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relieved student loan borrower discovering he qualifies for public service loan forgiveness

Many student loan borrowers have struggled to understand the requirements of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). They experience frustration and disappointment thinking they were making progress toward receiving loan forgiveness, only to find out that their loans didn’t qualify, or they were enrolled in the wrong payment plan.

The U.S. Department of Education is temporarily changing certain rules to allow potentially hundreds of thousands of borrowers the chance to qualify for student loan forgiveness if they have worked in public service. This opportunity is only available for a limited time, and borrowers must act before Oct. 31, 2022, to qualify.

These changes should allow more borrowers to get on the correct path toward loan forgiveness. Here’s what has and hasn’t changed about the PSLF program:

Payments

All prior loan payments will count as qualifying PSLF payments, regardless of loan type, repayment plan or whether the payment was made in full or on time. Military servicemembers also will receive credit for any period of active duty during which their loans were on deferment.

Loan Consolidation

You must consolidate any FFEL, Perkins or certain other federal student loans into a Direct Loan before Oct. 31, 2022, to take advantage of this rule change. After you consolidate, you must apply for loan forgiveness by submitting a PSLF form. To determine what types of loans you have, login to your account at StudentAid.gov and view your Aid Summary.

Automatic Credit

If you previously applied for the PSLF program, the Department of Education will review your payment history and credit you for any payments that didn’t previously count but now do under the program changes.

Public Service Employment

To qualify, you must still have worked in public service at a qualifying employer when you made your payments. If you worked more than one qualifying part-time job at the same time, you will be considered full-time provided you worked a combined weekly average of at least 30 hours. 

120 Payments

Although partial and late payments will now count, you must make a total of 120 payments — 10 years’ worth — to qualify for loan forgiveness.

Our student loan counselors can help you understand and work through these changes to determine if your loans qualify for PSLF.

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