The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program was established in 2007 to provide debt relief to nonprofit and government agency employees. The program’s goal was to forgive the student loans of borrowers after they made 120 qualifying payments (10 years of payments). However, the program’s approval rate was low, with only around 7,000 borrowers approved before 2021. The Biden administration announced temporary changes to the PSLF program last year, which helped borrowers get credit toward loan cancellation regardless of their federal loan type or payment plan. The temporary changes allowed borrowers to consolidate their debt before the end of the waiver in October 2022. As a result, more than 615,000 borrowers have received $42 billion in debt relief since October 2021.
The PSLF program remains available to public workers, and the Biden administration has scheduled improvements to go into effect on July 1, 2023. These changes include helping borrowers earn progress toward relief, simplifying employment criteria, and providing borrowers with a chance to correct account problems.
To qualify for PSLF, borrowers must be employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization, work full-time for that agency or organization, have Direct Loans (or consolidate other federal student loans into a Direct Loan), and make 120 qualifying payments. Borrowers can use the PSLF Help Tool to determine if they work for a qualifying employer, have eligible loans, and have already made qualifying payments.
It is important to note that PSLF relief is separate from President Biden’s student debt relief, which is still awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the President’s debt forgiveness program before the end of June.