Over the last year there has been a lot of conversation regarding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) and its challenging approval process for student loan borrowers. As a result, the U.S. Department of Education has launched a new version of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program called the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) program aimed at providing additional opportunities for once ineligible borrowers.
What is Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness?
The PSLF Program is for employees of the U.S. federal, state, local, tribal government or other not-for-profit organizations. It allows eligible employees to have their remaining federal direct loan balances forgiven (i.e. eliminated) after 120 months of qualifying on-time monthly payments and reaching the required service period.
This is typically an ideal option for public school teachers or other educational professionals to eliminate any remaining federal direct loan balances from either their undergraduate or graduate degrees. However, there were some challenges with its initial implementation and many borrowers were denied the benefits of PSLF for reasons that may have been inadvertent or beyond their control.
The public outcry enabled the U.S. Department of Education to temporarily loosen the criteria for the program, on a funds-available basis. Therefore, since there is a limited amount of funding available, if you think you may qualify, you should consider submitting your application right away as it is on a first come first serve basis.
How Do I Qualify for TEPSLF?
In order to qualify for the TEPSLF program you must have already submitted the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Application and received a denial because all or some of your payments were not made under a ‘qualifying’ repayment plan.
Additionally, you must have had at least 10 years of full-time employment certified by a qualifying employer and approved by FedLoan Servicing, ED’s Federal Loan servicer for the PSLF Program. You must also have met the TEPSLF requirement for the amount you paid 12 months prior to applying for TEPSLF and the last payment you made before applying for it was at least as much as you would have paid under an income driven repayment plan.
Finally, you must have also made the 120 qualifying on-time payments under the new requirements for TEPSLF while working full-time for your qualifying employer or employers. It’s important to note that you must also have at least one federal direct loan to qualify, as borrowers who have only Federal Family Educational Loans (FFEL Loan Program), Perkins loans, non-federal and/or private loans will not qualify.
If you feel that you meet these qualifications and wish to have your PSLF eligibility reconsidered under the TEPSLF program, the process is simple. Simply send an email request to TEPSLF@myfedloan.org including your name and date of birth and that you are wishing your application to be reconsidered.
After your email is processed, FedLoan Servicing will review your previously submitted PSLF application and you will receive an email letting you know whether or not you can be considered for TEPSLF. Reconsideration reviews are ongoing, but will only continue until the funds run out. As this is only a temporary program, it’s best to submit your reconsideration request early to ensure the best chance at funding.
There are lots of resources currently available for both the PSLF program, as well as the TEPSLF program; however, if you have specific questions regarding your eligibility, it’s best to contact your loan servicer directly to ensure that you are on the correct path towards qualification. Some resources and additional information are listed below: