If you’ve worked in public service for 10 years or more, even non-consecutively, and you started after the PSLF Program began, you could qualify to have all your student debt erased.
Here’s what you need to know:
You Need the Right Job
You have to work for a qualifying employer. This could be:
Any government organization at the federal, state, local, or tribal level.
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit.
Any other nonprofit organizations that don’t have 501(c)(3) status but provide a qualifying public service as their primary purpose.
AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps.
Note that foreign governments and international NGOs usually don’t count.
Related: Do All Nonprofits Qualify for Student Loan Forgiveness?
You Need to Work Full-time
Full-time means at least 30 hours a week. Part-time work can qualify for PSLF under certain conditions. If you have at least two part-time positions with qualifying PSLF employers, and your combined working hours are at least 30 hours per week, you can qualify for PSL
You Need to Pay Under a Qualifying Repayment Plan
To be eligible for PSLF, you’ll generally need to make payments under an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Plan. These plans tailor your monthly payments based on your income and household size. The following IDR plans are compatible with PSLF:
While you could make payments under a 10-Year Standard Repayment Plan, doing so usually leaves no balance to forgive after 120 payments. So it’s often better to switch to an IDR plan. Be cautious, though—some repayment plans don’t qualify for PSLF, like:
Not All Loans Qualify
If you’re eyeing PSLF, know that not all loans are in the game. Here’s the breakdown:
Direct Loans Are Your Best Bet: These are the only loans that naturally qualify for PSLF.
FFEL and Perkins Loans Need a Makeover: Got Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) or Federal Perkins Loans? You’ll need to consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan to be eligible.
Parent PLUS Loans? Consolidate Them Too: If you’re holding Parent PLUS Loans, the same rule applies—consolidate to qualify.
Private Student Loans and Refinanced Debt Are Out: Loans from private lenders like SoFi or Sallie Mae, or any federal loans you’ve refinanced, are not PSLF-eligible.
Related: Do FFEL Loans Qualify for PSLF?
Some rules have changed temporarily due to the Biden administration’s policy shifts. For example, payments under the Graduated or Extended repayment plans now count towards PSLF — but this is a temporary change. We’ll dive deeper into these changes later in the article.