Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness
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.
Seton Hall's Public Interest Loan Repayment Program
Public service is an important part of Seton Hall Law School’s mission. The increasing costs of undergraduate and law school education have caused many law students to graduate with a large burden of educational debt. Legal employment in the public service sector often comes with low salaries, at least in the early years. Law graduates are thus likely to feel financially constrained in choosing to pursue a career in public interest law.
To make entry into a public interest career easier, Seton Hall Law School created a Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Program (PILRAP). PILRAP loans offer graduates interested in public interest law the ability to receive a low-interest loan from Seton Hall Law to assist the participant in making payments on his or her student loans.
PILRAP is available to those who are employed as an attorney with a qualifying public interest organization. A qualifying public interest organization is defined as a not-for-profit organization that provides, directly or through public policy efforts, advocacy advancing the interests of those traditionally underserved by the legal system, or an organization (whether government or not-for-profit) that provides constitutionally mandated services to criminal defendants. It is also limited to those with demonstrated financial need, as evidenced by educational debt and available financial resources. The PILRAP loan amount is determined by the graduate’s level of indebtedness and the adjusted gross income and assets of the graduate and his or her spouse (if applicable). The maximum qualifying income for the 2012 period is $60,000. The funding available for PILRAP is limited. In the event funding is not available to fully fund all eligible applicants, a committee appointed by the Associate Dean will allocate the available funding in a manner that maximizes the goals of the program.
The updated PILRAP application is posted @ November 1 annually, and is due on November 30.
Along with the completed application, the applicant will be required to provide a copy of their most recent tax return, verification of employment/position, as well as student loan debt repayment information. Applicants must reapply each year. All recipients are obliged to submit an annual report to the Office of Enrollment Services.
FEDERAL PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN FORGIVENESS (PSLF) AND PILRAP
Graduates may take advantage of Seton Hall Law’s PILRAP program as well as the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Graduates who intend to pursue a career in public service and pursue federal public service loan forgiveness must consolidate their FFELP loans (federal loans borrowed from SHL prior to Fall 2010) into the Direct Loan Program and are encouraged to choose Income Based Repayment (IBR) to lower their monthly student loan payments. Additional information may be found at the following websites: www.ibrinfo.org, http://studentaid.ed.gov , and http://www.equaljusticeworks.org (Debt Relief Page).
For additional information on Seton Hall Law's PILRAP program, please contact:
Karen Sokol, Assistant Dean for Enrollment Management