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Entering Public Service for Student Loan Forgiveness
Finance / Investing Author: Elisheva Wiriaatmadja
Entering Public Service for Student Loan Forgiveness
Have you just graduated from college? Are you now facing the burden of your student loans just as millions of other graduates are? Are you also facing the sad fact of high unemployment rate in the United States today? If you answer yes to all of the above questions, you might want to consider taking a job in public service. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act created a Public Service Loan Forgiveness program which is to help their employees enjoy the benefits of student loan forgiveness.

There are several points you need to meet, though, in order to qualify for the program. First and foremost, you need to be a public service employee. This means that you need to apply for a full-time paid job in the government or in a 501(c)(3) non profit organization, AmeriCorps or Peace Corps or any private "public service organization". If you are already an employee, you need to continue working for these institutions.

Another filter for applicants are the type of student loans that you have. As sad as it sounds, if you hold private student loans, you will not be eligible for the program. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs are only offered to borrowers of federal student loans. If you have borrowed student loans through Federal Direct, you are eligible. If you borrowed in the past when federal loans were still offered by private banks and lenders through the Federal Family Education Loan, you will also be eligible. Only make sure that your loan is really a federal student loan and not a commercial private student loan.

The new student loan industry under Obama underwent a great change in the past year where federal student loans can only be offered by Federal Direct and no longer by private institutions. If you took out a federal student loan after 1998 through the FFEL program, you will need to consolidate your old loan, or reconsolidate into Federal Direct loan, before you can apply for the student loan forgiveness as a public service worker. You may not be sure what kind of student loan you are currently holding. If this is the case, you can look it up here at http://www.nslds.gov.

Unfortunately students who took out private commercial loans in the past from either state or private lenders will not be able to apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The program is only to bring student loan relief to federal student loan holders.

Besides the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, borrowers of federal student loans can also have their loan repayment managed through the Income Based Repayment program or IBR. This is also an alternative that can be taken by public service workers to the student loan forgiveness program. The IBR program will make your monthly payments more manageable according to your current income. More information can be found here on IBR.

However, as with all great programs such as scholarships, grants and student loan forgiveness, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is not automatic. It requires borrowers to take specific actions in order to take advantage of it. You can find a lot more online resources to help you figure all out from Equal Justice Works. They provide webinars, podcasts and downloadable files all about information on student loan forgiveness programs and repayment programs.

All great programs such as scholarships, grants and also this forgiveness programs, however, require the borrowers to take specific actions before they can gain the benefits of the program. It is just not automatic. You will be able to find much more information in online resources as to what to do and where you can apply for such programs above. Just go and google Equal Justice Works. You can find information on student loan forgiveness programs and repayment programs.
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