The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program began in 2007. Because it takes ten years to meet the payment requirements for the program, borrowers started becoming eligible just a few years ago in 2017.

Data shows that less than 1 percent of borrowers who applied for Public Service Loan Forgiveness have had their loan discharged. This is largely due to borrowers not meeting all the qualifications that are required in the program.

What is PSLF?

Public Service Loan Forgiveness, called PSLF for short, is a federal program that incentivizes those who enter into careers such as nursing, government, teaching, and other public interest jobs that offer relatively low-pay. A borrower must make at least 120 payments towards their federal Direct Loans before applying for this benefit. If you meet the requirements of PSLF, then the remaining interest and principal remaining on your loans are forgiven.

What are the Requirements?

Following all of the rules to the PSLF program is important in order to obtain approval. Here is a breakdown of the requirements of PSLF:


As discussed earlier, you must make 120 payments before applying for PSLF. If there are any periods of deferment or forbearance, those do not count towards those payments. Only payments that are made on Federal Direct Loans will count. Payments prior to October 1, 2007, do not count towards the program.


Your employment during these 120 monthly payments must be in a full-time, public service job. To be considered full time, you must average at least 30 hours per week. You could still be eligible if you work part-time if both employers are in the public service area and between the two jobs work 30 hours a week.

Qualifying employers include:


  • Government organizations
  • 501(c)(3) nonprofits
  • Peace Corps or AmeriCorps
  • Non-profits that don’t have a 501(c)(3) but their primary purpose is a qualifying public service


You must submit an employment certification form which is used as confirmation of your employer’s qualified status. This form is submitted to the FedLoan Servicing who will service your loans moving forward. Every time you change jobs, you must submit this form.

Income-Drive Repayment Plan

Your payments must be on the standard 10-year plan or one of the income-driven repayment plans to qualify for PSLF. The four plans you may select are Pay As You Earn, Income-Based Repayment, Revised Pay As You Earn, and Income-Contingent Repayment.

What Student Loans are Eligible?

If you have private student loans through a bank such as Wells Fargo, those aren’t eligible for PSLF. The federal student loans which are eligible are:


  • Federal Direct Stafford Loans (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Direct Consolidation Loans


If you are a borrower in the Direct Loan Program, there’s no need to consolidate to qualify. FFEL program borrowers will need to consolidate their loans into Direct Loans to qualify.

Contact us for a free Student Loan Consultation

Do you have more questions about PSLF or about other student loan-related topics? We provide free Student Loan Consultations. Call us at Student Loan Medix today for a free no obligation consultation.  We will advise you of your student loan rights, for freee.  You can reach us at 480-676-2889 or email us at

Gary Nitzkin

Gary Nitzkin, Esq.
Licensed in Michigan only