There’s $350 million in student loan forgiveness available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Here’s what you need to know and how to apply.
Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education added a page to its website with details of the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 appropriated $350 million in funds for student loan borrowers who previously chose an ineligible repayment plan as part of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
If you meet all the requirements for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, but were enrolled in an ineligible repayment plan (namely the graduated or extended repayment plans),
The funds are available until they are exhausted.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is a federal program that forgives federal student loans for borrowers who are employed full-time (more than 30 hours per week)
More than 700,000 borrowers have completed an employment certification form for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. However, many don’t meet the requirements.
Here’s what you need to know to ensure that you qualify:
1. You must work for a qualifying public service employer in a qualifying public service role
You must work in a qualifying public service role for a qualifying employer. Typically, there are two general types:
– state, local and federal government
– 501(c)(3) non-profit
If you work for another employer not covered under these two categories, you can contact the U.S. Department of Education to determine if your role and organization qualify.
2. You must have direct, federal student loans
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program does not forgive private student loans – even if you work in public service.
If you work in the private sector or work for a non-profit in a non-public service role, you will not qualify for this program. You must have Direct, federal student loans such as Stafford loans to qualify.
You can confirm with your student loan servicer that you have Direct student loans, or check through Federal Student Aid.
You also can consolidate your federal student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan with the federal government to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
3. You must be enrolled in a federal repayment program
You also must be enrolled in an income-driven federal repayment program. You then must make 120 on-time, monthly payments (over 10 years) to qualify.
You can determine which student loan repayment plan works best for you with these student loan calculators.
4. You must have applied for Public Service Loan Forgiveness and have been rejected
You must have had your application denied only because some or all of your payments were not made under a qualifying repayment plan for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
What are the additional qualifying repayment plans?
The Education Department will reconsider your application with an expanded list of qualifying repayment plans, even if these repayment plans do not usually count under Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
The additional qualifying repayment plans include the Graduated Repayment Plan, Extended Repayment Plan, Consolidation Standard Repayment Plan and Consolidation Graduated Repayment Plan.
Here is a sample template email that you can use:
Subject: TEPSLF request
I request that the U.S. Department of Education respectfully reconsider my eligibility for public service loan forgiveness.
Name: [Enter the same name under which you submitted your Public Service Loan Forgiveness application]
Date of Birth: [Enter your date of birth in MM/DD/YYYY format]
Thank you for your consideration.
You will receive a response from FedLoan Servicing once your request has been reviewed. Separately, you can contact FedLoan Servicing at 1-855-265-4038 from 8 a.m.– 9 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday.
Can Your Loan Be Forgiven Under This Program Even If You Don’t Work In Public Service?
While your student loans won’t be forgiven, you may be able to lower your interest rate through student loan refinancing. A lower interest rate can save substantial interest payments over the life of your student loans.
With student loan refinance, you can combine your existing private student loans and/or federal student loans into a new, single student loan with a lower interest rate and one monthly payment.
You won’t have access to federal repayment plans and benefits, but many private student loan lenders now offer forbearance and deferral programs for economic hardship.
With student loan refinancing, depending on your current interest rate, loan balance, income and credit profile, you could receive a lower interest rate that could help you save substantially. The higher your loan balance, the more you can potentially save.