Public service loan forgiveness

Notice to All Borrowers Regarding the Limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness Waiver

Borrowers in Public Service or Employed by Non-Profit Entities May Qualify for Enhanced Loan Forgiveness Opportunities

On October 6, 2021 the Department of Education (“Department”) announced a limited waiver of certain requirements of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and the Temporary Expanded PSLF (referred to collectively herein as “PSLF”) which will increase loan forgiveness opportunities for Federal Family Education Loan Program (“FFELP”) student loan borrowers who meet qualifying public service employment requirements.

Under the limited PSLF waiver program, from Oct. 6, 2021 through Oct. 31, 2022, FFELP borrowers who meet qualifying public service employment requirements and who receive or apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan may receive credit toward forgiveness for past periods of repayment on federal student loans that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF.

Key Points: Limited PSLF Waiver Summary of Changes (adapted from https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/pslf-limited-waiver):

  • For a limited time, you may receive credit for past periods of repayment on loans that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF.
  • If you have FFEL, Perkins, or other federal student loans, you will need to consolidate your loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan to qualify for PSLF under the limited waiver. Before consolidating, make sure to check to see if you work for a qualifying employer with the PSLF Help Tool listed below.
  • Past periods of repayment will now count regardless of whether you made a payment, made that payment on time, for the full amount due, on a qualifying repayment plan.
  • Periods of deferment or forbearance, and periods of default, continue to not qualify.

Note: The public service employment requirements and what counts as qualifying employment has not changed.  This means that to qualify, you must make 120 payments or the equivalent while employed full-time by a government, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, or other not-for-profit organization that provides a qualifying service.

Further information on the limited waiver is available at https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/pslf-limited-waiver.

What FFELP Borrowers Need to Know:

  • FFELP loans, such as those held by ECMC or other guarantors, do not currently qualify for PSLF, but your prior periods of repayment may qualify for credit toward PSLF if you receive or apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan on or before October 31, 2022;
  • Regardless of the limited PSLF waiver, your loans must be consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan program loan in order to qualify for PSLF; but prior periods of repayment will not qualify for credit toward PSLF if consolidated after October 31, 2022;
  • To understand whether you may already have qualifying payments for PSLF under the limited PSLF waiver, you should register for an FSA ID if you don’t already have one, and log in to the PSLF Help Tool to check if your employer qualifies (you will need your employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number and you should confirm you have the correct number by checking your IRS Form W-2);
  • If your employer is a qualifying employer or if you are uncertain but want your loans to qualify for PSLF and the limited PSLF waiver, you should apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan on or before October 31, 2022.
  • If you apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan, we will work to process any paperwork necessary to have your loans consolidated expediently; and
  • After your consolidation loan is made, you should go back to the PSLF Help Tool to certify all periods of qualifying employment.  You must also submit a PSLF Certification and Application Form to the PSLF Servicer or have used the PSLF Help Tool on StudentAid.gov to generate such a form or request that the Department determine whether your employer is qualifying or not on or before October 31, 2022.

Resources

Borrowers seeking information about PSLF, TEPSLF, or the limited PSLF waiver should review the following resources put out by Federal Student Aid or the Department of Education.  Resources available as of December 7, 2021 are below:

Borrowers with additional questions about the pros and cons of loan consolidation can contact ECMC at 866-945-6423. Borrowers with additional questions about the limited PSLF waiver may also contact 1-800-4-FEDAID, but the Department advises that this call center is not equipped to inform borrowers about how the waiver will or will not affect them individually.