THE PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN FORGIVENESS WAIVER: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The changes to PSLF will exist only until October 31, 2022. Make sure you are getting the student debt relief you deserve.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSFL) program was created in 2007 to forgive the federal student debt of public employees, including teachers, faculty, and education support professionals, who provide 10 years of service and make 120 monthly payments on their student loans.

However, before the current waiver over 90 percent of forgiveness applications were denied and public service workers paid interest on debts that should have been canceled.

The Biden administration’s overhaul fixes some of the technicalities and will mean debt forgiveness right away for tens of thousands of public service workers and eventual forgiveness for many more. Eventually, hundreds of thousands of educators could become eligible for loan forgiveness during this waiver period.

What public service workers need to do before October 31, 2022:

Go to studentaid.gov/pslf, login with your Federal Student Aid ID (or create one if you do not have one) and make sure contact information is up to date.  The U.S. Department of Education uses this as their primary method of contact to reach you about the progress of your PSLF application.

  • If you have a Direct Loan, have made 120 payments, and have applied for PSLF since October 6, 2021, you should receive automatic forgiveness or updates about your payment count soon.
  • If you have a Direct Loan and have NOT applied for PSLF since October 6, 2021, you need to apply for PSLF immediately, even if you haven’t reached 120 payments yet.
  • If you have a FFEL or Perkins loan, you must first consolidate into a Direct Loan, then apply for PSLF before the waiver period ends on October 31, 2022.

To begin your PSLF application, visit studentaid.gov/pslf to use the Department of Education’s PSLF Help Tool.

Note: You should submit the PSLF application even if you have not yet made 120 qualifying payments or reached 10 years of service.

Submitting the application will help confirm you are on the right track by ensuring you are making qualifying payments and working for a qualifying employer. It will also allow Federal Student Aid (FSA) to alert you if any changes are necessary and, under the temporary waiver, ensure any payments you’ve made that qualify under the temporary waiver but would not otherwise qualify under the regular PSLF requirements are counted toward your total.

In April 2022, the Department of Education announced that periods of forbearance of 12 or more consecutive months or 36 or more cumulative months will be automatically credited to PSLF counts. Shorter periods of forbearance may be eligible for PSLF credit as well, but you must submit a complaint with the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Ombudsman for an account review and explain that you were steered into forbearance by your servicer.

Need help? NEA members can get free support through the NEA Student Debt Navigator. Experts will offer help with applying for PSLF and can answer any questions about your student debt.

Still Have Questions? View NEA’s FAQ on the PSLF Waiver.