If you have worked in public service (federal, state, local, tribal government, or a non-profit organization) for 10 years or more, you may be eligible to have all your student debt canceled.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
How do you qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?
- Be employed by a qualifying employer
- Work full-time for that employer
- Have Direct Loans (or consolidate other federal loans into a Direct loan)
- Repay your loans under an income-driven repayment plan
- Make 120 qualifying payments
Qualifying employment for the PSLF Program isn’t about the specific job that you do for your employer. Instead, it’s about who your employer is. Employment with the following types of organizations qualifies for PSLF:
- Government organizations at any level (U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal) – this includes the U.S. military
- Not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
- Serving full-time as an AmeriCorps or Peace Corps volunteer
Use the Department of Education’s online search tool to determine if your employer counts.
Iowa State University counts as a qualifying employer!
For PSLF, you are considered full-time if you meet your employer’s definition of full-time or work at least 30 hours per week, whichever is greater.
All federally held loans are considered for forgiveness. These are typically Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, Direct Graduate PLUS, Direct Parent PLUS, and Direct Consolidated loans.
If you have Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) that are not federally held, you can consolidate those loans through the Direct Consolidation loan program.
Any income-driven repayment (IDR) plan and the standard repayment plan are considered qualifying plans.
- Income-Based Repayment (IBR)
- Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)
How to apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?
To apply for PSLF, borrowers should submit the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Certification and Application form. This form is used for the Employment Certification Form (ECF) and is also the application for forgiveness.
Borrowers can access the PSLF application and ECF online through the PSLF Help Tool. It is recommended that borrowers not wait 10 years before submitting their ECF. It is recommended to submit an ECF at least once per year or any time a borrower switches employers. After each ECF submission, borrowers will be notified of how many qualifying payments they’ve made towards their 120 payments.
The Employment Certification Form (ECF) must be certified by each qualifying employer a borrower has worked at.
For Iowa State University employees, the Payroll, Benefits, and Tax Department is the responsible party for employment certification. Employees can send their ECF to email@example.com for certification.
Have more questions?
Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org for individual assistance or to set up a meeting.