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September 2022Vol. 23, No. 7New Changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Bring Borrowers Closer to Loan Forgiveness

As a result of the financial hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education has temporarily amended rules for qualifying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. According to these changes, employees of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, grant recipients, and partners may now be eligible for PSLF for their important public service, even if they were not eligible before. 

Typically, to qualify for the PSLF program, borrowers must be be employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, or a nonprofit organization that provides a qualifying service (including military service); work full-time for a qualifying organization(s); have direct loans (or consolidate other federal student loans into a direct loan); repay loans under an income-driven repayment plan; and make 120 qualifying payments.

For a limited time under the current PSLF waiver, borrowers may receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF. Past periods of repayment will now count regardless of whether a payment was actually made and whether that payment was made on time, for the full amount due, or under a qualifying repayment plan. Periods of deferment or forbearance, and periods of default, however, continue to not qualify.

ACF has a webpage that has additional information on how to qualify for the PSLF program; resources, including short videos on loan forgiveness for the human services workforce; and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Messaging Toolkit, which provides sample social media posts, email text, and newsletter content that can be tailored to various communities.  

Applications to qualify for the PSLF waiver are due by October 31, 2022.