Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2007, provided for loan forgiveness on Federal education loans in exchange for public service employment. To be eligible, Federal loan borrowers are required to make 120 loan repayments on their Federal loans while employed in eligible employment, after which any remaining balance on their loans will be forgiven.
Eligible public service includes employment in government, federal, state or city, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and a very narrow group of private organizations that provide legal assistance and receive some government funding.
Only Federal Direct Loans or loans owed directly to the Federal Government are eligible for forgiveness. Fordham Law students who borrowed Federal loans prior to 7/1/10 borrowed these loans from a bank or lending institution through the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP). For these FFELP loans to be eligible for forgiveness, they must be converted to Direct Loans and this can be done by consolidation through the Federal Direct Loan Consolidation Program at www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov.
Eligible loan repayments are those repayments made under one or any combination of four repayment plans: Income Based, Income Contingent, Pay As You Earn or the Standard (ten-year) Repayment Plan. Details for each of these repayment plans can be found at Federal Loan Repayment under What Repayment Options are Available to me on my Federal Loans?
Since private loans are not eligible for this forgiveness program, students planning to practice in the public service arena or work for the government should consider the Federal loan options first when borrowing education loans.
For further details on this program, please see Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.