The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Deadline is Oct. 31. What To Know Now

Public servants can qualify for student loan forgiveness. A waiver making it easy to apply expires Oct. 31. But you may get a second chance.

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People eligible for student loan forgiveness because they work in public service jobs have just a few days to meet an important deadline to apply. Student loan debtors who may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness have until Oct. 31 to take advantage of a federal government waiver that allows for more of their past payments to count against their debt.

That’s the deadline for applying for a waiver under what the government is calling Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which was created after reports emerged of borrowers having trouble receiving credit for past loan payments in a program that was widely criticized for being complicated and badly managed. 

But if you miss the deadline, all is not lost.

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The Education Department recently announced plans for permanent reforms to enable more people to receive forgiveness, even after the Oct. 31 deadline. If you apply by Monday, however, the process for obtaining forgiveness will be easier.

The PSLF program is designed to reduce student debt for borrowers who work in a range of government, nonprofit and healthcare jobs and who make at least 120 loan payments, or ten years’ worth.

The temporary waiver that ends Monday credits loan payments that were not being counted before: those that were made late, that were partial or were made on a plan other than a direct loan. Under the temporary waiver, eligible borrowers can also receive credit if they’re not employed by a qualifying employer when they apply for forgiveness.

Because of the temporary expansion of PSLF, the Department of Education says more than 236,000 borrowers have been approved for over $14 billion in forgiveness.

For more details on the program and the updates, read How to Qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Senior Retirement Editor, Kiplinger.com

Elaine Silvestrini has had an extensive career as a newspaper and online journalist, primarily covering legal issues at the Tampa Tribune and the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey. In more recent years, she's written for several marketing, legal and financial websites, including Annuity.org and LegalExaminer.com, and the newsletters Auto Insurance Report and Property Insurance Report.