What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) forgives the remaining balance on student loan debt for those who have made 120 qualifying monthly payments while working 30-hours a week or more for qualifying nonprofit employers. With nearly 12 million people in the U.S. employed in the nonprofit sector, this is a huge opportunity for students and graduates from Antioch University.

Although the 2018 White House budget calls for cutting the program, but it would only affect individuals taking out loans on or after July 1, 2018—if it gets cut at all. Congress would still have to act on the proposal, either in its current form or with modifications, such as a cap.

What employers qualify?

  • Government organizations at any level (federal, state, local, or tribal)
  • Not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Some other types of not-for-profit organizations that provide qualifying public services
  • Serving in a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position also counts as qualifying employment for the PSLF Program.

Political organizations, labor unions, and nonprofit organizations without a qualifying 501 (c)(3) exemption do not quality.

Eligibility & Restrictions

There are some restrictions. Only loans those originated by the federal government are eligible for the program. However, older loans made by private lenders and guaranteed by the federal government, such as the Federal Family Educational Loan program, may be refinanced into a new, eligible loan. The loans must also be in good standing (e.g. not in default).

The loan payments must be 120 separate payments made after Oct. 1, 2007. Payments made while the borrower is in school, or the loans are in a grace period, deferment, forbearance, or default do not count toward the 120. Borrowers will be eligible to apply for PSLF in September 2017.  In the meantime, there are a number of things you can do:

  1. Bring your loans into good standing by catching up on payments,
  2. Refinance federally guaranteed older loans into a new, eligible loan,
  3. Track your eligibility with the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form.

Resources and more information


Karen Hamilton ’17 (Antioch Los Angeles, MA) is Antioch's Director of Marketing for Content and Communications. She has used her storytelling and copywriting skills for more than twenty years, crafting articles and creating publications. She believes that communication is a powerful driver for social change.

Antioch Voices- Elizabeth Baxmeyer

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