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Department of Education Overhauls Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

Graduates at university graduation ceremony wearing mortarboard and gown

The Department of Education announced today changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) that will allow thousands of students to qualify for the program and see their debts forgiven. 

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program was designed to allow student loan borrowers, who pay down their debts for 10 years while working at a public-sector or nonprofit job, to have any remaining debt forgiven at the end of that decade.  However, only a small number of borrowers benefited from the program because they had taken out the wrong type of federal loan or had been enrolled in an ineligible repayment plan. In come cases, the debt was not forgiven because of minor clerical errors.

With today’s announcement, the Department will retroactively credit public service workers for monthly payments they made on certain types of federal student loans that are ineligible for the program, or while they were enrolled in the wrong repayment plan. It is estimated that more than half a million borrowers will benefit from the change.

To make these changes, the Department relied on emergency powers related to the pandemic, which will expire in October 2022.  However, the Department will use that time to implement changes that will improve the way the program is run. 


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