If you’re concerned about your student loan repayment plans and finances, especially with the resumption of federal student loan repayment in January 2023, you might be exploring different options such as refinancing or deferment. However, if you work as a university employee, it may be worth considering the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, as it could potentially save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
The main purpose of the PSLF program is to forgive any remaining balance on your loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments. These payments need to be made under a qualifying repayment plan while you were employed full-time by a qualifying employer.
To be eligible, your loans must be Direct Loans. However, if you have FFEL or Perkins loans, you can consolidate them into a Direct Loan to meet the eligibility requirements.
Temporary adjustments have been made due to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing certain payments that would not normally qualify for PSLF to be credited until October 31, 2022. This includes payments made on FFEL or Perkins loans before consolidation, even if you were on the wrong repayment plan. For more information on these waived requirements, you can visit the official Student Aid website.
It’s important to note that it’s not necessarily the specific job that makes you eligible for student loan forgiveness, but rather the nature of your employer’s services and how the IRS classifies them.
There are different classifications of qualifying employers:
Working for any government agency at the federal, state, local, or tribal level can make you eligible for student loan forgiveness.
Nonprofit organizations that are considered tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code are eligible employers for student loan forgiveness.
Essential Service Providers
Employers in essential fields such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, military, public health, public education, law enforcement, and fire protection are also qualifying employers for PSLF.
Contractors or Companies
Contractors or companies that work for any of the aforementioned qualifying employers can also make you eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Qualifying as a University Employee
For the PSLF program, qualifying employers are defined as:
- Government organizations at any level (U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal), including the U.S. military
- Not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
When applying for PSLF, your specific job description (such as teacher, administrator, or support staff) doesn’t matter as long as your employer meets the qualifying requirements. Public elementary and secondary schools, as well as public colleges and universities, fall under the first category. Even if you work at a private elementary and secondary school or college and university, you may still qualify for PSLF as long as the school is a not-for-profit organization. If it operates for profit, it does not qualify as an eligible employer.
In addition to working for a qualifying employer, you must also be working full-time. This can be defined either based on your employer’s definition of full-time or as working for at least 30 hours per week, whichever is greater. If you have multiple part-time jobs that add up to at least 30 hours per week and each employer is a qualifying employer, you may still be eligible for PSLF.
The Application Process for PSLF
If you work for a qualifying employer, you can take advantage of the PSLF program by following these steps:
1. Consolidate your loans into a Direct Loan as soon as possible.
2. Sign up for a qualifying repayment program, such as an income-driven repayment plan, that best fits your current and projected future income.
3. Submit a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) & Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification & Application, which can be found on the Student Aid website.
By following these steps, you can determine if you’re on track for loan forgiveness and ensure that you meet all the requirements for PSLF.
Let Us Help You!
At Chipper, we specialize in student loan forgiveness. If you work for a qualifying employer, our experts can guide you through the application process and help you meet all the requirements for PSLF. We pride ourselves on our 100% success rate and offer flexible pricing options to make our expert guidance accessible to all borrowers.
With Chipper’s help, you can breathe easier knowing that your student loan repayment and debt can become one less thing to worry about on your path to financial freedom!
Take Advantage of Waived Requirements
If you’re interested in the PSLF program, it’s best to apply as early as possible, especially while certain requirements are temporarily waived. Consolidate your loans into a Direct Loan and enroll in a qualifying repayment program, such as an income-driven plan, to maximize the benefits of PSLF. To determine your eligibility for PSLF, submit a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) & Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification & Application, which is available on the Student Aid website.