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Exploring Loan Forgiveness Programs For Public Service Careers

Exploring Loan Forgiveness Programs For Public Service Careers

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Exploring Loan Forgiveness Programs For Public Service Careers

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Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a federal student loan forgiveness plan. The PSLF program forgives remaining student loan balances for borrowers in the Direct Loan program after 120 monthly payments that qualify under the Income Repayment Plan (IDR).

During the repayment period, PSLF participants must work full-time for an eligible employer. Eligible employers include US government organizations (federal, state, local or tribal) and nonprofit organizations with valid 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service.

If you qualify, this program can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars on your student loans, so it’s worth finding out if you qualify.

Exploring Loan Forgiveness Programs For Public Service Careers

To begin working toward PSLF, borrowers must meet all program requirements from the outset.

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To ensure that you are prepared for success with PSLF, the US Department of Education recommends that you complete a certification and application for PSLF and Temporary Extended PSLF (TEPSLF) each year or each time you change employers. Both forms are included in the same application which can be found on the Department for Education website.

The Department of Education uses the information on this form to let you know if payments you make are eligible to count toward PSLF. If not, you’ll have to take steps to get on track with PSLF before you can start making any progress.

Once you are on track for PSLF and qualify for the program, you will need to make 120 qualifying payments. After that, all remaining loan balances will be forgiven. Best of all, you don’t have to pay income taxes on forgiven loan amounts.

If you have a significant amount of student loan debt, Public Service Loan Forgiveness can potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars. PSLF can also knock years (or decades) off your repayment timeline.

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Keep in mind that you can pay off your student loans on an income-based repayment plan without pursuing PSLF, which is a better option for people who don’t meet the career requirements. Under an IDR plan, your monthly payments will adjust based on your annual income and family size, but you’ll pay off your loans for 20 to 25 years before your loans are forgiven.

Before your loans are forgiven, make sure you qualify for PSLF. You’ll need to work full-time for a qualified employer, have direct loans under an income-based repayment plan, and make 120 qualifying payments to have the rest of your loans forgiven.

Qualified employment means you work for any US government agency at the federal, state, local, or tribal level. You can also work for 501(c)(3) nonprofits or volunteer for AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps.

Exploring Loan Forgiveness Programs For Public Service Careers

You will need to work either as a full-time employee or at least 30 hours per week (whichever is greater). You may qualify if you work multiple qualifying part-time jobs as long as you average at least 30 hours per week with your employers.

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All Federal Direct Loans qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, but FFEL and Federal Perkins loans do not. However, there is a solution. If you consolidate FFELs or Perkins Loans (or both) into a direct consolidation loan, they may become eligible. Private student loans are not eligible for PSLF.

To qualify for PSLF, you need to make at least 120 qualifying payments toward your student loans. While making those payments, you must be enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan (IDR) that bases your payment size on your monthly income. The four most common IDR plans are:

Only if you consolidate non-eligible loans into a direct consolidation loan

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