LIMITED PSLF WAIVER
On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) announced a temporary period that ends October 31, 2022, during which borrowers may receive credit for payments that previously did not qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF). This limited PSLF waiver is intended to reach a broader audience of qualified borrowers.
Under the new temporary rules, any prior period of repayment will count as a qualifying payment regardless of loan program, repayment plan, or whether the payment was made in full or on time. However, you do continue to need qualifying employment.
Check out a handy, downloadable resource written by FSA and designed by Nelnet called Top 10 Tips About The Limited PSLF Waiver.
Who is eligible?
This waiver applies to Direct loan * borrowers who have qualifying employment. The changes under the waiver apply to student loan borrowers with Direct Loans, those who have already consolidated into the Direct Loan Program, and those who consolidate into the Direct Loan Program by October 31, 2022. Periods of repayment on parent PLUS loans are not eligible under the limited PSLF waiver.
*Any loan received under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program qualifies for PSLF.
Loans from these federal student loan programs don't qualify for PSLF: the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program. However, they would become eligible if you consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan.
Student loans from private lenders do not qualify for PSLF.
Under normal PSLF Program rules, if you consolidate your loans, only qualifying payments that you make on the new Direct Consolidation Loan can be counted toward the 120 payments required for PSLF. Any payments you made on the loans before you consolidated them don’t count. However, if you consolidate these loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan on or before October 31, 2022, you may be able to receive qualifying credit for payments made on those loans through the limited PSLF waiver. Learn more.
What are the benefits?
The following table contains a summary of which requirements have changed under the limited PSLF waiver as of October 6, 2021. These temporary benefits make it advantageous for borrowers who may be eligible to take action before the waiver ends on October 31, 2022.
|Normal PSLF Requirements||Changes until October 31, 2022|
|Receive credit only on Direct Loans||Receive credit for periods of repayment on Direct, FFEL, Perkins, or uncommon older federal student loans (you must consolidate FFEL, Perkins, and other older federal student loans into the Direct Loan Program by October 31, 2022 for them to count)|
|Repay under the Standard Plan or an IDR plan||
Periods of repayment under any plan countPeriods of repayment on loans before consolidation count, even if on an ineligible repayment plan
|Make on-time payments||
Periods of repayment where your payments were made late or for less than the amount due countPeriods of repayment on loans before consolidation count, even if paid late or for less than the amount due
|Need to be employed full-time for a qualifying employer in order to receive credit||Unchanged|
|Can only receive forgiveness if working for a qualifying employer at the time of application and forgiveness||Can receive forgiveness even if not employed or not employed by a qualifying employer at the time of application and forgiveness|
|If you received Teacher Loan Forgiveness, the period of service that led to your eligibility for that forgiveness cannot also count toward PSLF||If you received Teacher Loan Forgiveness, the period of service that led to your eligibility for that forgiveness will count toward PSLF (if you certify employment for PSLF for that period)|
|Periods of deferment or forbearance do not qualify||
12 or more months of consecutive forbearance or 36 or more months of cumulative forbearance now qualify
Periods of deferment and forbearance for certain military related service now qualify
Months spent in deferment before 2013 now qualifyMonths spent in Economic Hardship Deferment on or after January 1, 2013 now qualify
How do I take advantage of the waiver?
Review the following drop-down options to see what actions you may want to take, depending on where you are in the PSLF process (new to PSLF, or currently in PSLF).
Which describes your interest in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?
- First, we suggest you review FSA’s webpages on PSLF and the limited PSLF waiver.
- Next, log in to the PSLF Help Tool with your FSA ID to check your employer’s eligibility for PSLF. You will need your employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number from your IRS form W-2, box b.
- After confirming your employer’s eligibility, verify the types of federal loans you have.
- If you have Direct loans only, you may receive credit toward PSLF for prior payments made while working for a qualifying employer if you submit a PSLF application by October 31, 2022.
- If you have a Federal Family Education Loan(s) (FFEL), Federal Perkins loan(s), or other uncommon older federal student loan(s) (even if you also have Direct loans), while those loans do not currently count toward PSLF, you need to consolidate them into the Direct Loan Program to make them PSLF-eligible. You may be able to have prior periods of repayment qualify for credit toward PSLF under the limited waiver if you receive or apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan** on or before October 31, 2022, as well as apply for PSLF by October 31, 2022.
- To create a PSLF form to take to your employer, we recommend that you use the PSLF Help Tool. You’ll need an FSA ID to access it. The tool:
- Helps determine if your employer qualifies for the PSLF Program;
- Suggests actions you can take to become eligible for PSLF; and
- Guides you through the PSLF form and submission process.
Make sure you complete employment certification by October 31, 2022, for every job you’ve had with a nonprofit or government organization.
You may instead choose to download and apply with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification & Application (PSLF form). You don’t have to use the PSLF Help Tool, but your application will be processed more quickly if you use it to apply online instead.
After you submit your form, FSA will evaluate your eligibility for forgiveness.
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.
Note: Servicing for the PSLF Program is managed by another federal student loan servicer (MOHELA). If you enroll in PSLF, your eligible loans will transfer to the PSLF servicer.
- If you are uncertain about whether you have worked or work for a qualifying employer, you should make that determination first and/or review the pros and cons of consolidation before making the decision to consolidate your loans. We are happy to discuss this with you.
- If you apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan, we will work to process any paperwork necessary to have your loans consolidated expediently.
- After your consolidation loan is made, you should go back to the PSLF Help Tool to certify all periods of qualifying employment.
- First, we suggest you review FSA’s webpages on PSLF and the limited PSLF waiver.
- Next, since you are already in the PSLF Program, you will automatically receive credit for prior — and now eligible — periods of repayment while working for a qualifying employer. Please be patient, as it may take FSA several months to complete processing.
- Since you’re already enrolled in PSLF, your eligible loans are managed by another federal student loan servicer (MOHELA). You can log in to the PSLF servicer’s borrower portal to track your PSLF payment counts. You will be notified when your payment count has been updated.
- The only reason to submit a PSLF form in this case is if you haven’t submitted a PSLF form that includes all your periods of eligible employment since October 2007. Make sure you complete a PSLF form by October 31, 2022, and report every job you’ve had with a nonprofit or government organization.
- It’s important for you to verify the types of federal student loans you have by logging in to FSA’s Aid Summary with your FSA ID. If you also have non-Direct Loans with coinciding periods of eligible employment, you must consolidate into the Direct Loan Program and apply for PSLF by October 31, 2022, to take advantage of the limited PSLF waiver.
I’m a servicemember. How do I get credit for periods of military deferment or forbearance under the limited PSLF waiver?
FSA will be updating borrower accounts to include periods of deferment and forbearance for specific military related service in the eligible PSLF repayment period counts.
If you are a servicemember and have already submitted a PSLF application, you don't need to take any other action for these updates to occur. See I am currently in the PSLF Program and want to find out how I may benefit from prior payments above for additional information.
If you have never submitted a PSLF form before, see I am/have been working in public service. I'm new to PSLF and/or not sure I'm eligible, but I'm interested in seeing if I qualify above for additional information. The steps provided tell you how to apply for PSLF, and, depending on your loan types, whether you need to consolidate your loans to get credit for periods of military deferment or forbearance under the waiver.