The Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program was created to enable more graduates to pursue careers in public service. Under the program, you may qualify for cancellation (forgiveness) of your remaining loan debt after you make 120 qualifying payments on eligible federal student loans while working full-time in a qualifying public service job.
- Employment Certification for Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness
- Department of Education's Letter to Borrowers regarding the process
- U.S. Department of Education's Fact Sheet
You must be employed full-time at a qualifying public service organization while making the required 120 payments, at the time you apply for loan forgiveness, and at the time the loan is forgiven. Under guidelines established by the US Department of Education, it is the borrower's responsibility to retain documentation that will support their request for loan forgiveness to include:
- The Employment Certification for Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness will assist you with your documentation.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness is available for non-defaulted Direct Loans only. (Direct Subsidized Stafford, Direct Unsubsidized Stafford, Direct PLUS/Grad PLUS loans, Direct Consolidation Loans) Borrowers with FFEL* or Perkins loans may qualify by consolidating these loans into the Federal Direct Loan Program. Payments made on the FFEL or Perkins loans made before you consolidate into the Direct Loan Program are not counted toward the required 120 monthly payments.
*FFEL Loans (Federal Family Education Loan program) are funded through a bank, credit union, or other lender that participates in the program. Direct Loans are funded by the federal government. Seton Hall Law students who borrowed a federal loan between 2002 to 2010 have FFEL loans.
Only payments made on Direct Loans after Oct. 1, 2007 may be counted towards the required 120 payments for public service loan forgiveness. The 120 required payments do not have to be consecutive, but they do need to be made ON-TIME. The payments must be made under one of the following payment plans:
- Income Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
- Income Contingent Repayment Plan
- Standard Repayment Plan
Any other Direct Loan Program repayment plan, but only payments that are at least equal to the monthly payment amount that would have been required under the Standard Repayment Plan with a 10-year repayment period may be counted toward the required 120 payments.
Note: While payments made under the Standard 10-Year Repayment Plan are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, if a borrower makes all required payments under a 10-year plan, there will not be any remaining balance to be forgiven. However, some borrowers may have made payments under a Standard Plan for a portion of the 120 months and made the remaining payments under either IBR or ICR, leaving them with a remaining balance after 120 payments have been made. While payments under certain other repayment plans may be counted toward the required 120 payments, to receive any forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program it is likely that borrowers must make at least some loan payments under IBR or ICR.
The borrower must be employed full-time by a public service organization, or must be serving in a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position. Examples of public service organizations are: federal, state, or local government organization, agency or entity (includes most public schools, colleges and universities), a public child or family service agency, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.