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Qualifying Employment for Public Service Loan Forgiveness

February 4, 2020

You heard about loan forgiveness for public service employees, but you’re wondering if your employer qualifies for the program.

This is a common question student loan borrowers ask me.

In this post, I’ll share with you everything you need to know to check if your job is considered qualified employment for the PSLF program.

Download: The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Employment Certification Form 05/31/2020

Let’s get started.

What Employment Qualifies for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

Your employment is eligible for the PSLF program so long as you work full-time for a qualifying employer. Your job title or role doesn’t matter. You can be a university employee, a police officer, a teacher’s aid, a nurse, a janitor, etc. So long as your employer qualifies for the PSLF program, your employment qualifies.

Download PSLF Checklist + FAQs

What is full-time employment for PSLF

The PSLF program defines full-time as either:

  1. working 30 hours per week on average; or
  2. the number of hours your employer considers full-time.
Screenshot of public service definition from PSLF form

Who is a Qualifying Employer for PSLF

There is no complete list of PSLF employers. If there was, it would be really, really long. It’s estimated that 25% of Americans (~83 million people) qualify for the program.

Your employer is a qualified employer for PSLF purposes if you work for:

  • The government (city, state, federal, military, public schools, community colleges, public universities, etc.
  • A 501(c)(3) non-profit (religious organizations, certain hospitals, charter schools, private colleges and universities, and other tax-exempt entities)
  • AmeriCorps and Peace Corps
  • A non-profit that isn’t a 501(c)(3) but offers public service benefits as its primary benefit

🏛️ Members of the US Congress Aren’t Eligible

Although members of Congress work for the government, their employment is not considered qualifying employment. 34 CFR 685.219(b).

What are Qualifying Jobs for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?

As I said earlier, your specific job with a public service employer doesn’t matter for the PSLF program.

What matters is that your employer is a qualified employer.

That said, here’s a list of roles that are considered public service jobs:

  • Police officer
  • Firefighter
  • Military personnel
  • University employees
  • Community college employees
  • Teachers
  • Teacher assistants
  • School employees
  • Library employees
  • Federal agency employee (IRS, DOJ, DOE, HUD, BOP, courts, etc.)
  • Medical professionals at nonprofit hospitals (CNAs, nurse, doctor, pharmacist, etc.)

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