Public Service Loan Forgiveness

What is Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

Currently there is over one trillion dollars in student loan debt in the United States. Although a higher education can help students find higher paying careers, the debt they are in after they’ve completed their education can be overwhelming. By choosing a career in the public sector and meeting eligibility requirements, a person can apply for a forgiveness program which will discharge any leftover debt after they have been employed for ten or more years.

Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to encourage people to work full-time in public service jobs. Under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on their federal student loans after 120 payments are made. Borrowers have to be employed full time by certain public service employers in order to qualify.

Who is Eligible for Forgiveness?

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is available to anyone employed by a public service company. This includes those who work in law enforcement, government agencies, public health, public education, among others. Even if your position at a company may not seem eligible, that's okay - as long as the company is considered a public service company, you may still qualify.

Federal Student Loans That are Eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

As mentioned, only certain loans will qualify a person for the forgiveness program. These include Ford/Federal Direct Stafford loans both direct subsidized and unsubsidized, Direct PLUS loans and Direct consolidation loans. To qualify for a parent plus loan, the parent needs to be the one employed in the public sector.

Learn more about Public Service Loan Forgiveness by visiting the following webpages:

  • Forgiveness Program in Four Easy Steps – Duke Law provides easy, step-by-step instructions on how to get Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
  • Federal Student Aid – This is a Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees fact sheet. Here you can find everything you need to know about Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
  • Loan Forgiveness for Public School Employees – Learn more on the loan forgiveness and how it was created as a way to recruit professionals, even school psychologists.
  • Questions and Answers – Here you can read frequently asked questions and the answers provided as they relate to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
  • FAQ – Frequently asked questions about the forgiveness loan program.
  • New Payment Options for Federal Loans – This article not only discusses the Public Service Forgiveness Loan but provides information on how to find out which loans you actually have.
  • Federal Student Aid – This information provides in-depth information from what the program is to where to find additional information.
  • Repaying Student Loans – Here you can read about various student loan repayment options.
  • Repayment Programs – There are various student loan repayment options available including hardship loan forgiveness.
  • Repaying Your Student Loans – This is a great article that provides tips on how to repay student loans.
  • Student Loan Repayment – This article provides a lot of information on repaying student loans as well as provides resources so you can calculate what the payments will be.

Eligibility Requirements for Public Service Loan Forgiveness

The borrower must not be in default on any of the loans for which they are seeking forgiveness for. Additionally, the borrower must be employed full-time by an approved public service organization - while making the necessary 120 monthly payments, at the time the borrower applies for forgiveness, and when the remaining balance on the borrower's federal loans are forgiven.

Public Service Jobs that Qualify Borrowers for Public Service Forgiveness

Borrowers must be employed full-time, in any position at an approved public service organization. Below are examples of entities that are considered public service organizations.

  • A federal, state, local, or Tribal government organization, agency, or entity (includes most public schools, colleges and universities)
  • A public child or family service agency
  • A non-profit organization

Additionally, any private organization that is not a for-profit business and provides public services. These public services include:

  • Military service
  • Public safety
  • Law enforcement
  • Early childhood education
  • Public health
  • Public education
  • Public library or school library services
  • Emergency Management

To find additional information, and determine if the organization or job you work for qualifies for public service loan forgiveness, you can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center by calling toll-free (800) 433-3243.