FAQ: Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Step-by-Step Directions to apply for the PSLF Waiver (PLUS new video demonstrations of the application process)

Q: WHO CAN QUALIFY FOR PSLF?

To qualify for PSLF, you must be employed full‑time (30 hours or more per week) by a public service employer, which includes all public school districts and higher education institutions.

Public service workers in the education community include:

  • Teachers and Education Support Professionals
  • Specialized/Certified Instructional Support Personnel
  • Higher Education Faculty, Including Adjunct/Contingent

Q: HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M ELIGIBLE FOR FORGIVENESS?

Until Oct. 31, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education is allowing borrowers to count qualifying payments toward loan forgiveness for any month’s payments made since Oct. 1, 2007, as long as borrowers made those payments while:

  • Working full‑time for a qualifying public service employer, AND
  • Being in repayment on any type of federal student loan.

You do not have to be currently employed or working full‑time to receive loan forgiveness. If you have accrued 120 months of public service employment while your loans were in repayment since Oct. 1, 2007, you can qualify to have your debt canceled, regardless of which repayment plan you were in, and regardless of whether you actually made a payment for a given month, as long as your loan was not in a deferment or default. Each month of the COVID‑19 payment suspension does count toward PSLF.

Q: WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?

By or before Oct. 31, 2022:

  • Visit studentaid.gov/pslf to use the Department of Education’s PSLF Help Tool to begin your application.
  • Submit the PSLF application/employment certification even if you have not yet made 120 qualifying payments or reached 10 years of service.
  • If you have a Direct Loan, have made 120 payments, and have applied for PSLF since Oct. 6, 2021, you should receive automatic forgiveness or updates about your payment count soon.
  • If you have a Direct Loan and have NOT applied for PSLF since Oct. 6, 2021, you need to apply for PSLF immediately, even if you haven’t reached 120 payments yet.
  • If you have a FFEL or Perkins loan, you must first consolidate into a Direct Loan, then apply for PSLF before the waiver period ends on Oct. 31, 2022.

Q: WHERE CAN I GO FOR HELP?

  • The NEA Student Debt Navigator by Savi is an online navigator tool that NEA members can access free for one year. Sign up to receive personalized advice from student debt experts and gain access to Savi’s e‑filing function, which helps eliminate common mistakes. Find it at www.neamb.com/getnav.
  • Contact your local MEA field office to request help, or go to mea.org/studentdebt to learn more and look for/request a virtual training session.
  • Join a Facebook group that serves as a resource hub for anyone seeking help navigating PSLF at www.facebook.com/groups/pslfprogramsupport
MEA Voice Feature

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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Retired teacher from Flint has pushed for multicultural learning over 50 years

Cleorah Scruggs-DeBose, award-winning lifetime MEA member, saw the curriculum reflected little diversity when she began teaching in Flint in 1970, so she infused multicultural learning into lessons; led NEA to adopt National Multicultural Diversity Day; and still runs a non-profit that hosts an annual event to celebrate diverse cultures. Where did you grow up, and […]