The limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waiver is a short-term opportunity for expanded loan forgiveness. Payments you made in the past may now be considered for PSLF, even if they wouldn't normally qualify. We're here to share what we know about this limited PSLF opportunity and what it means for you!
What It Is
On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced a limited PSLF waiver. It expands the rules for PSLF and Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF), which may make it easier for you to benefit from these programs.
The limited PSLF waiver may:
- Increase your total number of qualifying payments
- Include periods of qualifying employment that didn't previously count due to your loan types or repayment history
- Allow you to seek forgiveness on older loan types by consolidating them into Direct Loans
Visit StudentAid.gov/pslfwaiver for more information from ED including any actions you may need to take to gain access to these benefits.
How It Works
ED will review the history of your student loans and give PSLF credit based on your repayment and employment history. You may receive credit for payments when your loans were:
- In a repayment status (times when you were obligated to make a payment)
- In a COVID-19 administrative forbearance
- In a deferment or forbearance for specific military related service
Times when your payments were postponed (including periods of default, in school status, and deferment) will not count. If you were in a repayment status and made a payment attempt while working full-time in public service, that payment may now count toward your PSLF qualifying payment total!
Payments may qualify even if you:
- Were not on an eligible repayment plan
- Did not pay the full amount due
- Did not pay on time
The limited PSLF waiver DOES NOT change or remove these requirements:
- Have Direct Loans or consolidate into Direct Consolidation Loans
- Make 120 qualifying payments
- Be employed by government, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, or other not-for-profit organization that provides a qualifying service
- Work full-time
NOTE: If you have fewer than 120 qualifying payments after October 31, 2022, you may still pursue PSLF or TEPSLF. You will retain credit for any payments which were counted as qualifying under the limited PSLF waiver.
Refunds and Overpayment
It will take some time for ED to review your new payment total. In the meantime, keep making on-time, qualifying payments when you are required to do so. Payments on federal Direct Loans are currently paused through August 31, 2022.
Some borrowers loans will be forgiven before repayment resumes, but not all will be processed. If you reach 120 payments under the limited PSLF waiver but continue to make payments after the pause ends, any payments you made beyond the required 120 will be refunded. You may also enter a forbearance until your payment count is updated. However, if you enter a forbearance and do not reach 120 payments, you may be responsible for accrued interest when the forbearance ends and will not receive credit for the period of forbearance.
You are not eligible for a refund or reevaluation under the limited PSLF waiver if:
- You have non-Direct loans
- You already paid off your loans
- Your loans were already forgiven
- Your loans have a $0 balance
What to Do Next
Knowing what to do next can be confusing. Luckily, there are three main categories that you should fit in:
As long as you have an approved Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) & Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification & Application (PSLF form) on file, ED will automatically review your account and add any new qualifying payments covered by periods of qualifying employment to your total. This includes if you have ever certified eligible employment using an Employment Certification Form (ECF) or PSLF application in the past.
You may also be able to consolidate other federal loan types into a Direct Consolidation Loan so they are included in ED's review process. IMPORTANT: For any non-Direct loan to be forgiven under the limited PSLF waiver, it has to be consolidated into a Direct Loan. The deadline to apply for this consolidation is October 31, 2022. You cannot receive credit for payments made under the limited PSLF waiver if you apply to consolidate after this date.
- Submit a PSLF form to cover any gaps in your employment history, especially for times when you worked in public service and made payments after October 1, 2007. The deadline to submit a PSLF form with your full history of public service for the limited PSLF waiver is October 31, 2022.
- Submit your PSLF form for forgiveness once you reach 120 qualifying payments.
- Be patient! It may take several months for your payment count to be updated based on the new waiver guidance.
NOTE: You will need your Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) to complete the PSLF form. You can find the correct EIN on your IRS W-2 tax form (Box b).
- Use the PSLF Help Tool to submit a PSLF form. You will need the Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from your IRS W-2 tax form to complete the PSLF form.
- The deadline to submit a PSLF form with your full history of public service for evaluation under the limited PSLF waiver is October 31, 2022.
- You cannot be considered for PSLF, TEPSLF, or the limited PSLF waiver without submitting a PSLF form.
You may also need to consolidate other federal loan types into a Direct Consolidation Loan so they are included in ED's review process. IMPORTANT: For any non-Direct loan to be forgiven under the limited PSLF waiver, it has to be consolidated into a Direct Loan. You must submit a consolidation application by October 31, 2022 to meet the deadline for the limited PSLF waiver.
Once you submit a consolidation application and the process completes, then you should submit a PSLF form to certify your employment. Make sure to include your full public service employment history, starting from October 1, 2007. This will allow ED to evaluate your qualifying payment total under the limited PSLF waiver guidance.
The deadline to submit a PSLF form with your full history of public service for evaluation under the limited PSLF waiver is October 31, 2022. You cannot be considered for PSLF, TEPSLF, or the limited PSLF waiver without submitting the PSLF form.
Once you have certified all your periods of public service employment by submitting a PSLF form for each employer, you will receive:
- A letter with your total qualifying payment count, including any added under the limited PSLF waiver
- A refund for the qualifying payments you made in excess of 120, if applicable
- A notification when your loans are forgiven, if applicable
Be patient! It may take several months for your payment count to be updated based on the new waiver guidance.
NOTE: If you recently consolidated your loans, your count of eligible and qualifying payments may temporarily reset to zero, but that will be further adjusted as we continue to process updates to your account under the limited PSLF waiver.