Loans may be forgiven for those in public service jobs
First group of federal Direct Loan borrowers would see relief starting in 2017
University of Michigan employees and students working in or considering a career in public service may qualify to have the remaining balance on eligible federal student loans forgiven through the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
College financial aid offices around the country are reminding their constituencies about this program, which is generally available to borrowers who are making reduced monthly payments through Income Contingent, Income-Based or Standard repayment plans and who will have a balance on a loan after making 120 on-time monthly payments (10 years). They must be employed full-time in their public service job while making the payments.
PSLF was created by in 2007 by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, designed to encourage individuals to become employed full-time and continue to work in public service jobs. Because of the 10-year window of required repayment, the first group of borrowers to experience loan relief will be in October 2017.
Students considering public sector jobs, former students who are employed by a public service organization or current public employees could benefit from the program. This includes those employed full time by municipalities, local and regional school districts and colleges and universities.
Parents who borrowed through the federal PLUS loan program for dependent students, could also be considered if the parent borrower is working in a public service job.
“Borrowers who are employees of the university, as well as students, past students and parent borrowers who might receive some loan relief should look at this program,” said U-M Office of Financial Aid Executive Director Pamela Fowler, past chairwoman of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, or NASFAA. “In this time of economic hardship and struggle, this is a program that could potentially help families.”
To qualify, borrowers must not be in default for any of the eligible federal loan types. The Federal Direct Loan Program includes Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct (Stafford); Direct PLUS loans for parents and graduate students; and Direct Consolidation Loans. Loans made under other federal programs, including Federal Family Education (FFEL), Perkins or some health professions and nursing loans, may be consolidated under the Direct Loan program and could qualify for the forgiveness program.
Borrowers may visit http://nslds.ed.gov for information about what types of loans they have outstanding and their loan servicer information (a federal PIN is required to access loan accounts).
For details about qualifying for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, including a list of eligible jobs, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness website (http://studentaid.ed.gov/publicservice) or contact the U-M Office of Financial Aid at 734-763-6600.