34 CFR § 685.219 - Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF).
(a) Purpose. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in full-time public service employment by forgiving the remaining balance of their Direct loans after they satisfy the public service and loan payment requirements of this section.
(b) Definitions. The following definitions apply to this section:
Civilian service to the military means providing services to or on behalf of members, veterans, or the families or survivors of deceased members of the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard that is provided to a person because of the person's status in one of those groups.
Eligible Direct Loan means a Direct Subsidized Loan, a Direct Unsubsidized Loan, a Direct PLUS Loan, or a Direct Consolidation Loan.
Emergency management services means services that help remediate, lessen, or eliminate the effects or potential effects of emergencies that threaten human life or health, or real property.
Employee or employed means an individual—
(i) To whom an organization issues an IRS Form W–2;
(ii) Who receives an IRS Form W–2 from an organization that has contracted with a qualifying employer to provide payroll or similar services for the qualifying employer, and which provides the Form W–2 under that contract;
(iii) who works as a contracted employee for a qualifying employer in a position or providing services which, under applicable state law, cannot be filled or provided by a direct employee of the qualifying employer.
(i) Working in qualifying employment in one or more jobs—
(A) A minimum average of 30 hours per week during the period being certified,
(B) A minimum of 30 hours per week throughout a contractual or employment period of at least 8 months in a 12-month period, such as elementary and secondary school teachers and professors and instructors, in higher education, in which case the borrower is deemed to have worked full time; or
(C) The equivalent of 30 hours per week as determined by multiplying each credit or contact hour taught per week by at least 3.35 in non-tenure track employment at an institution of higher education.
(ii) Routine paid vacation or paid leave time provided by the employer, and leave taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (29 U.S.C. 2612(a)(1)) will be considered when determining if the borrower is working full-time.
Law enforcement means service that is publicly funded and whose principal activities pertain to crime prevention, control or reduction of crime, or the enforcement of criminal law.
Military service means “active duty” service or “full-time National Guard duty” as defined in section 101(d)(1) and (d)(5) of title 10 in the United States Code and does not include active duty for training or attendance at a service school.
Non-governmental public service means services provided by employees of a non-governmental qualified employer where the employer has devoted a majority of its full-time equivalent employees to working in at least one of the following areas (as defined in this section): emergency management, civilian service to military personnel, military service, public safety, law enforcement, public interest law services, early childhood education, public service for individuals with disabilities or the elderly, public health, public education, public library services, school library, or other school-based services. Service as a member of the U.S. Congress is not qualifying public service employment for purposes of this section.
Non-tenure track employment means work performed by adjunct, contingent or part time faculty, teachers, or lecturers who are paid based on the credit hours they teach at institutions of higher education.
Other school-based service means the provision of services to schools or students in a school or a school-like setting that are not public education services, such as school health services and school nurse services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training.
Public education service means the provision of educational enrichment or support to students in a public school or a public school-like setting, including teaching.
Public health means those engaged in the following occupations (as those terms are defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics): physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, health care practitioners, health care support, counselors, social workers, and other community and social service specialists.
Public interest law means legal services that are funded in whole or in part by a local, State, Federal, or Tribal government.
Public library service means the operation of public libraries or services that support their operation.
Public safety service means services that seek to prevent the need for emergency management services.
Public service for individuals with disabilities means services performed for or to assist individuals with disabilities (as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. 12102)) that is provided to a person because of the person's status as an individual with a disability.
Public service for the elderly means services that are provided to individuals who are aged 62 years or older and that are provided to a person because of the person's status as an individual of that age.
Qualifying employer means:
(i) A United States-based Federal, State, local, or Tribal government organization, agency, or entity, including the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard;
(ii) A public child or family service agency;
(iv) A Tribal college or university; or
(v) A nonprofit organization that—
(A) Provides a non-governmental public service as defined in this section, attested to by the employer on a form approved by the Secretary; and
(B) Is not a business organized for profit, a labor union, or a partisan political organization.
Qualifying repayment plan means:
(iii) Except for the alternative repayment plan, any other repayment plan if the monthly payment amount is not less than what would have been paid under the 10-year standard repayment plan under § 685.208(b).
School library services means the operations of school libraries or services that support their operation.
(c) Borrower eligibility.
(1) A borrower may obtain loan forgiveness under this program if the borrower—
(i) Is not in default on the loan at the time forgiveness is requested;
(A) When the borrower satisfied the 120 monthly payments described under paragraph (c)(1)(iii) of this section; and
(B) At the time the borrower applies for forgiveness under paragraph (e) of this section; and
(iii) Satisfies the equivalent of 120 monthly payments after October 1, 2007, as described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, on eligible Direct loans.
(2) A borrower will be considered to have made monthly payments under paragraph (c)(1)(iii) of this section by—
(i) Paying at least the full scheduled amount due for a monthly payment under the qualifying repayment plan;
(ii) Paying in multiple installments that equal the full scheduled amount due for a monthly payment under the qualifying repayment plan;
(iii) For a borrower on an income-contingent repayment plan under § 685.209 or an income-based repayment plan under § 685.221, paying a lump sum or monthly payment amount that is equal to or greater than the full scheduled amount in advance of the borrower's scheduled payment due date for a period of months not to exceed the period from the Secretary's receipt of the payment until the borrower's next annual repayment plan recertification date under the qualifying repayment plan in which the borrower is enrolled;
(iv) For a borrower on the 10-year standard repayment plan under § 685.208(b) or the consolidation loan standard repayment plan with a 10-year repayment term under § 685.208(c), paying a lump sum or monthly payment amount that is equal to or greater than the full scheduled amount in advance of the borrower's scheduled payment due date for a period of months not to exceed the period from the Secretary's receipt of the payment until the lesser of 12 months from that date or the date upon which the Secretary receives the borrower's next submission under subsection (e).
(v) Receiving one of the following deferments or forbearances for the month:
(A) Cancer treatment deferment under section 455(f)(3) of the Act;
(B) Economic hardship deferment under § 685.204(g);
(D) Post-active-duty student deferment under § 685.204(i);
(E) AmeriCorps forbearance under § 685.205(a)(4);
(F) National Guard Duty forbearance under § 685.205(a)(7);
(G) U.S. Department of Defense Student Loan Repayment Program forbearance under § 685.205(a)(9);
(H) Administrative forbearance or mandatory administrative forbearance under § 685.205(b)(8) or (9); and
(3) If a borrower consolidates one or more Direct Loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan, including a Direct PLUS Loan made to a parent borrower, the weighted average of the payments the borrower made on the Direct Loans prior to consolidating and that met the criteria in paragraphs (c)(2)(i) through (vi) of this section will count as qualifying payments on the Direct Consolidation Loan.
(d) Forgiveness amount. The Secretary forgives the principal and accrued interest that remains on all loans for which the borrower meets the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section as of the date the borrower satisfied the last required monthly payment obligation.
(e) Application process.
(1) Notwithstanding paragraph (f) of this section, after making the 120 monthly qualifying payments on the eligible loans for which loan forgiveness is requested while working the 120 months of qualifying service, a borrower may request loan forgiveness by filing an application approved by the Secretary.
(2) If the Secretary has sufficient information to determine the borrower's qualifying employer and length of employment, the Secretary informs the borrower if the borrower is eligible for forgiveness.
(3) If the Secretary does not have sufficient information to make a determination of the borrower's eligibility for forgiveness, the borrower must provide additional information about the borrower's employment and employer on a form approved by the Secretary.
(4) If the borrower is unable to secure a certification of employment from a qualifying employer, the Secretary may determine the borrower's qualifying employment or payments based on other documentation provided by the borrower at the Secretary's request.
(5) The Secretary may request reasonable additional documentation pertaining to the borrower's employer or employment before providing a determination.
(6) The Secretary may substantiate an employer's attestation of information provided on the form in paragraph (e)(3) of this section based on a review of information about the employer.
(7) If the Secretary determines that the borrower meets the eligibility requirements for loan forgiveness under this section, the Secretary—
(i) Notifies the borrower of this determination; and
(ii) Forgives the outstanding balance of the eligible loans.
(8) If the Secretary determines that the borrower does not meet the eligibility requirements for loan forgiveness under this section, grants forbearance of payment on both principal and interest for the period in which collection activity was suspended. The Secretary notifies the borrower that the application has been denied, provides the basis for the denial, and informs the borrower that the Secretary will resume collection of the loan. The Secretary does not capitalize any interest accrued and not paid during this period.
(f) Application not required. The Secretary forgives a loan under this section without an application from the borrower if the Secretary has sufficient information in the Secretary's possession to determine the borrower has satisfied the requirements for forgiveness under this section.
(g) Reconsideration process.
(1) Within 90 days of the date the Secretary sent the notice of denial of forgiveness under paragraph (e)(8) of this section to the borrower, the borrower may request that the Secretary reconsider whether the borrower's employer or any payment meets the requirements for credit toward forgiveness by requesting reconsideration on a form approved by the Secretary. Borrowers who were denied loan forgiveness under this section after October 1, 2017, and prior to July 1, 2023, have 180 days from the effective date of this Final Rule to request reconsideration.
(2) To evaluate a reconsideration request, the Secretary considers—
(i) Any relevant evidence that is obtained by the Secretary; and
(ii) Additional supporting documentation not previously provided by the borrower or employer.
(3) The Secretary notifies the borrower of the reconsideration decision and the reason for the Secretary's determination.
(4) If the Secretary determines that the borrower qualifies for forgiveness, the Secretary adjusts the borrower's number of qualifying payments or forgives the loan, as appropriate.
(5) After the Secretary makes a decision on the borrower's reconsideration request, the Secretary's decision is final, and the borrower will not receive additional reconsideration unless the borrower presents additional evidence.
(6) For any months in which a borrower postponed monthly payments under a deferment or forbearance and was employed full-time at a qualifying employer as defined in this section but was in a deferment or forbearance status besides those listed in paragraph (c)(2)(v) of this section, the borrower may obtain credit toward forgiveness for those months, as defined in paragraph (d) of this section, for any months in which the borrower—
(i) Makes an additional payment equal to or greater than the amount they would have paid at that time on a qualifying repayment plan or