On May 23, the U.S. Department of Education, led by Betsy DeVos, announced a major change to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. Those who previously were denied for being on the wrong repayment plan might now be reconsidered thanks to a temporary $350 million expansion.
If you want to claim some of the money set aside for Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF), you’ll need to take action right away. Forgiveness will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis, so once the $350 million runs out, TEPSLF will end.
Here’s what you need to know about this development and how to be reconsidered for loan forgiveness.
Changes to PSLF
Under PSLF, borrowers with certain federal student loans, not private student loans, can get the remaining balance on their loans forgiven after making 120 qualifying payments on a qualifying repayment plan while working full time at a government or nonprofit organization.
Congress bolstered PSLF in March by setting aside $350 million to expand the program.
In the past, thousands of borrowers might have been denied loan forgiveness because they were on the wrong repayment plan. Under the previous PSLF structure, only borrowers on one of the following income-driven repayment plans could qualify for PSLF:
- Income-Based Repayment
- Income-Contingent Repayment
- Pay As You Earn
- Revised Pay As You Earn
There are other alternative repayment plans, including Graduated Repayment, Extended Repayment, Consolidated Standard Repayment, and Consolidated Graduated Repayment. However, they weren’t considered qualifying repayment plans under PSLF.
TEPSLF will expand the list of qualifying repayment plans to include those listed above and allow borrowers who made payments on a previously nonqualifying repayment plan to be reconsidered and potentially receive loan forgiveness.
This development has the potential to help thousands of students. According to the Office of Federal Student Aid, there were over 800,000 students pursuing PSLF as of December 2017.
What TEPSLF means for you
If you have federal student loans and were previously ineligible or denied for PSLF, you might qualify now. To be eligible for TEPSLF, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, or Direct Consolidation Loans.
- You must have previously submitted an application for PSLF and been denied because some or all of your payments weren’t made under a qualifying repayment plan.
- You must have worked full time for at least 10 years at a qualifying nonprofit organization or government agency, been certified by the employer, and had your employment approved by the Department of Education.
- You must have made 120 qualifying payments under the new TEPSLF requirements while working full time for a qualifying employer.
How to apply to be reconsidered for PSLF
If you believe you qualify, you must send an email to TEPSLF@myfedloan.org to request reconsideration for loan forgiveness as soon as possible. It should take you only a minute or two to write and send the email. The email should include your full name, which should match the name you submitted on your previous PSLF application, and your date of birth.
The Department of Education provided the following template:
Subject: TEPSLF request
I request that ED reconsider my eligibility for public service loan forgiveness.
Name: [Enter the same name under which you submitted your PSLF application]
Date of Birth: [Enter your date of birth in MM/DD/YYYY format]
Once you send the email, the Department of Education will work with FedLoan Servicing, a federal loan servicer, to confirm that you previously submitted an application for PSLF and that your application was denied. You’ll receive an email from TEPSLF@myfedloan.org notifying you of the results of the initial check and what the next steps are.
You’ll receive one of the following messages:
- You’re being considered for TEPSLF: If you previously applied for PSLF and were denied, FedLoan Servicing will review your case and contact you when it’s finished or if it needs additional information.
- You have a PSLF application under review: If you have a PSLF application currently under review and are denied, FedLoan Servicing will automatically review your case for TEPSLF. It will contact you once the review is complete.
- You are not eligible for TEPSLF at this time: If you didn’t apply for PSLF in the past and have your application denied, you’ll receive a message notifying you that you’re ineligible for TEPSLF.
If you have questions about TEPSLF or can’t email FedLoan Servicing, contact FedLoan Servicing at 1-855-265-4038.
Although this new process could help thousands of borrowers, it’s not a fix for everyone. If you’re struggling with student loans and don’t qualify for PSLF or TEPSLF, check out our guide on how to pay off your loans faster.
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