Student Loan Forgiveness: Do You Qualify?

Find out if student loan forgiveness is right for you.
Find out if student loan forgiveness is right for you.

We hear a lot about student loans these days, and student loan forgiveness. While all of our collective student debt is not gong to suddenly be wiped away, some of us may be able to take advantage of Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness.

What is Student Loan Forgiveness?

Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a federal program that eliminates federal student loans for select borrowers. You may qualify if you are employed full time in qualifying public service or nonprofit jobs, and have made 120 qualifying on-time payments for more than 10 years. While these payments do not have to be consecutive, only qualifying payments submitted during this time period can be included in this 120 final tally.

What qualifies as an eligible payment?

This is a payment on any loan from the government direct loan program. Should you consolidate other federal loans towards applying to this program, keep in mind any payments submitted prior will not be included in this 120 sum total.

You may be surprised to hear it’s not limited to teachers or public servants. If you work full time at a qualifying nonprofit or public organization, you may be qualify for this program. For example, a teacher, a groundskeeper, and an administrative assistant working full-time at a public institution may qualify.

Does my job qualify?

To confirm if your job qualifies, inquire with your human resources department or your employer. You can also check the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and their “Employers Guide to Assisting Employees with Student Loan Repayment.” Qualifying employers would be those specifically in public interest fields of health and disability service fields, as well as AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and some 501(c)(3) nonprofits. But not all nonprofits qualify, like labor unions and political organizations. Some employees of religious institutions may qualify depending on their job duties.

To apply, speak with your student loan servicer and ask about the PSLF Employment Certification annual form to log your payment information. Without this tracking sheet, it is a much more time-consuming, labor-intensive effort of producing proof of payment when you are ready to apply to the program.

What about the rest of us?

Since many of us do not work in eligible public service or nonprofit organizations, where does that leave the rest of us? Look into other federal and state loan forgiveness options, which vary by area and field. Also, these days many employers will pay off outstanding loan debt as an incentive for new employees.

Can DCCU help?

If you’re having trouble paying your student loans, another option, if you’re a home owner, is a home equity line of credit with the Dane County Credit Union. With competitive interest rates and user-friendly eBanking, you cannot go wrong! Contact DCCU and learn how they can help you.


Published by

Hillary W.

Hillary is a 2008 graduate of UW-Madison. She is a proud Badger all the way, but her strong love of travelling led her to a graduate program out in Phoenix, AZ, which she absolutely adored. Now, back in Madison, Hillary is once again connected to her Wisconsin roots. In the winter, you can find her on the ski slopes whenever she has time. In summer, she's on the bike path or enjoying a good book along any stretch of lakefront. Also a passionate Mallards fan, look for her at Warner Park whenever a game is in town!