Public Service Loan Forgiveness
By Donna Herron, Fort Bliss Legal Assistance Office
There are temporary changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that are effective from Oct. 22, 2021, to Oct. 31, 2022. The basic rules remain the same: If you make 120 consecutive, monthly (i.e., for 10 years) on-time “qualifying” loan payments while working full time in public service, the remaining balance of the loan is forgiven. The temporary change opens a waiver period from Oct. 22, 2021, to Oct. 31, 2022, to allow almost all federal loans to be a “qualifying” loan. What also makes this waiver so great is that it is retroactive, meaning that monthly payments that previously did not count will now receive credit. Payments made to loan types that did not previously count also will now count.
Any on-time payment made will now qualify regardless of the plan. The only loan plan that will not qualify is the Parent Plus loans. Previously, only direct loan or direct consolidation loans were qualifying. You could have made 10 years of loan payments either on a non-qualifying plan or non-qualifying loan type and not be 120 payments closer to forgiveness.
Please note that you must apply for the waiver program on the Department of Education’s website to take advantage of this opportunity. However, at the time of your application, you must have a direct loan or direct consolidation loan that can include all the loan types that did not qualify before. Please also be aware that your interest rate will more than likely change. If you are positive you already have the required 120 on-time payments, you may request a forbearance while your application is pending. The website is: https://studentaid.gov/pslf/. You will need to create an account.
Once you create your account, you can look up your loans and choose a loan servicer. If you do not already have a direct loan or direct consolidation loan, you must do so before completing enrollment by going to: http://studentaid.gov/app/launchConsolidation.action. Once you complete enrollment, a certification form will be generated for signature to verify your employment. In the future, the Department of Education will automatically be able to check and certify employment status of military and federal workers. Until then, you will need to continue to self-certify.
If you have more questions about this topic, please schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney at the Fort Bliss Legal Assistance Office by either calling (915) 568-7141 during office hours or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org anytime, or go to: https://studentaid.gov/pslf/.