Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

December 26, 2023

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This federal program was established by Congress in 2007 and offers loan forgiveness for borrowers meeting all required eligibility requirements.

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Program Summary

The PSLF program provides tax-free loan forgiveness for a borrower’s remaining Direct Loan balance after the borrower makes 120 qualifying monthly payments while repaying their loans under a qualifying repayment plan, and while working full time for a qualifying, public service employer.

Program Requirements
  • Be employed full time by a qualifying employer.
  • Have eligible Direct Loans (or consolidate non-eligible loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan to make them eligible).
  • Repay loans under a qualifying income-driven repayment plan or the Standard plan. Borrowers would not want to be in the Standard plan the entire time of repayment because there would be nothing left to be forgiven at the end of the 10-year term.
  • Make 120 qualifying monthly payments. Payments do not need to be consecutive.
Recent Improves to PSLF 

Improvements were recently made to the PSLF program. Some of the improvements include qualifying payment credits for consolidated loans, changes to the definition of full-time employment, some deferments and or forbearances allowing qualifying payments, and the ability to make lump sum (or prepayments) up to 12 months till the next recertification of income.

Residency Programs and PSLF Eligibility

The best way to find out if a residency program will qualify for PSLF is to ask during the residency interview. The answer may help you determine if you want to pursue a residency position with that program, especially if PSLF is a priority. The PSLF employer search tool through the Federal Student Aid website is a tool that can help with determining if a potential employer may qualify as an eligible employer.

Completing and Submitting the PSLF Form

Once you begin residency, you can complete, sign, and submit the PSLF form digitally using the PSLF Help Tool, or by manually by downloading a PDF of the PSLF form. You should complete this form annually and when, or if, you change employers. Completing the form indicates interest in the PSLF program, and it allows the PSLF servicer to verify employment eligibility and track PSLF payment counts.

Borrowers who are interested in PSLF should also keep records of their payments. They should verify that their payment count matches the payment count reported by the PSLF servicer. If there are ever any discrepancies, the borrower should contact the PSLF servicer immediately.

Once a borrower makes 120 payments, the PSLF servicer will confirm PSLF eligibility and forgive the remaining Direct Loan balance. The borrower will want to continue to work for their qualifying employer and make payments until they receive notification that they’ve officially made 120 qualifying payments.

Borrowers can verify their qualifying payment total by logging into their PSLF servicer’s account and by viewing their loan details. This information can also be found on the borrower’s most recent billing statement. 

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