Did you faithfully make the 120 qualifying payments toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness—a process that takes about 10 years—only to have your claim for forgiveness denied?
It’s not just you. A lot of borrowers have had this problem. The good news is that Congress just authorized a fix for it in its March spending bill. It’s called “Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness” (TEPSLF), and it sets aside over $350 million in forgiveness funding for people who were initially denied.
Don’t get too excited, though. There are still a lot of limitations and requirements for this program. Here’s a look at what you have to do to qualify—and how you can apply.
How to qualify
Here are the hoops you have to jump through in order to take advantage of this opportunity.
First, you need to have made 120 on-time, qualifying payments toward public service loan forgiveness while working for a qualifying employer. And you need to have been rejected despite that.
The reason you were rejected matters
This opportunity is only available if you were rejected because of your repayment plan: in other words, if you were enrolled in an extended or graduated repayment plan, rather than an income-driven repayment plan.
You don’t have to switch to income-driven repayment in order to qualify this time around. Under the new terms, the following payment plans also qualify:
- Consolidation Standard Repayment Plan
- Consolidation Graduated Repayment Plan
- Graduated Repayment Plan
- Extended Repayment Plan
Your loan type matters
Only Federal Direct loans are eligible—not Federal Family Education Loans or loans from private lenders.
Your payment amounts matter
Another key point is this: your payments for the past 12 months must have been at least as much as you would’ve paid under income-driven repayment. If you’ve been paying less under your current plan, you don’t qualify.
Your payments under income-driven repayment are based on a percentage of what the government considers your discretionary income. If you're unsure if your payments qualify, you can use the Department of Education's Repayment Estimator, or just go ahead and apply for TEPSLF and see what happens. (Applying is pretty easy, as you're about to see.)
If you find out the payments you’ve been making weren’t enough, you could apply for income-driven repayment and try again. But this program ends when the money runs out—and funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
See also: Paying Off Student Loans
How to apply
To apply for TEPSLF, you have to send an email to FedLoan Servicing at TEPSLF@myfedloan.org. Include your date of birth and the same name under which you originally submitted your PSLF application.
Here’s a template you can follow, taken from the StudentAid.ed.gov website:
Subject: TEPSLF request
I request that ED reconsider my eligibility for public service loan forgiveness.
- Name: [Use the name you used on your original PSLF application]
- Date of Birth: [Use MM/DD/YYYY format]
Once you apply, FedLoan Servicing will look into your history with PSLF, respond to your email and let you know whether your application is being considered. They may ask for additional information.
If you were denied Public Service Loan Forgiveness after 120 qualifying payments, all hope isn’t lost. Try applying for TEPSLF. But don’t wait too long—because who knows how long these funds will last.
If you get denied
If you don't qualify for loan forgiveness and you're looking for ways to save money or reduce your monthly payment, refinancing may be the right answer. Learn more.