While the confusion over the student loan forgiveness program only intensifies, uncertainty builds over whether people will qualify for the program.
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Recently, there has been a lot of confusion about the approval process for student loan forgiveness. Now, a new question has developed: how do you actually qualify?

The right kind of payment

In order to qualify for the student loan forgiveness program, you need to make 120 on-time payments in full, and you also have to be working a full-time job.

This can become a problem for full-time students who aren’t capable of working full-time, as well as people with financial trouble who may not be able to make the payments in full.

But along with making the correct kind of payment, you need to have the right kind of employer.

The perfect employer

People were originally told that if they worked for a non-profit or for the government that they would become eligible for the student loan forgiveness program, however it is not that easy.

In order to be sure that you have the perfect employer to allow you to qualify for loan forgiveness, you need to file an employment certification form as often as every year and every time you change jobs or servicers. It’s important to stay up to date with the certification form, because the Department of Education could randomly decide that your employer does not fit the criteria for you to become eligible.

While that may seem like a handful, we’re just getting started. You also need to make sure you have the right type of loans.

Direct loans

There are various types of loans, and unfortunately the only type of loans that will allow you to qualify for the loan forgiveness program are the loans that you receive under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. The only way that any other loans will qualify is if you decide to consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

If you decide to consolidate your loans, any payments you make on the individual loans before consolidating them will not count toward your 120 payments.

How to manage your loans and do everything in your power to make sure you are eligible for the forgiveness program can be difficult to grasp, but there’s just one more thing that you need to know.

Repayment plans

The standard repayment term for student loans is 10 years. This means you have to make 120 payments. Repayment plans that are income-driven will allow you to make consistent payments that work with your income and count toward your 120 payments.

Deciding on a plan that is not income-driven would mean paying off the loan altogether in 10 years; there would be nothing left for the forgiveness program to forgive.

With that said, it’s important to make sure you have the correct repayment plan so that you know your payments qualify toward the goal of 120.

Takeaway

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, and it’s making people nervous. Nobody wants to be caught off guard with a notice that they don’t qualify for the program anymore. So, in order to dodge the disappointment, keep the criteria in mind and do your best to stay eligible.

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Posted 04.25.2018 - 10:00 am EST