You’ve graduated college – or are close to doing so – and so you took a look at what your loan total will be six months from graduation and you…swooned, fainted, let your jaw drop to the floor – and not because you saw the number you thought you’d see. Or, if you did see a number you were expecting, seeing all those digits (five, possibly even six?) just made you sick.
But if you’re working in one of the following careers, there is hope.
Enter the U.S. Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), a program that “forgives” a remaining balance on your Direct Loans as long as you’ve already made 120 qualifying monthly payments and you work full-time for what the program calls a “qualifying employer.”
Who are these magical “qualifying” employers/careers? Read on to learn what type of careers have student loan repayment benefits.
Government and Non-Profits are Great Employers for PSLF
In general, qualifying careers will see you working in the government (local, state, federal, and even tribal) sector. Qualifying employers also are those within the not-for-profit sector – they must be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code – and they must provide what is known as “qualifying public services.”
Unfortunately, labor unions, partisan political organizations, for-profit organizations, and non-profits that aren’t tax exempt under IRS’ Section 501(c)(3) and that don’t provide those aforementioned qualifying public services, don’t qualify for the loan forgiveness program
Qualifying Public Services for the PSLF
If you work for a non-profit/501(c)(3) organization, to qualify for the loan forgiveness under this program, your employer must be one that engages in:
- Military service
- AmeriCorps/Peace Corps
- Emergency management/public safety
- Law enforcement/public interest law services
- Early childhood education (including regulated and licensed healthcare, state-funded prekindergarten programs and Head Start)
- Public services for the elderly and people with disabilities
- Public health (Note: nurses, doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, veterinarians, etc. may qualify for the PSLF program, as long as you work within the public health sector)
- Public education
- Public library services/school library
4 Examples of Careers that Qualify for the PSLF
1. A pharmacist working in a designated HPSA or Medically Underserved Area or Population.
If you’ve graduated from a pharmacy school and are working as a pharmacist in a Health Profession Shortage Area (HPSA) or Medical Underserved Area or Population, you’re more than likely practicing in an ambulatory or outpatient setting providing direct patient care.
Typical HPSA or Medical Underserved Areas include rural clinics, a Federal or State correctional facility, or a maximum – or medium – security facility. You also could be working for the:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration or a state board of pharmacy
U.S. Public Health Service, or a local or state public health department
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration or even a state law enforcement agency that deals with controlled substances
The Veterans Administration
2. A teacher working in the city or suburbs.
You’ve been dealing with the angst of the early teen years as a full-time educator helping 12- and 13-year-olds navigate the transition years between elementary school and high school. However, unlike some other teacher loan forgiveness programs, you don’t have to be working in an underserved area: all you have to be to qualify for the PSLF is to be a full-time teacher and have made at least 120 on-time payments on your Direct Loans.
3. A public interest attorney.
That’s right, you work as a public defender, or as a legal services attorney. You’ve dedicated your life to helping those whom you feel are powerless and/or who can’t receive justice in our current judicial system. You are eligible for the PSLF.
4. An executive assistant at a public interest law firm.
Yes, you don’t have to be a public interest attorney yourself; you can work in any capacity in a public interest firm and be eligible for the PSLF!
In fact, instead of talking about specific careers that are eligible for the PSLF, let us be very clear: you don’t have to be a healthcare professional working in underserved areas, or working in public law, or in your county’s free counseling clinic. You don’t have to be a public servant, social worker, police officer, etc. to be eligible.
Navigating the PSLF requirements can be tough. New Start Advisors can help guide you through the program’s enrollment process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you take advantage of this fantastic loan forgiveness program.