It’s been 10 years since the launch of Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which means some borrowers can finally have their loans forgiven through the program. For the first time since PSLF’s beginning, the application to have their loans eliminated is now available.
Who qualifies for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?
In 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law a bill that made sweeping changes to the student loan system. One of the most notable changes was the launch of Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Under this new program, the government would forgive the loans of individuals who worked for government agencies or nonprofit organizations after 10 years of service.
There are several criteria you must meet to qualify for PSLF:
- Work for a government agency, a tax-exempt non-profit organization, or a non-exempt non-profit that provides public services.
- Be a full-time worker, meaning your employer classifies you as full-time or you work at least 30 hours a week
- Have federal Direct Loan Program loans; other student loans, including private ones, are not eligible.
- Make 120 qualifying payments while working for a PSLF-eligible employer. Qualifying payments include those made under income-driven repayment (IDR) plans.
Only payments made after October 1, 2007, qualify for PSLF. If you worked for a nonprofit organization or government agency and made payments before that date, they do not count toward loan forgiveness.
Currently, there is no cap on how much can be forgiven by the government if you meet the requirements. Your loans will be eliminated after 10 years of qualifying payments.
There are over 600,000 people enrolled in the PSLF program. Although there may be changes to the PSLF program in the future, any changes would only affect new borrowers. Current borrowers are still eligible for PSLF.
How do I know if I meet Public Service Loan Forgiveness’ eligibility requirements?
If you have worked and made payments since 2007 but just heard of the program, you can still apply and qualify for PSLF.
However, if you want to find out if you are eligible, complete and submit the Employment Certification for PSLF form. You can submit the form annually, or whenever you switch employers. Federal student aid representatives will review your forms and tell you if your employer, payments, and loans qualify for PSLF.
That way, you know where you stand and don’t have any nasty surprises after making 10 years of payments.
If your loan servicer is FedLoan Servicing, you can upload the employer verification form on its website. If you have a different loan servicer, complete the form and mail it to:
U.S. Department of Education
P.O. Box 69184
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9184
How do I apply for PSLF?
If you are one of the borrowers eligible for PSLF this month, here is how the process works.
- If you have not submitted an employer certification form, you must fill one out for each year or for every qualifying employer you had over the past 10 years.
- Next, complete the application and send it to: U.S. Department of Education, FedLoan Servicing, P.O. Box 69184, Harrisburg, PA 17106-9184.
- After you submit your application, the Department of Education will enter your loans into forbearance while they review your application unless you note otherwise on the form.
- The Department of Education might contact your employer to ensure you are still working for them.
- If you are eligible for forgiveness, the amount eliminated under PSLF will be the principal balance and interest that accrued as of your last qualifying payment. Made any extra payments? That money will be sent back to you.
- Finally, you will receive notification of your approval in writing. You do not have to make any more payments. It might take a few weeks to process, but after that, your loan balance is zeroed out.
The very first borrowers will be able to submit their applications for PSLF this month, marking the significant impact this program has on both public service and the loan system.
However, if you do not qualify for PSLF, we have a database of over 120 repayment assistance programs you can use to search for initiatives that apply to you.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.23% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 6.23%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|