly All Applicants for a Student Loan Forgiveness Program – LA Times
Disclaimer:Information obtained from Forget Student Loan Debt is for educational purposes only. You should consult a licensed financial professional before making any financial decisions. This site receives some compensation through affiliate relationships. This site is not endorsed or affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education.
Thank you for all your information and advice; you are helping me to be able to start seeing the light! There’s still an area I’m not clear with: What about interest on my loans after the 20 years have gone by? Will the amount I owe (or more specifically, the TAXES i will owe on the money that will be forgiven,) be the total amount forgiven PLUS the accrued interest? I’m assuming this is a yes. And then, if I were able to make monthly payments towards just the interest each month — keeping the total loan balance somewhere near the original loan amount — would that be smarter in the long-run? Or is it better just to let it set and to bite the bullet and pay the big chunk of change tax at the 20-year/forgiveness point? I hope this makes sense. Thanks!! –Carl
PS… I didn’t clarify that I am on the PAYE program, and have been for 4-1/2 years now. I currently pay $0.00 monthly due to my current low salary. Actually my parents are the ones who may or may not make interest payments each month on my behalf, if we decide it would be wise to do that.
Yeah, so if you get forgiveness based on PSLF, then you won’t have to claim and pay taxes on the forgiven amount.
If I work for USPS can my spouse qualify for student loan forgiveness by me working for the Government?
No. Your spouse would need to work for the Government.
Hello- It is so nice to get all the information in one place. I am a victim of Sallie Mae/Navient in every way. When I graduated I had loans of about $40K. I was unable to find regular work and did not make enough to pay the $300-400 payments. I called the servicer and they told me to consolidate the loans, so I did. Then they told me that if I couldn’t pay then I should do a forbearance or deferment, so I did. They never mentioned the option of income based payments until I ran out of forbearance AND deferrals. By then my loan at 9% interest plus all the fees was over $100K and is currently considerably more even though I have been on an income based payment plan for 13 years. I read all the mail and articles about loan forgiveness. I work for the government and sent a request for forgiveness and they sent back a letter saying that my loan didn’t qualify and that I could RESIGN A PROMISSORY NOTE FOR THE ENTIRE BALANCE OWED, and then start over paying for 10 years. I don’t know where to go now and am now considering leaving the country forever (as my credit would tank and I would be unable to restart here if I returned). Extreme I know but I can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. Trump’s unfortunate election has made the whole thing seem insurmountable.
If you work for the Government, then you should qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
Contact your loan servicer to ask them again. This doesn’t sound right.
Hello! My question is along the lines of misinformation of type of repayments qualify for forgiveness. My husband has been employed for over 10 years with qualifying agencies, while paying on his student loans without a missed payment. It wasn’t until 2017 that it became public information that only certain types of payments qualified. What about ALL the folks who had been paying all along, counting payments towards the 120 (which by the way, my husband has definitely made), only to find out that we hadn’t selected the “right” payment plan. Are folks able to get a relook at the payments and have them count from years ago, since 2007? I see that there is a lawsuit ongoing and want to jump on board if possible. What are your thoughts and knowledge of this matter?
Yeah, so to qualify you DO have to be enrolled in the right repayment plan (one of the income-driven plans), but there have been a series of short-term forgiveness programs that allowed people to take credit for prior payments that wouldn’t have otherwise counted. Call your loan servicing company and see if you can utilize one of those.
sorry I’ve got another question. My husband has all Stafford loans (ugh. some . They don’t qualify for any loan forgiveness programs? Some subsidized and some unsubsidized.
Stafford Loans qualify for the Stafford Loan Forgiveness Program!
Is your husband a teacher? If so, he’s probably going to have a pretty good chance of being able to use this program to eliminate at least SOME of the debt!
Posted a question yesterday but not sure it went though. My question was if you have worked for USPS for 22 years and got students loans back in 2007 and have been paying on them since will that count as the 10 years needed to get them forgiven or do you have to get accepted in the program before pymts count toward it?
Yes! Working for USPS definitely counts as a Government job, but the trick is that you need to be enrolled in one of the qualifying repayment plans in order to qualify for forgiveness. ONLY the Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans allow your payments to count, so you have to be enrolled in Pay As You Earn, REPAYE, the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan, or some other IBR Program, otherwise your payments won’t count and you won’t earn forgiveness.
My husband has worked at USPS since 1996 he didn’t finish his college but of course still has his student loans. He stopped going college in 2007 and we didn’t start making pymts until after that but he’s been making pymt for 10 years will those count toward for this program or does he have to make 10 pymt after he is accepted into the program? This is definitely very confusing.
Thank you ,
Was he enrolled in an Income-Driven Repayment Plan while making those payments? He needs to be working full-time for a Government Agency and making payments in full and on-time under one of the Income-Based Repayment Plans, otherwise the payments won’t count. You CAN get back-credit for payments that met eligibility guidelines in the past, but you won’t get retroactive credit for any payments where the rules weren’t met at the time of the payment. Hope this helps!
Question? My trouble so far as been deferring loans which increased my Overall loan by 20,000. I am now on income base and still see the Interest growing . My fear is in 10 years my loan is not forgiven and I have all this loan to pay back plus the new interest. Or does the interest stop growing once you are eligible for both PSLF and income driven ? I get lost and wish I was more knowledgeable as no one ever told me about P S LF. I could have been half way done . I have been working for 10 years in the same field .
Yes, the problem with loan deferrals and forbearances is that if your loans aren’t of the subsidized variety, the interest keep accumulating even while your payments are on pause. The end result of this is that you will owe far more than you should have, because the loan balance keeps getting driven up by compound interest. You need to make sure that you’re going to be eligible for PSLF and you need to get enrolled in an eligible Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plan right away, otherwise, each payment you make will fail to help you get closer to forgiveness.
Do Postal Workers qualify for forgiveness? Also what about garbage men? I would assume it is a public service even though it’s a for profit industry
It depends on who you work for. If you’re a Postal Worker for USPS, then yes, you will be eligible. If you’re a Garbage Man for a private company that isn’t a Not-for-Profit, then no, you will not be eligible. The rules are quite clear in who qualifies and who doesn’t. You must work directly for a Government agency (local, state, or national, doesn’t matter), or at a non-profit. Check out my page on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program for additional details.
I made several years’ worth of payments to [Redacted Servicing Company]. I was led to believe that those payments qualified for the Public Loan Forgiveness program. Now I just learned that those payments did not count and I have to start over. Can anything be done about this?
4-5 years worth of payments. I began paying in 2011, then consolidated in 2012 because I was told I had to consolidate to become eligible after 120 payments.
Do you have a record of them stating that your payments would count, and giving you bad advice? If so, it should be possible to file for a Borrower’s Defense Against Repayment Discharge vs. your Servicing Company, and get your loan completely eliminated.
This may be a silly question, however, I must ask it as I am at the point where I need to choose a payment plan.. My husband has been working for the Govt for several years, that being said, are there any programs due to his service that can chop down my repayment period? I eventually plan on using my degree to open a business but have been unable to do so due to his particular career. We have (3) school age children and (1) younger than school age child, so, (4) children total. Currently I am a homemaker and crunching the numbers on childcare per week if I were to begin a “career” type position at a starting salary just do not add up in our favor due to our locality. Should I just take the REPAYE program or is there anything else out there for my situation? My husband does not have any student loans. Thanks in advance!
There are no silly questions when it comes to Student Loans. They’re complicated and scary, so thanks for asking this because I’m sure it’s something that many other families are also facing.
Unfortunately, there aren’t really any great Government benefits for SPOUSES, unless you’re in the military, and your partner transfers their GI Bill benefits to you BEFORE you accumulate debt. Since you’ve already got the debt, you’re basically on your own with getting rid of it.
I would definitely recommend that you use REPAYE because that’s probably going to be the fastest way to get rid of your loans without having access to some form of employment-based benefit. And I get that paying childcare costs for three kids is almost certainly not going to make sense, but unfortunately, that’s the system we’ve got right now, so we’re all sort of stuck with it (for now!).
I’m in the process of starting a job at the Job Corps in RI. It seems that the government has contracted out the management of employment for Job Corps but maintain the same government salaries as DOL and use government emails for all Job Corps employees. Would my employment there still be considered government employment or at least qualify me for the PLFP?
You should talk to your HR Department to find out if your employment counts as as a Government employee. I cannot tell you for certain.
Thank you for the helpful information!
I am a teacher in a low income school. I have been teaching 4 consecutive years. I understand that in order to qualify for the teacher loan forgiveness, you have to teach for 5 consecutive years in a title 1 school. After doing some research, I also know that I qualify for the public service loan forgiveness right now. I understand that I can’t receive both the TLF and PSLF at the same time.
I have to teach 1 more year in order to receive the TLF. I am a general education teacher in an elementary school, so I would receive $5,000 forgiveness.
My question is, should I wait a year to fill out the application for the PSLF once I completed 5 years of teaching, or should I go ahead and fill out that application and not worry about the TLF because after 120 payments, my loan will be forgiven anyway.
I should also note that I just made my first payment of $402.00. However, I qualified for the REPAYE repayment plan so I filled out that application so starting next month, my payments will start out at $200.00 a month.
In my post above, I forget to add that all together, I owe $35,000
Thanks so much! Any information or help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for providing so much detail in your comment, I can actually offer you some good advice here…
I’d pursue the PSLF benefit with all speed, because that’s by far the best, most powerful discharge program available to anyone, anywhere, and it would totally suck if somehow your Teacher Loan Discharge led to problems for you taking advantage of PSLF. I’ve never heard of this happening, and don’t think it would, but if I were you, I’d double-check the options by discussing it with the Student Loan Ombudsman Group first.
Google “Student Loan Ombudsman Group” for their contact info, and give them a call. This is NOT a paid service, or a scam. This is a Government-backed group of attorneys who offer free legal advice relating to student loans, and I’d ask them to make sure that you can use both Teacher Loan Forgiveness and PSLF, without sacrificing any years of eligibility, or any payments. You wouldn’t want to have the Teacher benefit delay your PSLF, because PSLF is by far the better option.
Good luck, and I hope it all works out for you! BTW – verify that you’re truly eligible for PSLF by asking the Ombudsman Group first, but also by contacting whoever services your loans, and asking them directly about it. They’re legally obligated to tell you the truth, and at the end of the day when you submit your official application for the PSLF forgiveness discharge, it’s your loan servicer who actually has to approve it, so you don’t want to run into a situation where you THOUGHT you were eligible, but it turns out you weren’t. Get them to provide you with WRITTEN PROOF that you’re eligible for the program, and doing everything correctly in order to earn the benefit. Remember, trust, but verify!
In the most recent budget that was passed (for 2018, I guess) – – I read in a Washington Post article that this loan forgiveness program was expanded – – potentially to allow folks who had been making regular payments (i.e., not income-based payments) on their loans for 10+ years to participate. Ive been scouring the internet for more information about this but haven’t found anything yet. I probably need to dig into the text of the 2018 budget to read about this… But I was wondering if you had heard anything about this? tps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2018/03/23/how-a-provision-in-the-spending-bill-could-help-public-servants-with-student-debt/?utm_term=.bd64a411e1b7
Wow! Thanks for calling this one to my attention because I missed it when it was released. I’m going to update all my relevant pages right now to include this additional detail, as it’s huge and could save tons of people a ton of time and money.
I would guess the reason you’re not finding this anywhere yet is that it just hasn’t been rolled out fully. Oftentimes, the laws change, but the Government’s Website providing information about these programs remains the same for months, if not years, so perhaps it’s just not quite been updated yet.
Loan Servicers will know all about it though, and while they may not volunteer the details, they are legally obligated to tell you the truth about anything you ask, so bring it up with your Servicer to find out if you’re one of the lucky few who will qualify for additional payments getting counted toward your 120 threshold!
Thanks again for dropping by and sharing this with me. I’ve got about 10 pages to update now so everyone else can be made aware of the change!
I am a teacher, and I have Parent Plus loans for my daughter who is a CPS Social Worker. She has been excepted in the forgiveness program. Can I qualify for that program for the Parent Plus L0ans?
Unfortunately, Parent PLUS Loans don’t seem to qualify for any sort of relief, at least under the current rules. I don’t think you’ll be able to get that debt discharged like your daughter can, but to make sure, contact your loan servicer or the Student Loan Ombudsman Group to verify. The Ombudsmen are a group of free, Government-backed attorneys who offer legal advice on student loan-related issues, so you won’t have to pay anything, and you can rest assured that they’re telling you the truth.
I have parent plus loans of like 144,000. How can I get help ? I thought I was Co signing for these . I work at Usps and I still can’t afford 3,000. A month for 8 loans . I need to consolidate or what can I do ? I have put these loans off for 5 years or so .
I would advise contacting the Student Loan Ombudsman Group and asking them about your options for Parent Plus Loans. These fall into a weird grey area in many cases, and I am never sure how they’ll end up being handled. The Ombudsman Group is a Government-backed group of attorneys who provide FREE legal assistance on Federal student loan-related issues, so they can help.
My husband and I got a joint consolidation with William Ford Direct back in 2007 when joint consolidations were still allowed. My husband applied for the PLSF program, but since our loans are consolidated together we were told that he could not use the PLSF, not even for his portion, but that we would both have to qualify. I was also told by another source that his portion should be forgiven, but not mine. Which is correct?
Unfortunately, Consolidated Loans lose their eligibility for all sorts of benefits, which is why a Loan Consolidation should only be taken after VERY CAREFUL CONSIDERATION. I think you did the wrong thing, and I don’t think you’ll be able to get forgiveness for any part of your husband’s loan.
I’m not understanding how the ICR works? Based on the calculator I used on student loans.gov my loan would be paid off after 92 months under the ICR plan (this was the only income based program it said I qualified for). Do you only benefit from the PSLF program if you basically have extremely high student loan balances (mine is 29k) and/or income near poverty level? I played with the numbers and this seems to be the only way the balance wouldn’t be paid off in 10 years.
Yeah, PSLF is really for people with massive debt, tiny incomes, or trouble making their income-based payments. It won’t help people who don’t owe that much, and who make lots of money. The problem is that your income-based payments pay the dead off before it can be forgiven.
I currently am under ACS (a Xerox company) for repayment. I’ve consolidated already. Am I still eligible for forgiveness if I work for the Federal Government? If not, what’s my next step at forgiveness through public service?
Depends on what you did with the consolidation – that could have screwed you. Contact your loan servicer to ask them about your eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Thank you for the article. I’ve worked for the government for about 5 years and hope to qualify for PSLF in the next 5. I have a mix of Stafford/Graduate Plus student loans from undergrad and law school. I just recently applied to Fed Loan Servicing to have my loans serviced by them and to start the process and I hope that no one makes the same mistakes that I have. (It took me so long to apply because my office told me they wouldn’t sign the verification because the program didn’t start yet. Which was totally incorrect).
Primarily, YOU HAVE TO CHECK IF YOUR LOAN IS A DIRECT STAFFORD OR PLUS LOAN, as only those qualify under the program. If it is not, and your loan was a Stafford/Graduate loan that was backed by a bank … IT WILL NOT QUALIFY FOR FORGIVENESS unless you consolidate it to a DIRECT loan under Fed Loan Servicing and make 120 payments. I think this is totally ridiculous, as the payments stay the same, it’s just that the government is getting paid for servicing your loan, not a private institution.
In my case, I assumed (incorrectly) that a portion of my loans serviced by American Education Services (AES) would qualify for PSLF, because I took them out, they said “Graduate/Stafford” loan, and I went through the government to borrow them. WRONG. In short, I have made five years of payments under an income based repayment program (see: compounded interest), NONE OF WHICH WILL EVER QUALIFY FOR PSLF. Of course, I could have consolidated the loans 5 years ago, made the same payment amount and would only have 5 years to go, but alas, I did not and am kicking myself for it. I will be consolidating my remaining loans to Fed Loan Servicing to be considered for PSLF and have “lost” five years of payments because I didn’t do so sooner and didn’t do my homework on it.
I don’t want anyone to make the same $50,000 mistake that I made, which is not consolidating the moment you start working for the government. It doesn’t matter who services your loans as far as payment goes; it does matter for PSLF purposes.
TL/DR: IF YOU WORK FOR ANY GOVERNMENT, CONSOLIDATE THE SHIZ OUT OF ALL OF YOUR LOANS TO A DIRECT LOAN UNDER FEDSERVICING AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO HAVE THOSE LOANS CONSIDERED FOR PSLF.
Thanks for sharing this Amanda. This is a complicated process and people don’t know what exactly they’re doing, then end up getting screwed out of benefits that they deserve.
I would like to know who decided to allow FedLoans servicing rights to state employees. These people lack the knowledge, or I believe care to understand how to help their clients. I have been calling them several times a month for three months, and they still have yet to complete the process. They are in need of serious help, and I would like to discuss this further with someone that cares as much as I do about my repayment plan.
I can’t answer that for you… and I’m not even sure where to go for that answer, but it’s probably some politician. Call your local Congressperson and see if they can find out for you.
My husband took out Parent Plus loans with American Education Services for our children starting 2000 for our son and 2002 for our daughter. The loans are now UnSub Consolidated loans with American Education Services. My husband retired 2 1/2 years ago after working 34 years with Department of Defense. After 120 payments will he qualify for any loan forgiveness program? Also, he has been battling cancer. If God forbid he should pass away, is the loan then discharged? The loan is under his name only. Thank You
No – that’s not how the program works. For your 120 payments to qualify, they have to be made WHILE WORKING in a qualifying position. Any payments made after retiring aren’t going to satisfy the eligibility conditions of the program. I’m sorry to tell you this, as it really does suck, but the way that the program was structured doesn’t allow for retroactive payments to be applied to previous service.
Visit my page on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program for additional details.
I work for the government and don’t seem to be able to get pay loans paid on time and nor paid in full. Will I qualify for the student loan forgiveness program after 5 years of service? Also, do you recommend any other opportunities, while I am still in school part time?
It sounds like you didn’t read through this page, because there’s no program offering loan forgiveness after 5 years. Also, no, if you don’t pay on time or in full, you will not receive forgiveness.
Get your stuff together and start making your payments on time, or you’ll never get out of debt. You’ve got a huge opportunity to wipe out your loans, so buckle up and figure out what you need to do to get financially responsible.
Thank you soooo much for the information I also work for USPS and was trying to find out if I qualify, is there a link for the forms for public service
You’re welcome! No, I don’t have a link to any forms, but you can contact whoever services your loans and ask them about their process. Each loan servicer handles things differently. Tell them you want to get going with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, and they’ll point you in the right direction.
Good morning Tim,
my wife has some student loans, and I am a federal employee with 9 years in the service. would she qualify under this program?
She can’t qualify for your service. She needs to qualify based on her own work.
Hi, I am a state employee working for the CSU system. I have student and I am about to go on repayment. Do I qualify for this program?
If you’re a state-employee then you should qualify, as long as you’re working full-time and meet the other eligibility requirements.
I have been paying off federal student loans since 1993, however, I’ve worked for the a federal agency for a few years, and now I work with the VA. I have not signed up for the loan forgiveness program yet. If I sign up NOW, do I still have to make 120 payments from the day my application is received? That seems nuts. And unfair.
You don’t really “sign up” for the forgiveness program. The forgiveness benefits are tied to your Federal Student Loan Repayment Plan, and as long as you’re on one of the eligible repayment plans (the Income-Based plans…), your payments automatically count toward the 120 payment threshold.
What you need to do is make sure you’re on the REPAYE Student Loan Repayment Plan, because you won’t qualify for Pay As You Earn (the original “Obama Loan Forgiveness Plan“). Get on REPAYE immediately, and tell your loan servicer that you’re changing to this plan so you can work toward the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program benefit. Ask them if you need to do anything else to qualify, then follow their instructions to the letter, and you’ll get your forgiveness benefit after 120 payments have been made.
My loans are in repayment status and I make my payments on-time. I did qualify for the Income Based Repayment option last year and although the were high, I was able to maintain them. This year the amount went up $50 and I just purchased a new home. I started working for a Non-profit health insurance company January 2016, the same time I had to re-apply for the IBR. I do not think it was considered. We are the largest Medicaid provider in my state. I heard about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program recently and I am curious to see if I actually qualify, but I do not want to waste me time if I am not. Do you know if non-profit health insurance companies would count?
Thanks in advance!
If you work for a true non-profit company (who has the 501(c)(3) designation), then yes, you will qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Check out my page about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program for the high-level details of how it works, then visit my page about Non-Profit Student Loan Forgiveness for the elements that will apply directly to you.
Your next step will be to contact whoever services your loans (the people you send your monthly payments to), to ask them how you can enroll in the program. They’ll probably have you sign up for the Pay As You Earn or REPAYE Student Loan Repayment Plan, then each payment you make will count toward the 120 payment threshold, and after 10 years of payments, your remaining debt will be forgiven!
Congratulations, because if it all works out, you’re going to save tens of thousands of dollars!Thi
Does USPS not qualify as a qualified employer?
I would imagine that the US Postal Service would count. I didn’t present an exhaustive list here. The idea is that ANY Federal Employee will have access to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, so you should be fine if you work at USPS.
How do you sign up for this program? I have been working as a government employee for almost 8 years
You need to speak with whoever services your loan and tell them that you want to take advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. They’ll want you to enroll in one of the eligible Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans, like the PAYE Plan, or the REPAYE Plan.
If you don’t want to deal with all the paperwork yourself, then you should call the Student Loan Relief Helpline, who will be able to fill out all the paperwork for you (for a fee). You can reach them at: 1-888-694-8235
I have made 15 payments through a consolidation program towards my 120 payments. The institution where my loans are held, is absolutely horrible and I want my monies out of their hands and into another agency. If I change institutions, will I have to start all over again with the 120 payments?
No, you won’t have to start over with your payments. However, be very careful about changing lenders, because sometimes things do get lost in translation. If you truly want to move to another lender, make sure to hire some sort of legal counsel, get all your paperwork notarized, and ensure that you aren’t doing anything that could end up disqualifying you for benefits. You may want to contact the Student Loan Ombudsman Group to file a complaint and see if they can help you sort out the legal implications for changing lenders.
Thankyou Tim for writing about this program! I confess I’m a bit confused about the stipulation that all 120 payments must occur AFTER October 1, 2007. Using that date, NOT A SINGLE ONE OF US will be eligible for any type of student loan forgiveness until after October 1, 2017. Is that correct? The applications are available, but the program won’t start until 2017?
Yes, the way the program was created, no one can qualify for forgiveness until October 1st, 2017. That was done on purpose.
Remember, these programs are politically motivated, and the banks/lenders who are holding student loan debt have a great deal of power. President Obama and the Congress likely did what they could to move this date up, but it’s not easy to get anyone to agree to forfeit money at all, especially in the short-term. This was probably a negotiating chip that they used to ensure the bill would receive enough support to pass.
My son’s student loans are under my name. I have been a state government employee for over twenty years. I pay these loans monthly. Do I qualify for this program?
The loans are in your name, and his? Or in yours entirely? What types of loans are they? Private or Federal? If Federal, they’re PLUS Loans, right? This is all important.
What changes were put in place for the FELP in 2016 if any?
I haven’t seen any yet. Did you hear something that you wanted to check on? If you’re aware of any updates, please let me know and I’ll look into them.
I have a question for you Tim,
I am working on increasing my hours with the VA from 27 to full-time, however it is taking some time. My loans are with SC Student Loan Corp., which I believe is privately funded and not federal, and I had already consolidated my loans with them. It sounds like I need to move my loans to a an income base repayment plan because this is what is proposed to be the only type of loan that will be eligible. Does that sound right? If yes, would I be able to consolidate my loans (I have a subsidized and a non-subsidized loan consolidated loan) and how quickly should I do that?
I would not consolidate a Federal Loan (subsidized loans are probably Federal) with a Private Loan (your already consolidated loan). It’s never a good idea to combine Private debt with Federal debt, as you’ll lose eligibility for Federal forgiveness benefits by doing that.
You need to figure out which loans are Private and which are Federal. Talk to your loan servicer (whoever you send the checks to) to figure that out.
Where do we apply to start the process? I don’t see any contact info.
Talk to whoever services your loan (the people you send your checks to).
I am under civil service as county account clerk for the past 27 years. My student loans kick in this April. Can I do this plan and still retire in the next year?? Thank u for the advice…..
When did you originally take out your loans? Why are they only kicking in this April if you’ve been working for 27 years? You didn’t give me nearly enough information to determine whether or not you’ll qualify, or how long it’ll take to earn forgiveness, but my gut says “No”. You have to be enrolled in one of the eligible Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans (only the income-based plans count), and you probably won’t get credit for retroactive payments either.
I have worked for the USPS for 35 years and have parent plus loans . My question is I plan to work 2 more years then retire I will receive a Civil Service annuity. Would I be able to receive the loan forgiveness if I continue to make make the required payments after I retire?
That’s a really good question, and to tell you the truth, you’re not going to like the answer. In the section called “What Are the Eligibility Guidelines?”, look at number 4.
If you’re not working full-time at a qualifying job, then your payments won’t count toward forgiveness.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news here.
So I have a federal education loan from 97-2010 and have been making monthly on-time payments for years. While I haven’t been ‘enrolled’ in this program will my previous payments apply?
You do not have to be “enrolled” in anything for the Government Employee Loan Forgiveness benefit to kick in, but only payments made after October 1st, 2007 will count toward the requirement.
For additional details on how it all works, please visit my page about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
I work for the VA and my wife is a stay at home mom. Since I am the one paying her student loans can I consolidate our loans together and then qualify?
It’s not possible to consolidate loans from multiple individuals. Your loans must remain yours, and your wife’s must remain hers.
I have graduate nursing loans. I opened accounts in 2007. I have been making payments since 2010 – beginning balance around $40K. I haven’t consolidated these. I’ve been working full-time for government agency since 2007 as well.
Do I qualify?
Do I need to consolidate?
If so, what is the contact information to get started?
Did you read through the post and look at the eligibility requirements?
The only people who can give you a for-sure answer about whether or not you qualify for specific benefits is whoever services your loan. Even if I say “yes”, they may give you a different answer.
And it sounds like you might be talking about two different things. On the one hand, you’re talking about Consolidation (which is the process of combining multiple loans into a single new loan), but you’re posting on the Government Employee Loan Forgiveness Program page.
What are you trying to do? Consolidate? Qualify for loan forgiveness? I can’t really tell.
Would it be possible to receive this loan forgiveness if you work for two of the qualifying jobs simultaneously 5 years?
Are you saying that you work part time at two different agencies? If so, my understanding is that no, that will not work. You need to be working full time, at least 30 hours per week, at a qualifying institution/organization/etc.
I am a firefighter and have been employed for almost 10 years. My wife has approx. 56,000 in student loans consolidated through direct loans. We’ve been making payments since 2007. She is a stay at home mom. Just wondering if we would qualify for any loan forgiveness as she is not employed by a public service entity.
Sorry, but I don’t think you’d be able to use your service to get forgiveness on her debt, even though you guys are married.
It’s totally unfair, because the Government wants to collect taxes on you as a joint entity, but won’t let you apply benefits to the debt as a joint entity.
I guess technically, they think of this as being her debt, even if you’re the one making payments on it. It’s a raw deal, but that’s the way things work right now.
Hi, I am a nurse who works for the VA. I have been a full time nurse since 12/2007 at the VA. I graduated in 2007 with an associate degree of nursing and continued to go to school and work full time while completing my bachelor degree of science in nursing. I have been repaying my student loans since 2010 in an extended graduated loan repayment plan. I owe around 57,000 which are consolidated under direct loans. Will those payments qualify under the public loan forgiveness program? I plan on changing the repayment program to a qualifying “pay as you earn” when it takes effect 12/2015. Will my previous payments combine with the new repayment plan and count towards the 10 year requirement for the Public loan forgiveness program?
Thank you, Ali
Were your loans made under one of the Federal student loan programs? If so, then you should be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, but you may also be eligible for one of the Nursing Loan Forgiveness Programs.
Check them out at the links I posted above.
To answer your question about previous payments, unfortunately it looks like you will not receive credit retroactively, but that’s not yet been fully determined.
We won’t know exactly how Pay As You Earn will work for people who aren’t already eligible for it until President Obama and Congress set the rules for it (which is supposedly coming this year).
You’re still absolutely eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Nursing Loan Forgiveness though, so make sure you look into those programs as they could save you tens of thousands of dollars.
I’d specifically check out the NURSE Corps Loan Forgiveness Program – literally the most powerful loan forgiveness program on the planet!
I have loans from a masters program running 2006 – 2010, and 2 years of doctoral degree 2011 – 2012. I moved to Florida, where my LICENSE was not accepted and have been struggling to keep food on the table for my family. I was recently hired by a health insurance company, but I’m a single mom and my income is so low I haven’t been able to make any payments. Do I qualify for loan forgiveness?
I just saw this comment after replying to your other one – are your loans Federal or Privately funded? When were the loans taken out? How much do you owe, and how much are you currently making?