Student Loan Forgiveness

Student Lending

  • The federal student loan COVID-19 payment pause has been extended into 2023. The repayment pause is now extended until 60 days after the federal Department of Education is permitted to implement the one-time debt relief program or its litigation is resolved. If the one-time debt relief program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, 2023 — payments will resume 60 days after that. For the latest information, please visit Federal Student Loan COVID-19 page.


    There are also new options for loan forgiveness for those in public service, even if they previously did not qualify for the PSLF program. For the latest information, please visit the Federal Student Loan PSLF Limited Waiver page.

Loan Forgiveness Options

Several state and federal programs enable you to have some or all of your student loans forgiven, often in return for performing a qualifying service, such as working in certain public service jobs for some time. 

Loan Forgiveness Programs

Below, find information about the two federal student loan forgiveness programs, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (“PSLF”) program, and the Teacher Loan Forgiveness (“TLF”) program, as well as state forgiveness programs.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

  • NOTE: On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced a temporary Limited PSLF Waiver Opportunity, which waives some of the previous restrictions on the PSLF program.  Applicants may now be able to receive credit on payments that were previously ineligible for PSLF.  The primary changes include:


    • Borrowers may receive credit for past payments on loans that typically do not qualify for PSLF (however these loans will still need to be consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan to qualify).

    • Periods of repayment will qualify regardless of whether borrowers made timely, full payments.

    • Payments made on any repayment plan will count, not only the types of repayment plans that typically qualify for PSLF. 


    Periods of deferment, forbearance, and default still do not qualify, and borrowers still must be employed by a qualifying employer.  Learn more below and from Federal Student Aid. This waiver is in effect until October 31, 2022. 

The PSLF program allows federal student loan borrowers to receive loan forgiveness if they work for the government or certain public interest organizations.  After making 120 qualifying payments, borrowers can have the remaining balance of their Federal Direct Loans forgiven.

Who is Eligible for PSLF?

There are three requirements to be eligible for PSLF:

  1. You must be employed full-time by an eligible public service employer;
  2. You must have an un-defaulted Direct Federal Loan;* and
  3. You must be enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan.**

* Generally and during the Limited PSLF Waiver, borrowers with Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), Perkins Loans, or other federal student loans may consolidate their loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan to qualify for PSLF.


** During the Limited PSLF Waiver payments made under any repayment plan, including those that were previously ineligible, will now qualify for PSLF. 


If you think you may be eligible for PSLF, we encourage you to annually submit an Employer Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness Form to receive information concerning your eligibility.  While the government’s response is not a final determination of eligibility, it may help identify problems.  Read the response you receive carefully, making sure that it includes all your federal loans.


  1. Who is a public service employer for purposes of PSLF?
    1. Government organizations including any federal, state, local, or tribal organization or agency and the armed forces;
    2. Not-for-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status; and
    3. Private not-for-profit organizations that are not 501(c)(3) organizations that provide qualifying types of public service as their primary purpose.
  2. How can I find out if my employer is an eligible public service employer?


    The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Form with the PSLF Help Tool can help you find out whether your employer is a public service employer for purposes of PSLF.


    Note: in a few cases, eligibility determinations have been reversed and certain non-501(c)(3)s organizations that were previously characterized as eligible public service employers are no longer considered eligible public service employers.  If you are employed by a not-for-profit that is not a 501(c)(3), we recommend that you submit an Employer Certification Form to confirm that your employer is a public service employer for PSLF purposes, even if you submitted one earlier.


  3. What type of loans are eligible for PSLF?


    Only loans received under the Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans) are eligible for forgiveness under PSLF.  Direct loans include Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans.


    Other federal loans, including FFEL loans (Federal Stafford Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, and some Federal Consolidation Loans) and Federal Perkins Loans may be consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan that is eligible for PSLF if the other PSLF eligibility requirements are met.  In that case, your subsequent loan payments will count as qualifying PSLF payments. 


    Keep in mind that if you consolidate your existing Direct Loans with the FFEL loans, you will lose credit for any qualifying PSLF payments you made on your Direct Loans before they were consolidated, so you may want to exclude your existing Direct Loans from the consolidation.  Note that the term “consolidating” does not require you to combine multiple loans, you can use the consolidation process to convert a single FFEL loan into a Direct Loan.


  • Typically, payments made before consolidation will not count as qualifying PSLF payments, so it is important to act promptly. However, if you consolidate your loans before October 31, 2022, under the Limited PSLF Waiver, you will be able to count payments made on previously non-qualifying loans towards PSLF.  Use the PSLF Help Tool to learn more about consolidation, and/or contact your loan servicer.

  1. What if I don’t know what kind of loans I have?


    Log into Federal Student Aid or contact your loan servicer to find out.

  2. What repayment plan should I choose to ensure that my payments are PSLF qualifying payments?


    Typically, to qualify for forgiveness, you must make 120 separate monthly payments on the Direct Loans for which you are requesting forgiveness, while enrolled in a qualifying repayment plan such as the income-driven repayment plans (Revised Pay As You Earn Plan [REPAYE Plan], Pay As You Earn Plan [PAYE Plan], Income-Based Repayment Plan [IBR Plan], Income Contingent Repayment Plan [ICR Plan]). Be sure to confirm with your servicer that your repayment plan qualifies for PSLF.


    Normally, if you plan does not qualify, you can change it to a qualifying repayment plan.


    *Caution: some plans, like the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan are qualifying plans, but you will not have any remaining balance after making 120 payments and so there will be nothing to forgive. Likewise, if you enroll in a plan in which you are paying an amount equal to the monthly payment amount that would have been required under the 10-year Standard Plan, you will not have any remaining balance after making 120 payments.

  • Under the Limited PSLF Waiver, the repayment plan requirements are suspended. Therefore, payments made under any repayment plan count towards PSLF so long as the borrower 

    • had qualifying employment; 

    • made payments on non-consolidated Direct Loans including Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, and Graduate PLUS Loans; and made payments before October 6, 2021.


    Find out more at the Federal Student Aid Limited Waiver site.


  1. Are there any other criteria that “qualifying payments” must meet? 

    Yes.  Ordinarily, in addition to being made under a qualifying repayment plan, a qualifying monthly payment must be made

    • after October 1, 2007;
    • for the full amount due on your bill;
    • within 15 days of the due date; 
    • and while the borrower is employed full time by a qualifying employer. 

    Additionally, qualifying monthly payments cannot be made during a grace period, while the borrower has in-school status, or during deferment or forbearance.


    For more information about PSLF eligibility requirements, visit Federal Student Aid.


  • Under the Limited PSLF Waiver, a qualifying payment need only be made after October 1, 2007 while working for a qualifying employer. The full payment and timely payment requirements are waived. See more at Federal Student Aid.

Temporary Public Student Loan Forgiveness

Distinct from the Limited PSLF Waiver and the COVID-19 temporary pause, the Temporary Expanded PSLF (“TEPSLF”) program allows borrowers who were previously turned down for PSLF loan forgiveness to apply for reconsideration.  Typically, PSLF is limited to income-driven repayment plans, however, for the limited time under which the temporary program is operating, the Department of Education will reconsider eligibility based on an expanded list of qualifying repayment plans.  TEPSLF is only available for Direct Loans.


Congress appropriated $350 million for the TEPSLF, and eligible applicants will receive loan forgiveness on a first come, first serve basis.  Therefore, borrowers are encouraged to apply for reconsideration right away, because the opportunity to receive reconsideration will end once the $350 million is depleted.


Who is Eligible for Reconsideration under TEPSLF?

To qualify for loan forgiveness under the temporary expansion of the program, a borrower must have done the following:


  1. Submitted the PSLF application and had that application denied because some or all of the payments were not made under a qualifying repayment plan for PSLF;
  2. Held at least 10 years of full-time employment with a qualifying employer who certified the employment, and the Department of Education also approved the employment;
  3. Made 120 qualifying monthly payments under the requirements for the expanded program, which include the Graduated Repayment Plan, Extended Repayment Plan, Consolidated Standard Repayment Plan, and Consolidated Graduated Repayment Plan;
  4. Paid as much during the 12 months prior to and in the last payment prior to the TEPSLF application as would have been paid under an income-driven repayment plan.

How do I apply for TEPSLF?

Borrowers who believe they may qualify for reconsideration should fill out the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) & Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification & Application by either using the PSLF Help Tool, or by downloading the form and faxing it to 717-720-1628 or mailing it to FedLoan Servicing at the below address: 

    U.S. Department of Education
    FedLoan Serving
    P.O. Bo 69184
    Harrisburg, PA 17106-9184

For more information on TEPSLF, visit Federal Student Aid.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

The TLF program is available for people who have taught full-time for five academic years in low-income schools or at an educational agency.  It applies to Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and Federal Stafford Loans, and the maximum amount that can be forgiven is $17,500. 


Typically, the five-year period that is applied to the TLF program cannot also be counted towards the PSLF program.  

  • Under the Limited PLSF Waiver, this restriction is not applicable. Learn more at FSA’s Limited Waiver site.

Learn more about the TLF program at Federal Student Aid.

State Student Loan Forgiveness

New York State also offers student loan forgiveness programs to residents.  For instance, the Get On Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program provides up to 24 months of federal student loan debt relief to recent New York State college graduates who are participating in a federal income-driven repayment plan.


New York State also provides loan forgiveness for students who enter certain professions, such as District Attorneys and Indigent Legal Services Attorneys, Social Workers, Farmers, Nursing Faculty, Welfare Agency Workers, and Teachers.


For more information on New York Programs, visit New York State Higher Education Services Corporation.

Student Loan Guide

This Guide provides information for student borrowers to manage their loans and understand their rights during repayment. The Guide discusses: