Adam S. Minsky
March 29, 2023
Nearly half a million people have been approved for federal student loan forgiveness under a one-time waiver program geared toward borrowers working in public service jobs.
Processing is continuing. Many more borrowers may ultimately qualify, even while another Biden administration initiative — the one-time mass student debt relief plan — remains blocked by federal courts.
Student Loan Forgiveness Under PSLF Waiver Accelerates
Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a federal student loan forgiveness program that can eliminate the federal student loan debt for borrowers who commit to public service careers. After 120 “qualifying payments” (equivalent to 10 years) while working for approved nonprofit or government employers, borrowers can receive a complete discharge of their federal student debt.
Historically, PSLF has been a troubled program since its creation in 2007. PSLF has had complicated eligibility requirements and tricky rules about what counts as a “qualifying payment” toward loan forgiveness. Simple errors, either by the borrower or a loan servicer, could cause lasting problems.
The Biden administration enacted the Limited PSLF Waiver in 2021 to remedy these issues. Under the waiver, the Education Department issued emergency regulations relaxing the original PSLF rules and expanding the definition of “qualifying payments” for past loan periods. This allowed many borrowers to accelerate their progress, or even reach the threshold for complete federal student loan forgiveness.