Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you work full-time in a public service job and make at least 120 payments on your eligible federal student loans beginning any time after October 1, 2007, you may be eligible for having any remaining loan balance forgiven.

The loans that can be forgiven are Federal Direct Loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized, Federal Direct PLUS Loans for parents and graduate or professional students, and Federal Direct Consolidation Loans. If you consolidate your outstanding FFEL, Perkins, and certain Health Professional and Nursing loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, they will also be eligible for forgiveness. Non-federal loans are never eligible.

To be eligible for forgiveness, the loans can't be in default and you must be employed full-time in a public service job during the time you make the 120 payments. Also, in most cases, you must be using the Standard, Pay as You Earn, Income Based, or Income Contingent Repayment plan.

Among the jobs that qualify for public service loan forgiveness are those with a federal, state, or local government, a tribal organization, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, or a private, non-profit organization including those that provide emergency management, military service, public safety, public interest law, education, and public health among others.

For more information on this program, you can go to

Under this program, any amounts that are forgiven are not considered income for tax purposes.


There are separate cancellation and deferment options for teachers who work in low-income communities or teach in a subject area where there is a shortage of teachers.

If you have a Perkins Loan, check with the college or university that made the loan for more information. If you received a FFEL or Direct Loan on or after October 1, 1998, you can find more information here.
If you think you'll be eligible for loan forgiveness, be sure you check the rules that apply and be careful to follow them. You don't want to miss out.