The Department of Education has officially released the application for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
October of 2017 marks ten years since the program was created and the borrowers who immediately enrolled will be eligible to apply.
If you are at or near your ten years of public service, the application for forgiveness can be found here. If you still have a bit longer to go before you reach your ten years, we encourage you to submit an employer certification form.
It is worth noting that the public service loan forgiveness application and the employer certification form are nearly identical. While sending in yearly employer certification forms are not a requirement for public service loan forgiveness, these certifications remain the best and most efficient way to make sure you are on your way towards getting your debt discharged.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Basics
Borrowers interested in qualifying for public service loan forgiveness need to meet three basic requirements.
- Eligible Federal Loans – Not all federal loans are eligible for public service loan forgiveness. Ineligible loans include FFEL loans, Perkins Loans, Stafford Loans, and certain PLUS loans. While these loans can be made eligible through federal direct consolidation, borrowers start at zero in their question for PSLF.
- Eligible Repayment Plans – The standard repayment plan as well as all of the income-driven repayment plans are eligible. Notable plans that are not eligible include graduated repayment and extended repayment. If you are on an ineligible plan, your time in public service will not count.
- Eligible Employer – a 501(c)(3) and government employer will count. Private not-for-profits get a little more complicated, but most PSLF borrowers will qualify as employees of a 501(c)(3) or the government.
For more detailed information be sure to check out our article on the basics and fine print of public service loan forgiveness.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Application Warning
Many borrowers mistakenly believe that their time working in public interest will count towards loan forgiveness. These borrowers may have ineligible loans or be on the wrong repayment plan. The eligibility confusion is so widespread that more than 1 in 3 applications are rejected when borrowers submit an employer certification form.
This high rejection rate is why it is so important to be submitting employer certification forms. By submitting an employer certification form a borrower not only makes a record of their public service employment, but they also verify that their loans and repayment plans are eligible. If their is an issue, it can be corrected earlier.
Borrowers who have not submitted any employment certification forms prior to applying for loan forgiveness would be wise to try not to get their hopes up. We expect the denial rate to be similar or even exceed the denial rate on the employer certification forms.
Why is the Form Release Significant?
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program went into effect almost exactly 10 years ago. Soon we will see the first borrowers get their loans discharged under the program. This event should give hope to many borrowers who are struggling with their student loans, especially those who took smaller salaries to work in public service.