Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) FAQ

The PSLF Program was established to encourage individuals to enter and continue in full-time public service employment by forgiving the remaining balance of their Direct Loans after they have made120 qualifying payments after October 1, 2007, under specific repayment plans while employed by a public service organization.

Since you must make 120 qualifying monthly payments, it will take at least 10 years of qualifying employment for you to become eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF). To help you determine if you are on the right track as early as possible, we suggest completing a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) & Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification & Application (referred to as the PSLF form) that you can submit periodically while you are working toward meeting the PSLF eligibility requirements.

If you submit a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) & Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification & Application (referred to as the PSLF form) confirming your employment at a qualifying organization, all of your U.S. Department of Education owned student loans that are not already with us will be transferred into our system. Having all of these loans with MOHELA will allow you to track your progress in PSLF.

After your loans transfer, we will review your payment and servicing history to determine any qualifying payments you made while you held qualifying employment.

We recommend that you submit a PSLF form annually so that you can keep track of your progress and be sure your payments count. You must be employed full-time at a qualifying public service organization at the time you make each of the required 120 qualifying payments, so at least 10 years of service must be certified.

You can view the number of qualifying payments* counted toward forgiveness online anytime. Just create an online account and sign in to Account Access, our secure website.

* Please note: "qualifying payments" are payments made:

  • After Oct. 1, 2007

  • Under a qualifying repayment plan

  • For the full amount due as shown on your bill

  • While you are employed at least 30 hours per week on average for a qualifying employer

Your private, not-for-profit organization must provide one of the following services:

  • Emergency management

  • Military service: service on behalf of the U.S. armed forces or the National Guard

  • Public safety

  • Law enforcement: crime prevention, control of reduction of crime, or the enforcement of criminal law

  • Public interest law services: legal services provided by an organization that is funded in whole or in part by the U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government

  • Early childhood education: includes licensed or regulated child care, Head Start, and state-funded prekindergarten

  • Public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly

  • Public health: includes nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health support occupations, as such terms are defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

  • Public library services

  • School library services or other school-based services

Only Direct Loans are eligible for PSLF. If your loan type isn't eligible, you can consolidate your non-eligible federal student loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan to make them eligible for PSLF. If you do not know what type of federal loans you have, visit and find out. When you sign in, if you see any of the below loan types, you need to consolidate them to benefit from PSLF:

  • FFEL Stafford Subsidized Loans

  • FFEL Stafford Unsubsidized Loans

  • FFEL Stafford Non-subsidized Loans

  • FFEL PLUS Loans for Graduate/Professional Students

  • Federal Perkins Loans

  • FFEL Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS)

  • Federal Insured Student Loans (FISL)

  • National Defense Student Loans (Defense Loan)

  • National Direct Student Loans (NDSL)

  • FFEL Consolidation Loans

  • FFEL PLUS Loans for Parents

  • Guaranteed Student Loans (GSL)

  • Auxiliary Loans to Assist Students (ALAS)

  • Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL)

  • Health Education Assistance Loans (HEAL)

  • Nursing Student Loans (NSL) and Nurse Faculty Loans

  • Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS)

Note: Certain loan types are not eligible for any of the Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans.

As previously stated, if your loans are not eligible for PSLF, you can consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation loan to make them eligible for PSLF. Learn more about consolidation.

Certain loan types that were made under the Direct Loan Program are not eligible for any of the Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans that allow you to benefit from forgiveness under the PSLF Program. The following types of Direct Loans will need to be consolidated and repaid under the Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) plan in order to benefit from PSLF:

  • Direct PLUS Loan (for parents)

  • Direct PLUS Consolidation Loan (consolidation loan that repaid PLUS Loans for parents)

If these loan types are consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan, the Direct Consolidation Loan can then be repaid under the ICR plan (but not under any of the other IDR plans).

Ask your loan servicer about repaying your loans under one of the Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans that determine your required monthly payment amount based on your income and family size. And since you're working in public service, you may qualify under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program for forgiveness of any remaining balance on your eligible federal student loans after you've made 120 qualifying monthly payments while employed full-time by an eligible public service organization. To benefit from the PSLF Program, you must make the majority of these payments under an IDR plan. For more information on PSLF and the eligibility requirements, visit

You may prepay your loans (make lump sum payments) and have those payments count towards forgiveness. Each prepayment will only count for up to 12 qualifying payments. In order for the prepayment to qualify for subsequent months you must:

  • Pay an amount to fully satisfy future billed amounts for each month you wish to prepay.

  • Make one or more prepayments that pay your loan ahead, but if you are on an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plan, you may not prepay past your next annual recertification date. Your annual recertification period is the 12 month time period when your payments are based on your income.

  • Have qualifying employment that covers the due date for each month you prepay.

  • Multiple prepayments made within the same year will not afford you more than 12 months of qualifying payments.

A payment period is tracked as eligible when your payment meets all of the following payment eligibility requirements:

  • Your payment is made under a qualifying repayment plan

  • For the full amount due as shown on your bill

An eligible payment becomes a qualifying payment when you certify your employment and all or part of your employment period is approved. Eligible payment periods that correspond to approved employment periods are also tracked as qualifying. These payments count toward the 120 required for loan forgiveness.

The PSLF program eligibility has been temporarily expanded to include payments previously made on certain ineligible repayment plans. This limited forgiveness opportunity is called Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF).

While all PSLF eligible payments count for TEPSLF, some payments are only eligible for TEPSLF. If you previously made payments under a non-qualifying PSLF repayment plan, TEPSLF may allow you to qualify for forgiveness sooner.

Continue to make full, on-time payments and certify your employment, annually. We'll automatically track your payments for TEPSLF in the same way your PSLF payments are tracked. Once you have made your 120th payment, for TEPSLF or PSLF, submit your final Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) & Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) Certification & Application to count your qualifying payments!

Yes. Federal Student Aid began accepting digital signatures on PSLF Forms in April 2023. Please respond to these messages to certify employment for your employees and digitally sign their PSLF Forms. After you apply your digital signature, the form will be electronically submitted to the PSLF servicer for processing.

If your PSLF form cannot be certified by an Authorized Official because the organization has closed or your employer is unable or unwilling to provide an acceptable signature, you may be able to certify your employment using alternative documentation. Electronic signature and submission will not be available in this circumstance, but you can still use the PSLF Help Tool to generate your PSLF form as a manual download. You will need to:

  • provide an acceptable signature for yourself, and
  • submit documentation that confirms both the FEIN/EIN of the employer as well as your period of employment

This may include an IRS Form W-2 for every calendar year included in your employment period (with or without corresponding paystubs), or paystubs for every month that you were employed during the employment period. It will take additional time to review and process your form and documents. Note that any month that doesn't have supporting documentation can't be certified as qualifying employment.