Public Service Loan Forgiveness
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program discharges any remaining debt after 10 years of full-time employment in public service. The borrower must have made 120 payments as part of the Direct Loan program in order to obtain this benefit.
This contrasts with the loan forgiveness of the remaining balance after 25 years of repayment under the income-contingent and income-based repayment plans for borrowers who are not employed full time in public service jobs.
See also the list of Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Income-Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness and the list of other student loan forgiveness programs.
The public service loan forgiveness program has several restrictions:
Employer Certification Form
Use of the employment certification form is recommended but not required. It is best, however, to submit the form annually or whenever the borrower changes employers to ensure that the qualifying service is properly recorded.
Upon submission, the US Department of Education's servicer will inform the borrower whether the employment reported on the form satisfies the requirements for public service loan forgiveness. Borrowers will also be able to track their progress toward obtaining public service loan forgiveness.
After the borrower has fulfilled the requirements for public service loan forgiveness (i.e., made 120 qualifying payments while working full-time in a qualifying public service job), the borrower will need to file a PSLF application to obtain the loan forgiveness. A link to this form will be added to this web site when it becomes available.
Obtaining a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan
To obtain a federal direct consolidation loan, contact the US Department of Education.
If you have not yet consolidated, you can seek a federal direct consolidation loan in order to obtain an income contingent repayment plan. Federal direct consolidation loans are available if you haven’t been able to obtain a FFEL consolidation loan, income sensitive repayment terms acceptable to you or if you have defaulted on your FFEL loans.
Be sure to ask for income-contingent repayment or income-based repayment. The consolidation loan application does not currently include a checkbox for requesting these repayment plans, so you must ask for it separately.
The US Department of Education web site provides additional information about public service loan forgiveness.
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