Learn more about student loan forgiveness
Did you know?
Nearly 33% of all American students must now go into debt to get through college.2
The average student loan debt reached a record high of $38,792 in 2020.
Collectively, students owe nearly $1.6 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.3
Frequently asked questions4
Overview of Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program
What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program?
PSLF program is a government program that can offer debt relief to qualified borrowers working in public service jobs such as educators and other public employees. The PSLF Program forgives some or all of the remaining balance on a borrower’s Direct Loans after they have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.
What are the eligibility requirements for the PSLF program?
- Employment: Borrower must work full time in Public Service which is non- profit 501(c)(3), military, public schools, non-profit hospitals, or government.
- Loan type: Borrower must have qualifying federal direct loans.
- Private student loans aren’t eligible.
- Other types of federal student loans - Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) loans or Perkins loans — can be consolidated to make them PSLF-eligible; however, consolidating your direct loans into a new direct consolidation loan will restart the payment counter so you may lose that progress if you have already made payments that count towards the 120.
- Payment plan: Loan repayment plan type must be one of the four Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans (Revised Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE), Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE), Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR), and Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR)) or the 10-year standard repayment. Graduated and extended repayment plans do not qualify.
- Payments: 120 on-time payments under qualifying payment plans (not necessarily consecutive)
Do I need to have a 403(b) or 457 to qualify for PSLF?
There is no requirement to have a 403(b) or 457 to qualify but enrolling in 403(b) / 457 and/or increasing contribution amounts to a retirement plan may lower your Adjusted Gross Income which can increase total amount forgiven. Saving for retirement is a great way to supplement your pension and prepare for retirement while potentially lowering monthly student loan payments.
How much debt can be forgiven?
Forgiveness varies from borrower to borrower but there is no limit on the forgiveness amount, and it is forgiven tax free.
Are Parent Plus Loans eligible for PSLF?
No, Parent PLUS loans are not eligible for PSLF; however, once your loans are consolidated, you can apply for the program. To obtain forgiveness you must:
- Consolidate the Parent PLUS loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan
- Switch to ICR plan and make payments on that new Consolidation Loan for 10 years
- Work full-time at a qualifying 501c3 or government employer
How do I know what kind of loans I have?
- You will first need to log in or create an account at studentaid.gov to obtain your FSA ID. Then login and go to the “My Aid” page to see the list of your loans. It should contain current loans and any others that you have repaid or consolidated into new loans.
- Any FFEL loans should begin with those initials. You might have Perkins Loans which are also eligible for forgiveness. Lastly, you may see loans that begin with the word “Direct.” Direct loans are already eligible for PSLF.
Can I apply for PSLF with my current servicer?
Borrowers can apply for Income Driven Repayment with their current servicer but to fully enroll in PSLF you will need to go to studentaid.gov and follow the enrollment steps.
How does filing separately impact forgiveness amount?
Tax filing status can have an impact on forgiveness amount.
If I leave my job with a qualifying public service employer before 10 years are up, will I be able to get partial forgiveness?
No, borrowers must complete the full 120 payments while employed with a qualifying employer.
Is PSLF different than Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF)?
Yes - the TLF program has a maximum forgiveness amount of $17,500 and is only available to borrowers that have been employed full-time as a teacher for at least 5 consecutive years in elementary or secondary school or agency that serves low-income. You cannot receive credit toward Teacher Loan Forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) for the same period.
What other options do I have if I do not qualify for PSLF?
- Explore other federal loan forgiveness program such as Teacher Loan Forgiveness.
- Stay on income-driven repayment which, depending on the plan, will forgive your remaining balance after 20 or 25 years.
- Consider refinancing your student loan to lower your interest rate. Please note that once you refinance your federal loans, they are no longer eligible for forgiveness programs or income-driven repayment.
What is the limited PSLF waiver? What actions should I take related to this waiver?
- Dept. of Education announced a limited waiver opportunity from October 6th 2021 to October 31st 2022.
- For a limited time, borrowers may receive credit for past periods of repayment on loans that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF.
- Payments made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program or Perkins will potentially be counted towards forgiveness as long as the loan is consolidated into the Direct Loan program (via studentaid.gov) and a PSLF form has been submitted prior to 10/31/2022.
- This does not apply to previous payments made on Parent PLUS loans, but those loans can still be consolidated into Direct loans to qualify going forward. Private loans remain ineligible for PSLF.
- Past periods of repayment will now count towards forgiveness regardless of whether they made a payment, made that payment on time, for the full amount due, or on a qualifying repayment plan. Partial payments, and those that you made in an extended repayment plan, will get retroactive credit.
Enrolling in PSLF
1 This calculator is for general illustrative purposes only and is available here for your independent use. Its results and output are not intended,
and should not be relied on, as investment, financial, insurance, tax, accounting or legal advice, or as a recommendation of any kind.
We encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding all personal finance issues, including the potential
for student loan forgiveness. All calculator results are based on information and assumptions provided by you. Actual results will vary. The
calculator does not guarantee that a particular outcome will occur.
2 Investopedia, Student Loan Debt. September 2021.
3 Experian, Student Loan Debt Reaches Record High in 2020: February 2021.
4 Securities offered through Equitable Advisors, LLC (NY, NY) (212) 314-4600, member FINRA, SIPC (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI & TN). Investment advisory products and services offered through Equitable Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor. Annuity and insurance products offered through Equitable Network, LLC.
Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (Equitable Financial) (NY, NY), Equitable Advisors, LLC (NY, NY (212) 314-4600), member FINRA, SIPC (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI & TN), and its associates do not provide tax or legal advice and the information provided is general in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Please consult with an attorney, tax professional, or other advisor regarding your specific legal or tax situation.
The calculations from the tool are accessible to you through a third-party vendor arrangement with StudentLoan Tech, LLC. StudentLoan Tech is not affiliated with Equitable Financial, Equitable Advisors or its affiliated companies and neither Equitable Financial, Equitable Advisors nor its financial professionals are responsible for the output data or the determination of your eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Those services are the sole responsibility of StudentLoan Tech, LLC. Equitable Advisors, Equitable Financial and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the output provided by StudentLoan Tech. Please note that you are not obligated to enroll for the PSLF program or to use StudentLoan Tech or any other service to enroll in the PSLF program. You can enroll in the PSLF program on the federal government website free of charge. Further, the PSLF program is available whether or not you participate in a retirement plan.
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