July 24, 2014
Byline: Melissa Willett, Senior Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Working at the University of Missouri comes with a variety of perks, one great perk isn’t very well known. The federal government created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to help those people working in public service careers, like those here at the university, in law enforcement, or in local, state or federal government, etc. This program offers loan forgiveness—cancelling some or all of your loan balance—to those public service workers who work full time and make 120 on-time payments to their student loan servicer. During those 120 payments, you’re required to work in that public service position. For example, if I work at the university while I make 100 payments and then leave to work at 3M for the last 20 payments, only 100 will count toward the forgiveness program. These payments are not required to be consecutive, so if I come back to the university then those payments will count toward my forgiveness amount. The program allows retroactive credit for payments dating back to October 1, 2007. There are steps you have to take to participate. Keep these in mind:
- Only certain loan types are eligible.
- Payments must be made on time (no later than 15 days of the due date).
- Payments made during deferment, grace periods, or while you’re in school do not count.
- You may be in a qualifying repayment plan while making these repayments. These include an income-driven repayment plan or 10-year standard repayment plan.
To take advantage of this program, according to the US Department of Education:
- Complete, with your employer’s certification, the Employment Certification form annually or whenever you change jobs.
- Submit the completed form to FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA), the PSLF servicer, following the instructions on the form.
- FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA) will review your Employment Certification form, ensure that it is complete, and, based on the information provided by your employer, determine whether your employment is qualifying employment for the PSLF Program.
- If the form you submit is incomplete or your employment does not qualify, FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA) will notify you and you will have an opportunity to provide additional information.
- If FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA) cannot determine whether your employment qualifies, you may be asked to provide additional information or documentation to help establish whether you were employed by a qualifying public service organization. This documentation may include an IRS Form W-2, pay stubs, or other documents from your employer that substantiate your employment at the organization or documentation supporting your employer’s eligibility as a public service organization.
- If your employment qualifies and some or all of your federally held loans are not serviced by FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA), those loans will be transferred to FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA) so you will have a single federal loan servicer for all of your federally held loans. After your loans are transferred, earlier payments made to other federal loan servicers will be evaluated to see whether they are qualifying PSLF payments.
- FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA) will notify you whether your employment qualifies, and, if so, how many payments during the certification period were qualifying payments, the total number of qualifying payments you have made, and how many payments you must still make before you can qualify for PSLF.
If you have questions about your eligibility, you can visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service or you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC): 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or by TTY (for the hearing impaired): 1-800-730-8913 For more information:
About the author: Melissa is a senior marketing and communications coordinator in the UM System’s Total Rewards department. She has 14 years of professional communications experience, the past seven in employee benefits, retirement and wellness.