The U.S. Department of Education Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer, which includes the District of Columbia Government.
Qualifying employment for the PSLF Program is not about the specific job that you do for your employer. Rather, it is about who your employer is. Employment with the following types of organizations qualifies for PSLF:
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
Other types of not-for-profit organizations that provide certain types of qualifying public services
Serving in a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position also counts as qualifying employment for the PSLF Program.
For PSLF, you are generally considered to work full-time if you meet your employer’s definition of full-time or work at least 30 hours per week, whichever is greater. If you are employed in more than one qualifying part-time job at the same time, you may meet the full-time employment requirement if you work a combined average of at least 30 hours per week with your employers. For borrowers who are employed by not-for-profit organizations, time spent on religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing may not be counted toward meeting the full-time employment requirement.
Qualifying Federal Student Loans
A qualifying loan for PSLF is any loan you received under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program.
You may have received loans under other federal student loan programs, such as the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program or the Federal Perkins Loan (Perkins Loan) Program. Loans from these programs do not qualify for PSLF, but they may become eligible if you consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan. However, only qualifying payments that you make on the new Direct Consolidation Loan can be counted toward the 120 payments required for PSLF. Any payments you made on the FFEL Program loans or Perkins Loans before you consolidated them don’t count.
If you have both Direct Loans and other types of federal student loans that you want to consolidate to take advantage of PSLF, it’s important to understand that if you consolidate your existing Direct Loans with the other loans, you will lose credit for any qualifying PSLF payments you made on your Direct Loans before they were consolidated. In this situation, you may want to leave your existing Direct Loans out of the consolidation and consolidate only your other federal student loans.
If you don’t know which types of federal student loans you have, log in to My Federal Student Aid to get that information. Generally, if you see a loan type with “Direct” in the name on My Federal Student Aid, then it is a Direct Loan; otherwise, it is a loan made under another federal student loan program.