The PSLF Program gives tax-free student loan forgiveness to teachers who work full-time for a public school or a charter or private school that’s a qualified nonprofit organization. You’re eligible for it even if the school you taught at wasn’t in a Title I, low-income area.
Teach full-time for a public school or qualifying nonprofit organization. If you leave the classroom to work as an administrator or counselor, you remain eligible.
Have loans made under the Direct Loan Program, including Direct Consolidation Loans and Parent PLUS Loans. If you have other types of loans — FFEL and Perkins Loans — you can consolidate them to become eligible.
Make 10 years’ worth of payments under an income-driven repayment plan. The payments don’t have to be consecutive. You’re still eligible if you take a deferment or forbearance or if you take time off.
Who PSLF works best for: Educators with high federal student loan balances benefit the most from this program. While other forgiveness options cap the amount of debt that can be discharged, PSLF wipes out all of your debt after making the qualifying payments.
How to apply: Submit an employment certification form from each school you’ve worked full-time at since October 2007 to the company that currently oversees the program, FedLoan Servicing. The Department of Education will be switching responsibility to a new loan servicer in the coming months, MOHELA. Although you’re not required, you can submit the form every year when you complete the annual IDR recertification.
After you’ve made your final qualifying payment, you’ll submit the Public Service Loan Forgiveness application. You can click here to learn more about how to apply for PSLF.
Previously denied PSLF? The U.S. Department of Education recently took a chainsaw to the program to temporarily clear the way for many previously denied borrowers. Following this massive PSLF update, you can receive retroactive credit for payments made toward the wrong type of loans, late payments, and payments for less than the full amount. This limited waiver might allow retired teachers to qualify for student loan forgiveness if they made 120 qualifying payments before retiring.
Learn More: Are FFEL Loans Eligible for PSLF?
Many teachers are eligible for all three student loan forgiveness programs. But you can’t take advantage of them at the same time. So if you owe a lot of student loan debt, focus on qualifying for the program that offers the most relief: Public Service Loan Forgiveness.