Our blog last week discussed one reason why student loan borrowers who enrolled in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program had their eligibility revoked. Many of the borrowers carried federal loans that are not eligible for PSLF, such as FFEL or Perkins Loans. However, you could also be denied forgiveness because of where you work. Only certain types of jobs are eligible for PSLF.
While Congress is poised to kill off PSLF, this does not necessarily mean you will lose eligibility if you are already enrolled. You should be careful if you are seeking forgiveness through the PSLF program and are planning a job change. According to the Department of Education’s website, only the following jobs can qualify for PSLF.
- Government organizations: Employees at federal, state, local or tribal organizations are eligible for PSLF forgiveness. Examples may include the Central Intelligence Agency or the Federal Bureau of Investigation. City police departments and county sheriff offices would also qualify.
- Tax exempt nonprofits: Employees at nonprofits that are tax exempt under 501(c)(3) of the IRS code can receive PSLF forgiveness.
- Other nonprofits: You may be able to receive PSLF forgiveness if you work at a nonprofit that provides certain types of qualifying services. These qualifying services are listed near the bottom of the PSLF employment certification form.
Student loan borrowers working for government organizations may run into less trouble than those who are working for nonprofits who are not 501(c)(3) tax exempt. Last year, the American Bar Association sued the Department of Education for retroactively revoking the PSLF eligibility of four lawyers. The lawyers had worked at various nonprofits that provided legal services. You must also work full-time at a qualifying employer to be eligible for PSLF forgiveness.
How Do You Maintain Eligibility for PSLF Forgiveness?
You can submit the employment certification form once per year to retain eligibility under the PSLF program. If you are coming up on your 120th qualifying payment under the PSLF program, then you can prepare to file for forgiveness through the Department of Education’s website. The PSLF forgiveness form is on the Federal Student Aid website. At this point, many people who have turned in the PSLF forgiveness form are playing the waiting game with the Department of Education.