Stafford Loans qualify for PSLF, but not automatically. They must be consolidated into a Direct Loan before being eligible for forgiveness.
During the pandemic, the federal government temporarily simplified the tricky eligibility criteria that blocked many public servants from getting their loans forgiven after a decade of working full-time for the government or a nonprofit organization. The changes have allowed tens of thousands of active duty military service members, teachers, police officers, and others to qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program — even those who borrowed Stafford Loans.
Related: How the PSLF Temporary Waiver Works
Stafford Loans are a type of federal student loan that the Education Department used to offer undergraduate student loans. The loans were made under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program.
There are two types of Stafford Loans: Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans. Both types of Stafford Loans qualify for PSLF, but you’ll need to consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan before they can be forgiven.
When you consolidate, you’re usually not allowed to count the monthly payments you made before you consolidated as a qualifying payment for PSLF. But for a limited time, the Biden administration is doing away with that penalty.
If you submit a consolidation on studentaid.gov before midnight on Oct. 31, 2022, you’ll not only get retroactive PSLF credit for those payments, but you’ll also receive credit for some of the time your loans were in forbearance and deferment.
Learn More: What is an FFELP Stafford Subsidized Loan?