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Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is the largest federal program dedicated to forgiving your student loans. Learn about the qualifying public service jobs in the program and what steps you need to take to wipe away your student loans.

The National Center for Education Statistics states the average college student accumulates $7,100 per year in student loan debt while completing a four-year bachelor's degree. Often times, finding a way to pay back federal student loans can be a challenge. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, or PSLF, offers student loan forgiveness for some public service workers who meet certain eligibility criteria.

The following jobs qualify for the PSLF:

  • Full-time with a federal, state or local government agency, entity or organization
  • Full-time with a nonprofit organization, designated as tax exempt by the IRS
  • Full-time with a certain for-profit organizations depending upon their 501 (c)(3) tax status

It is your responsibility to track your employment timeframes as you relocate. The Department of Education offers the PSLF Help Tool to help you understand more about the program and what you need to do to participate. 

Only William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans are eligible for forgiveness under the PSLF program. Other loan programs, such as the Federal Perkins Loan or the Federal Family Education Loan, do not qualify for this program, but you may be able to consolidate these loans into a William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan, making them eligible. Find out more about consolidating your current loan program.

If you are employed in a qualifying public service job, you must make 120 on-time, full, scheduled monthly payments, according to your repayment plan, before your loan can be forgiven. Types of payment plans include Income-based Repayment Plan, Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan, Revised Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan and Income-contingent Repayment Plan. If you are unsure of the type of repayment plan you have, you can check by visiting the National Student Loan Data System. You can also use the PSLF Form to keep track of the periods of qualifying employment and qualifying payments.

Many public service professions accommodate the mobile military life and may even offer a military spouse hiring preference. Make sure to check your eligibility to use this hiring preference when searching for a qualifying job. Visit How to Apply for Department of Defense Jobs as a Military Spouse for additional information on taking advantage of being a military spouse during your job search.

You can also visit Federal Student Aid to find more information on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. For information related to finding qualified employment, visit the Find a Job section of the Career Connections lifecycle stage of MySECO. You can also speak with a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website.

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