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Limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Waiver

Overview

On October 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced the limited PSLF waiver which will be in effect until October 31, 2022. Until October 31, 2022, you may receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF. This includes borrowers with FFEL loans who consolidate into the Direct Loan Program by October 31, 2022.

Under the limited PSLF waiver, you will receive credit for past periods of repayment after October 1, 2007, whether you made a payment, made that payment on time, for the full amount due, or on a qualifying repayment plan. This means that you do not need to have made a payment in order for the month in repayment to qualify towards the 120 qualifying payments.

In addition to the information on our website, ED has also made information about the limited PSLF waiver available to borrowers at StudentAid.gov/PSLFWaiver. ED will update StudentAid.gov/PSLFWaiver with more information regarding the limited PSLF waiver as it becomes available. In order to ensure you are receiving the most up-to-date information, we encourage you to check for updates regularly. Additionally, we also encourage you to access your account on StudentAid.gov to ensure your contact information is up-to-date. This will allow you to receive communications directly from ED regarding the limited PSLF waiver.

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 FFEL Program Loans, Perkins Loans, Federally Insured Student Loans, National Defense Student Loans, and other federal non-Direct Loans by consolidating them into Direct Loans by October 31, 2022.

Please review the following topics for more information.

Qualifying for the Limited PSLF Waiver

In order to qualify for the limited PSLF waiver, you must:
  • Have Direct Loans
    • If you have FFEL or Perkins loans, you may consolidate them into a Direct Loan no later than October 31, 2022 in order to qualify
  • Submit the PSLF & Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification and Application (PSLF Form) no later than October 31, 2022, for all periods of eligible employment, after October 1, 2007, for which you want credit
  • Receive credit for 120 past periods of repayment while:
    • Being employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government, or not-for-profit organization
    • Working full-time for that agency or organization; or working two part-time jobs at the same time with a combined average of at least 30 hours per week for eligible agencies or organizations

Under the limited PSLF waiver, you will receive credit for:

  • All periods of repayment while you worked for a qualifying employer from October 1, 2007 through October 31, 2022*
    • This is the range of time from the beginning of the PSLF program through the end of the limited PSLF waiver period. Periods of repayment are times when you were obligated to make a payment.
  • Periods in which you were in a COVID-19 administrative forbearance
  • Periods in which you were in a deferment status related to military service

Note: Periods of default and in-school deferment are not eligible for PSLF, even under the limited PSLF waiver.

*You do not need to have made a payment in order for the month in repayment to qualify towards the 120 qualifying payments.

Changes Under the Limited PSLF Waiver

The below changes are currently only in effect through October 31, 2022:
  • Receive credit for periods of repayment on Direct, FFEL, or Perkins Loans
  • Receive credit for periods of repayment where your payments were not made, were made late, or were made for less than the amount due
  • Receive credit for periods of repayment under any repayment plan
  • Receive credit for periods of repayment on loans before consolidation, even if on the wrong repayment plan, 
  • Receive credit for periods of repayment on loans before consolidation, even if payments were not made, were made late, or were made for less than the amount due
  • Receive forgiveness even if you are not employed or not employed by a qualifying employer at the time of application and forgiveness
  • Receive credit for periods of service that led to your eligibility to receive Teacher Loan Forgiveness (if you certify employment for PSLF for that period)

The limited PSLF waiver DOES NOT change or remove the following requirements:

  • Have Direct Loans or consolidate into Direct Consolidation Loans
  • Make 120 qualifying payments*
  • Be employed full time by a government, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, or other not-for-profit organization that provides a qualifying service

Note: If you have fewer than 120 qualifying payments* after October 31, 2022, you may still pursue PSLF or TEPSLF. It’s important to submit a PSLF form during the waiver period to lock in credit for any payments which were counted as qualifying under the limited PSLF waiver.

*Qualifying payments consist of all past periods of repayment. During the limited PSLF waiver period, you do not need to have made a payment in order for the month in repayment to qualify towards the 120 qualifying payments.

Eligible Loans

Loans eligible for the limited PSLF waiver are loans made only under the Direct Loan Program which are not in default. This consists of Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized and Direct Consolidation Loans. If you have any non-Direct Loans, you must consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan to benefit from the limited PSLF waiver. Please review the following loan programs for more information.
 

FFELP Loans, Perkins Loans, and Uncommon Older Federal Loans

If you have an outstanding FFEL Program Loan, Perkins Loan, Federally Insured Student Loan, National Defense Student Loan, or any other uncommon older federal loan, even if you also have outstanding Direct Loans, you must apply to consolidate your loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan by October 31, 2022 in order to qualify.

After the consolidation is complete, you must then submit a PSLF Form for all periods of qualifying employment to MOHELA by October 31, 2022 in order to qualify.

Example: If you consolidate your FFEL loan and then apply for PSLF by October 31, 2022, your loans can then be reviewed under the limited PSLF waiver.
 

Parent PLUS Loans

Parent PLUS Loans are not eligible for the limited PSLF waiver directly, even if you consolidate them into a new Direct Consolidation Loan.

However, if you have a mix of Parent PLUS Loans and loans you received as a student (non-parent PLUS loans), the period you in repayment on the loans you received as a student will be considered as months of qualifying payments on the Direct Consolidation Loan.

Example: If you consolidate both a FFEL Parent PLUS Loan and a FFEL Subsidized Stafford Loan in 2015, the repayment time period on the underlying FFEL Subsidized Stafford Loan will be considered, and the entire Direct Consolidation Loan made in 2015 would receive credit under the limited PSLF waiver.

However, if you only had a FFEL Parent PLUS Loan and consolidated it, you would not receive credit from the FFEL Parent PLUS Loan under the limited PSLF waiver.

In addition to evaluating time in repayment on the consolidation loan, the consolidation loan is eligible to receive further payments under the limited PSLF waiver based on the time in repayment of the non-parent PLUS loans that are included in the consolidation loan. If the consolidation loan reaches 120 payments before the end of the limited PSLF waiver, then the consolidation loan will be forgiven.

If the consolidation loan is not forgiven by the end of the waiver period and the borrower wants to keep working toward PSLF forgiveness, the only repayment plan available for the entire consolidation loan is the 10-year Standard or Income Contingent Repayment Plan. For many borrowers, these repayment options will have a much larger monthly payment than the repayment plans available before the consolidation.
 

Unsure of your loan types?

If you don’t know how many loans or what types of loans you have, take the following steps:
  • Visit Aid Summary and log in to your account in order to view the page
  • Scroll down to the Loan Breakdown section.
  • In the Loan Breakdown section, you’ll see a list of each loan you have taken out, even if you have paid the loan off or consolidated it into a new loan.
  • If you expand View Loans, then click the View Loan Details arrow next to a loan, you’ll see a more detailed name for that loan. Direct Loans begin with the word “Direct.” Federal Family Education Loan Program loans start with “FFEL,” and Perkins Loans include the word “Perkins” in the name. Parent PLUS loans are not eligible under the limited PSLF waiver.

Steps to Consolidate Non-Direct loans

To benefit from the limited PSLF waiver, you must consolidate your non-Direct Loans. Remember to verify that your employment qualifies for PSLF before consolidating your loans. Here are the steps to follow:
  1. Verify your loan types by visiting Aid Summary
    1. View your loan types by logging in to your account on StudentAid.gov, going to the My Aid page (StudentAid.gov/aid-summary), and scrolling down to the Loan Breakdown section
    2. You’ll then see a list of each loan you have borrowed, even if you have paid the loan off or consolidated it into a new loan. Direct Loans begin with the word “Direct”, Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program Loans begin with the word “FFEL”, and Perkins Loans include the word “Perkins” in the name
    3. Now that you know what type of loans you have, read on to see what actions you may need to take to receive additional qualifying payments
  2. Verify eligible employment with the PSLF Help Tool under Step 1, Employment History
    1. Log in to the PSLF Help Tool with your FSA ID
    2. In the Employment History Section, enter your employer’s Employment Identification Number (EIN) using the numbers found on your IRS Form W-2
    3. Employers that are already in the database will have three different eligibility statuses:
      1. Eligible - everything is good to go, and it has been determined the employer qualifies
      2. Likely Ineligible – there hasn’t been a decision made about this employer yet, but it’s likely that the employer probably doesn’t qualify
      3. Ineligible – evaluation of this employer has determined that it doesn’t qualify; for example, because it is a for-profit organization

        If you have specific questions regarding whether your employer qualifies, please visit the PSLF Help Tool or contact MOHELA.
  3. If your employer is eligible, request a Direct Loan Consolidation by October 31, 2022
    1. If you need to consolidate your loans to receive these benefits, review the details provided on the consolidation page on StudentAid.gov (https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/consolidation) to understand the process of loan consolidation.
    2. You can complete the Direct Loan Consolidation Application on StudentAid.gov
  4. After your loans are consolidated no later than October 31, 2022, submit a PSLF Form no later than October 31, 2022. Refer to Submitting the PSLF Form for more information.
  5. If you consolidate loans that are already receiving credit for PSLF, your count of eligible and qualifying payments may temporarily reset to zero, but it will be further adjusted as MOHELA and ED continue to process updates to your account under the limited PSLF waiver.
    1. You can expect to see adjustments to your payment count after the consolidation loan is disbursed and a PSLF form with employment certification is approved.
    2. To view your number of qualifying payments, view your account dashboard at MOHELA.

Qualifying Employment

One qualification to receive credit for 120 past periods of repayment is that you must be employed full-time by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government, or not-for-profit organization.

  • Serving as a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps volunteer DOES count as qualifying employment for PSLF program.
  • Labor unions, partisan political organizations, and for-profit organizations are NOT qualifying employers for PSLF purposes.

For full-time employment, you are generally considered to work full-time if you meet your employer’s definition of full time or work at least 30 hours per week, whichever is greater; or work two part-time jobs at the same time with a combined average of at least 30 hours per week for eligible agencies or organizations.

You can use the PSLF Help Tool to enter your employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from your IRS form W-2 to view your employer’s eligibility. Employers that are already in the database will have three different eligibility statuses:

  • Eligible - everything is good to go, and it has been determined the employer qualifies
  • Likely Ineligible – there hasn’t been a decision made about this employer yet, but it’s likely that the employer probably doesn’t qualify
  • Ineligible – evaluation of this employer has determined that it doesn’t qualify; for example, because it is a for-profit organization

If you have specific questions regarding whether your employer qualifies, please visit the PSLF Help Tool or contact MOHELA.

Limited PSLF Waiver Eligibility Deadline

This opportunity is only available for a limited time. At this time, the limited PSLF waiver has been determined to last through October 31, 2022.

If you are consolidating to be eligible for the PSLF waiver, your Direct Loan Consolidation must be requested by October 31, 2022. FSA recommends that you choose MOHELA when you complete your consolidation application for the fastest processing time. If you check the “PSLF” box on your consolidation application, the form will automatically be submitted to MOHELA, the PSLF Servicer.

If you are working toward the limited PSLF waiver, you must fill out and submit the PSLF & Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification & Application (PSLF Form) to MOHELA by October 31, 2022.

The PSLF Form can be submitted for the limited PSLF waiver, PSLF and TEPSLF; you do NOT have to fill out a separate form for the limited PSLF waiver.

Note: For the limited PSLF waiver, you do not need to be working for a qualifying employer at the time you submit the PSLF Form for forgiveness.

Submitting the PSLF Form

The completed and signed PSLF Form must be submitted no later than October 31, 2022.

You can fill out the PSLF Form in one of two ways:

  1. Use the PSLF Help Tool to enter your information, and then print the partially completed form for you and your employer to sign; or
  2. Download and print a blank PSLF Form and complete all sections before submitting it.

Once the PSLF Form is filled out, it should be sent to the current PSLF servicer, MOHELA, at:

U.S. Department of Education
MOHELA
633 Spirit Drive
Chesterfield, MO 63005-1243
Fax: 866-222-7060

Updated Payment Counts

Your qualifying payment total may not currently show how the limited PSLF waiver will affect your account.

MOHELA is actively working with ED to implement the limited PSLF waiver and, over the next few months, you should begin to see updates to your qualifying payment counts upon having an approved PSLF Form on file. Please be patient!

  • You can check for updates by signing into your account at MOHELA. If you already have an approved PSLF Form on file, MOHELA will update your dashboard with details for each month of employment as soon as ED passes them your individual loan data.
  • You may have been recently notified of updates to their qualifying payment count. If notified before February 7, 2022, the update may not fully reflect the implementation of the limited PSLF waiver.
  • If you consolidate loans that are already receiving credit for PSLF, your count of eligible and qualifying payments may temporarily reset to zero, but it will be further adjusted as MOHELA and ED continue to process updates to your account under the limited PSLF waiver.

You can expect to see adjustments to your payment count after the consolidation loan is disbursed and a PSLF form with employment certification is approved.

Refunds and Overpayment

It will take time to review your payment and employment history in order for your account to be updated with MOHELA. In the meantime, keep making on-time, qualifying payments when you are required to do so. Payments on federal Direct Loans are currently paused until after May 1, 2022.

  • Some loans may be forgiven before repayment resumes, but not all will be processed.
  • You may enter a forbearance until your payment count is updated; however, if you do not reach 120 qualifying payments, you will be responsible for accrued interest when the forbearance ends and will not receive credit of payments for the period of the forbearance.
  • Under the limited PSLF waiver, if you make more than 120 qualifying payments on an existing Direct Loan, or an a newly consolidated loan, you will automatically be refunded for the payments you made in excess of the 120 qualifying payments.
    • Payments made in excess of 120 qualifying payments can only be refunded if they were paid on the existing loan.
    • Upon 120 qualifying payments being met prior to the disbursement of the consolidation loans, any additional payments made prior to consolidation cannot be refunded.

Example: You have been in repayment and paying on your loans since January 2005 but completed a Direct Loan Consolidation that was disbursed in January 2019. Upon submitting the PSLF Form, it is determined under the limited PSLF waiver that you fulfilled 120 qualifying payments as of November 2017. Due to the consolidation being disbursed in January 2019, you will not receive a refund for any payments made between December 2017 and January 2019 but will receive a refund for all payments made after January 2019.

  • Refunded payments will be returned to you using the same method in which the payment was made (e.g., electronic payment or check), and are typically processed by MOHELA in one to two weeks.
    • If a third-party, such as an employer, made prior payments on your behalf, it is your responsibility to coordinate any portion of the refund due to the third-party.
    • In the event that you moved or changed banking institutions, make sure that your contact information (address, phone number and email address) as well as your payment information (routing and account number for a checking or savings account) is correct with your servicer.
    • It may take an additional two weeks to two months for the refund to be received, depending upon processing times at other institutions such as the U.S. Department of Treasury. Payments made to a prior servicer may take additional time to be processed.
  • 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
  • If you owe the federal government another debt, such as unpaid child support or unpaid taxes, your refund may be offset.
    • For more information, please contact the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) or a tax advisor.

Student Loan Debt Relief Companies

Beware of scams!

Borrowers have reported receiving phone calls, emails, letters, and texts offering them relief from their federal student loans or warning them that student loan forgiveness programs would end soon. Usually, the so-called student loan debt relief companies offering these types of services don’t offer any relief at all. Often, they are just fraudulent companies who are after your money. For more information, visit StudentAid.gov/resources/scams.

Here are some signs to help you identify a scam by a student loan debt relief company:

  • They require you to pay up-front or monthly fees for help.
  • They promise immediate and total loan forgiveness or cancellation. They ask for your FSA ID username and password.
  • They ask you to sign and submit a third-party authorization form or a power of attorney.
  • They claim that their offer is limited and encourage you to act immediately.
  • Their communications contain spelling and grammatical errors.
View the FTC’s list of companies and people banned from debt relief.

Available Resources