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Federal Student Loan Forgiveness

Student loan repayments are scheduled to resume in September 2022 after a two-year pause.

IF YOU WORK IN PUBLIC SERVICE AND OWE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS – LOAN CANCELLATION MAY BE AVAILABLE!

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program guarantees complete student debt forgiveness to those who dedicate a decade or more to working in public service. On October 6, 2021 the Department of Education announced changes to the PSLF program rules for a limited time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under a new, temporary waiver period ending on October 31, 2022, student loan borrowers may receive additional credit for past periods of loan repayment that would otherwise not qualify for forgiveness. Nearly 50,000 borrowers will become eligible for $4.5 billion in loan forgiveness and over 500,000 student loan borrowers will receive additional credit to meet PSLF requirements. SEIU members will need to take action during the temporary waiver period to benefit.

Take action by October 31, 2022!

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

  • Make 120 monthly student loan payments
  • Be employed by a government organization at any level (federal, state, local or tribal), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, or other non-profit organization that provides a designated public service, including early childhood education and public health
  • Work full-time
  • Have Direct Loans or consolidate Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), Federal Perkins Loans or other types of federal student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan

 

Which Public Service Loan Forgiveness requirements are temporarily waived?

  • PSLF Rule – Only federal Direct Loans are eligible for forgiveness under PSLF. Student loan payments made on Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), Federal Perkins Loans or other types of federal student loans are not counted towards the 120 payments required under PSLF.
  • Temporary Waiver – If you have FFEL, Perkins, or other federal student loans, you’ll need to consolidate your loans into a Direct Loan to qualify for PSLF both in general and under the temporary waiver period by October 31, 2022. All loan payments made on the FFEL and Perkins loans since October 1, 2007 will be retroactively counted toward the 120 payments required under PSLF, excluding periods of time a loan is in default, deferment or forbearance.
  • PSLF Rule – Only payments made in full and on time on a Direct Loan under a Standard or Income Driven Repayment plan are counted toward the 120 monthly payments required under PSLF.
  • Temporary Waiver – You will receive retroactive credit toward PSLF loan forgiveness for any month during which you had federal loans regardless of whether you made a payment, made that payment on time, for the full amount due, or on a qualifying repayment plan. For example, student loan borrowers will receive credit for each month in which their loan payments were on pause under the COVID-19 Emergency Relief.

 

How do I take advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness temporary waiver? 

The temporary waiver of PSLF requirements is not automatic. SEIU members with federal student loans should take the following steps by October 31, 2022 

  • STEP 1 – Confirm the type of federal student loans you have. To find out, create or log in to your account at StudentAid.gov, go to the My Aid page, or StudentAid.gov/aid-summary/, and go to the Loan Breakdown section, which provides a list of your federal student loans.
  • STEP 2 – If you have Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) or Federal Perkins Loans, you should consolidate these loans into a Direct Loan and enroll in an Income Driven Repayment plan. To consolidate, you’ll have to fill out and submit the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note.
  • STEP 3 – Confirm that your past and present employers qualify as public service employers under PSLF. All government and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations qualify. To check whether your employer qualifies, go to the PSLF Help Tool. There you can see which employers the Department of Education has already said are eligible for PSLF through a searchable database. Once an application is submitted, the Department will notify you of its determination.
  • STEP 4 – If your past or present employers qualify as public service employers, you should file a certification for each. To certify your employment for the first time or to certify portions of your employment you haven’t verified already, go to the PSLF help tool, you’ll be able to print a partially completed PSLF Certification and Application form for you and your employer to sign. You can also fill out the PSLF form by hand, have it signed by your employer, and mail it to the federal student loan servicer for processing.

 

I previously applied for Public Service Loan Forgiveness and was rejected. Are the temporary waivers applied retroactively or do I need to resubmit my PSLF application?

You should resubmit your application during the temporary waiver period to see if you are now eligible under the new program rules. 

 

Can I apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness if my 120 monthly payments will not be completed until after October 31, 2022? 

YES! Even if you do not have 120 qualifying monthly payments at the end of the waiver period, you should submit the PSLF Certification and Application form to learn the number of qualifying payments you have already made. After the required 120 payments are made, you can apply for loan forgiveness.

 

Resources: 

Department of Education –  PSLF Waiver Resource Page

Student Borrowers Protection Center – Accessing PSLF (videos and tutorials)

Department of Education – Guidance for FFEL and Perkins Loan Program Participants on PSLF Waiver

Department of Education – PSLF Waiver Fact Sheet

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