How to Get Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) in 4 Easy Steps

(and 120 qualifying payments)

 

  1. Consolidate with Direct Loans
    • For the purpose of obtaining PSLF, you can re-consolidate loans you already consolidated
    • You can include any other federal debt, including student debt from your undergraduate or additional graduate studies
    • You should not include any Parent PLUS Loans in the consolidation, as they are not eligible for IBR and thus for PSLF

  2. Select IBR as your repayment plan*
    • Do this by completing the following documents with your Consolidation Application
    • Repayment Plan Selection
      Complete this form to select your repayment plan when you are applying for a Direct Consolidation Loan. (NOTE: For your information only, a Repayment Plan Choices insert is also provided to help you decide which plan to select. This insert does not need to be returned to Direct Lending.)
    • ICR Plan & IBR Plan Consent to Disclosure of Tax Information
      Complete this form only if you are required, or select, to repay your consolidation loans through the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) or Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan. This is your consent for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to disclose your tax information to Direct Lending. This information helps them determine a reasonable repayment amount, given your financial situation.
    • ICR Plan & IBR Plan Alternative Documentation of Income
      Complete this form only if you are required, or select, to repay your consolidation loans through the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) or Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan. This form is used to provide your income information, which Direct Lending uses for the ICR and IBR Plans to calculate your monthly payments each year. You (and your spouse, when applicable based on the form's instructions) need to complete and submit this form for the ICR or IBR Plan.

      * Please note that IBR is calculated based on the size of your household and your AGI. If you are married, have children, or expect to have children at any time during the period you will be utilizing IBR, please assure you understand how family size, AGI, and tax-filing status affect your IBR payment amount. You do not want to assume forgiveness only to find out your IBR payment increases drastically in year five or seven!!

      Further information can be found at the following locations:
      If questions remain after you've had a chance to look at the provided information, please don't hesitate to contact Duke Law's Office of Financial Aid!

  3. Make qualifying payments each month for 10 years while working in public service full-time:
    • Check that your job qualifies. Your job qualifies if you work full-time for the government or a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
    • Work in public service for 10-years (the 10 years don't need to be consecutive but you have to be working in eligible employment when forgiveness is granted).
    • Make 120 qualifying payments (once a month for ten years) on your Federal Direct Loans.
    • Monitor and document your qualifying payments.

    The Department of Education provides a simple way to monitor the payments on your Direct Loans and assure that they are listed as qualifying payments! Once you begin repayment, you will have access to a screen like the one pictured below through the DOE's website.

    Screenshot from DOE's website


  4. Apply for loan forgiveness!