Of all the loan forgiveness programs for professors, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is the most powerful. Under the PSLF Program, the U.S. Department of Education offers higher education educators, professionals, and faculty members the chance to have their entire federal student loan balance forgiven.
Your school qualifies for the PSLF Program if:
It’s a government organization. State schools, community colleges, tribal institutions, public schools, etc., all qualify.
It’s a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Many private, not-for-profit colleges are a 501(c)(3). Check with your school’s HR Department to confirm the school’s nonprofit status.
If you’re interested in applying for PSLF, follow these steps:
Confirm you have Direct Loans: you can check the type of federal student loans you have at studentaid.gov. Only Federal Direct Loans qualify for the PSLF Program. Federal Perkins Loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFELP) are ineligible for the program. Also, there’s no way to get retroactive credit for those loans. The only way you can PSLF forgiveness for FFEL and Perkins Loans is to consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan.
Enroll in an IDR Plan: you have to be in a qualifying repayment plan. All income-driven repayment plans (IBR, REPAYE, PAYE, etc.) are qualifying repayment plans. If you made monthly payments under a different plan (e.g., Standard Repayment Plan), you may be able to get credit for those payments under the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
Work full-time: you need to work at least 30 hours a week on average. Part-time employment can qualify if you work at two different schools that qualify for PSLF.
Register for the PSLF Program: although not required, the best practice is to submit a PSLF Employment Certification Form each year when you submit your annual recertification for an income-driven repayment plan to your student loan servicer.
Make 120 payments: you have to make 120 qualifying payments before meeting the eligibility requirements for forgiveness. Your payment qualifies if it is made within 15 days of the due date. Because of this rule, there’s no way to meet the forgiveness criteria faster.
How are hours calculated for adjunct professors for student loan forgiveness? Adjunct faculty can qualify for the PSLF Program so long as they work an average of 30 hours per week at qualifying employers. You can combine hours from two or more colleges to satisfy the 30-hour requirement.
PSLF Limited Waiver Opportunity
On October 6, 2021, the Department of Education announced a change to PSLF program rules through October 31, 2022, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now through Halloween 2022, you can receive credit towards PSLF and TEPSLF for past payments made on loans that otherwise might not qualify for PSLF.
Past payments may now count as qualifying payments. Loan type, repayment plan, full payments, and on-time payments are no longer barriers for PSLF. The only thing you now need is qualifying employment.
Learn More: PSLF Limited Waiver Opportunity