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Five Things You Should Know to Qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Are you a teacher?  A police officer?  A fire-fighter?  Work in any capacity for local, state or federal government or a non-profit?

Having doubts about whether your federal student loans are going to be forgiven after ten years of public service?  Join the club.  Here are five things you should know to make sure your loans are indeed forgiven after 10 years:

  • Make sure your loans are Direct Loans and not the older FFEL loans.
  • If you have both, consider consolidating your FFEL loans into a new Direct Loan (do not join your other Direct loans if you have already worked in public service for several years and otherwise believe those loans qualify or else you’ll lose those accrued years for those loans).
  • Make sure you are on an income based plan — not an extended or graduated plan — many times the servicers may not tell you the plan, they’ll just tell you the payment to make and it will appear to be income based simply because it is a lower payment.
  • Make sure to work at least 30 hours a week to qualify — or more, if your employer defines full time as higher than 30 hours.
  • Make sure to make your payments timely (sometimes a servicer will not tell you the due date, but instead will ask what day you’d like the payment taken out – and you learn later that date was actually two days late)

If you have a servicer who is telling you that you do not qualify for PSLF, or you learn of the dis-qualification by other means, be sure to contact a student loan attorney.  If a servicer has been telling you for years that you qualify and are on the PSLF program, and you are only now learning otherwise, there may be a way to bring a legal challenge.

Please consider sharing your story with us as we are actively collecting data on PSLF rejections.  Specifically, we are looking at what information has been provided about PSLF requirements by student loan servicers – or lack of information.  Please email me your story at or check us out at for further information.

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