Back in 2007, the public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) program was signed into law by then-president George W. Bush. It allows for certain “not-for-profit and government employees to have their federal student loans canceled after 10 years of on-time payments.” We will be discussing this program and how it potentially may be going away.
To get into this program there are three basic requirements. First, your loans must be federal direct loans. Second, your employer must be a government organization or some type of not-for-profit organization with a purpose to provide public service. And lastly, by the end of it all, you will have had to pay at least 120 qualifying, on-time payments while on an income-based income repayment plan or the standard available repayment plan.
Myths Surrounding the PSLF Program
Other things that you should also we be aware of is that forgiveness does not happen after a specified time, such as the commonly hear 10 years, but rather how many payments you have made. Also, if you do meet all the requirements and have your debt forgiven, it is done so tax-free.
Another myth that has been floated around is that you go back to zero if you switch jobs or you miss a payment. Your qualifying payments actually do not need to consecutive according to student loan expert Mark Kantrowitz. And finally, if you are unsure whether or not your job qualifies, the best way is to fill out an employer certification to get your job certified. You could do this later down the line after making your payments, but it is better to do it as you go since a previous employer may not exist in the future.
The End of PSLF?
The Trump Administration has outlined plans to ax the PSLF program, which we covered before in this article. There is still a great deal of confusion on what this will mean for those who are still in the program or for any new borrowers. As recommended by Student Loan Hero, one should weigh whether it is worth it to take a lower paying job for the sake of getting loan forgiveness. If you can get a higher paying private sector job, this may be better in the long run for it will enable you to pay off your student loan debts faster than you would otherwise.