Do you have a federal student loan? Did you know that there is a new waiver that may allow you to get credit for past payments, even if you didn’t qualify before? It’s true- the Biden administration has temporarily relaxed the requirements for student loan forgiveness. You must act quickly, however, because the waiver will expire on October 31, 2022. Read on to learn more about who qualifies under the current program, how to fill out the waiver, and more.
What changes were made to the PSLF (Public Student Loan Forgiveness) program?
The PSLF program was originally created in 2007 by the George W. Bush administration. It allowed government and nonprofit employees to have their federal student loans canceled after 10 years, or 120 payments. However, it has been difficult for borrowers to take full advantage of the program’s benefits due to organizational issues within the system.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, numerous changes were made to student loan payment requirements. One of these changes was to loosen the restrictions on who can qualify for the PSLF. A limited waiver has been instated, which allows more people to obtain relief. Under the limited waiver, you can receive credit for past payments even if you
- Failed to make the payment on time
- Did not pay the full amount due, or
- Were not on the correct repayment plan
Who counts as a qualified employer?
As stated previously, the program is for people who work for a government or nonprofit agency for ten years. The limited waiver has not changed the list of qualifying employers. To see if your employer is qualified, you can use the Federal Student Aid website’s Help Tool.
To use the tool, you’ll either need to know your employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number, or have access to your latest W-2.
How do I know what kind of loan I have?
Prior to the waiver, only Direct Loans were eligible for the program. Under the limited waiver, you can also qualify if you have a FFEL or Perkins Loan- there are just a couple more steps involved.
If you are unsure which type of loan you have, visit the ‘Loan Breakdown’ section on the Federal Student Aid Website (you’ll need to sign in to view this page). Direct Loans begin with the word “Direct.” Federal Family Education Loan Program loans start with “FFEL.” Perkins Loans include the word “Perkins” in the name. Parent PLUS loans are not eligible under the limited PSLF waiver.
What if my loan isn’t Direct?
If you have FFEL or Perkin’s Loans, you can qualify under the new waiver if you consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan by October 31. You can find the application to do so here.
After your loans are consolidated, you should submit the waiver prior to the deadline.
Where can I find the limited PSLF waiver?
To begin filling out the waiver, you can use the PSLF Help Tool, which will assist you through the process. Be sure to give yourself enough time- the waiver must be completed in a single session, which will take about 30 minutes.
Alternatively, you can download the PSLF waiver, then fill out and submit it manually. Don’t forget to submit by October 31, 2022.
For general information about the original PSLF program (not the limited waiver): https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service
Fact sheet about the limited PSLF waiver, written for borrowers: https://financialaidtoolkit.ed.gov/resources/limited-pslf-waiver-borrower-fact-sheet.pdf
Read this article before using the Help Tool to help you better navigate the process: https://studentaid.gov/articles/become-a-pslf-help-tool-ninja/?utm_source=em_a&utm_medium=pdf&utm_campaign=pslf_waiver_fedtoolkit_ext_2022&_ga=2.28470517.831362700.1660668339-30671717.1660668339
To register for an expert-led online seminar about the limited PSLF waiver on September 8, 2022, click here.
If you have questions about your account, or want to check the status of your waiver, call 1-855-265-4038.