Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

Many library workers can qualify for student loan forgiveness under the right conditions. While the parameters of this forgiveness program can change based on the whims of Congress, it’s important to be aware of what forgiveness programs are currently available to see if you might qualify.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

At publication, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) forgives any remaining balance on Direct Loans (loans received under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program) after you’ve made 120 qualifying monthly payments. That means the 120 payments don’t start until you qualify for this program, which requires you to work full-time at a government, not-for-profit 501(c)(3), or other qualified public service non-profit organization.

If you have more than one loan or any loans received as a Federal Family Education Loan or Federal Perkins Loan, these do not qualify for the PSLF program. They can, however, be consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan, which would qualify. The 120 payments would start after the consolidation and any payments made beforehand would not count towards the program.

Qualifying payments do not have to be consecutive, but the loan cannot be defaulted on. You must utilize an income-driven repayment plan and have a remaining balance after the 10 years of payments. Also payments made before October 1, 2007, do not qualify.

If you’re planning to utilize the PSLF, you will need to complete and submit the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form each year or whenever you change employers. This form allows the Department of Education to track whether your loan payments are considered qualified under the program. Once you’ve made the final 120th payment, you then would submit the PSLF application for loan forgiveness.

The student loan forgiveness programs are often complicated and frustrating because the rules can change frequently. To find out more about the current state of the Student Loan Forgiveness Program, visit the Federal Student Aid website here.