- You must be employed full-time (30 hours or more per week) at an “eligible” public service employer.
- Federal, state, local, or tribal government organizations
- A 501(c)(3) nonprofit
- A not-for-profit that’s not 501(c)3 designated but meets other requirements related to public service
- AmeriCorps, in a full-time capacity, or the Peace Corps
- If your position was one of a religious nature at one of the above qualifying employers, then your service does not qualify you for this loan program. For example, if you were a chaplain at a correctional facility, you would not qualify under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
It is important to note that:
- If you change employers, your new employer must also qualify as a public service employer to keep your eligibility in the program. Any break in employment away from the public service industry will void any prior payments and time, starting you over with each new qualifying employer.
- You must make 120 “qualified” payments, which works out to one payment per month for 10 years.
- Your payments must be made while enrolled in an income-drive repayment plan.
- The loans you are paying on must be Direct loans.
- You may consolidate or refinance non-qualifying federal loans (like a Perkins Loan or FFEL loan) into a Direct loan.
- Only payments made after your loan is converted into a Direct loan will count towards your 120-payment requirement.
- Additional payments do not count towards the total 120-payment requirement. Only one payment per month (of at least the minimum payment requirement) qualifies.
- Payments made towards private loans do not qualify.
- You must fill out and complete the Employment Certification Form and submit it to the U.S. Department of Education. This form must be completed and filed when:
- You start your job with a qualifying public service employer or
- If you change employers.
- We highly recommend completing and filing the form annually to ensure your employment is properly tracked and your application isn’t unnecessarily held up or denied. Nearly 12,000 applicants last year were denied because they submitted an incomplete Employer Certification Form for the most recent quarter.