2 groups of student-loan borrowers need to take action to get expanded loan forgiveness benefits

  • The Education Department announced permanent fixes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
  • It came just days before the PSLF waiver, which expands relief, expires on October 31.
  • Some borrowers are facing deadlines to take action and ensure they can get relief.

The student-loan industry is going through a lot of changes right now — and some borrowers are running against the clock to take advantage of temporary benefits.

Last October, President Joe Biden’s Education Department announced reforms to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which is intended to forgive student debt for government and nonprofit workers after ten years of qualifying payments. Those reforms included a temporary waiver that allowed any past payments to the program, including those previously deemed ineligible, to count toward forgiveness progress — but that waiver is expiring in less than a week, on October 31. 

As the Education Department announced on Tuesday, though, the waiver may be expiring but reforms will not end there. It introduced permanent fixes to PSLF, including a one-time adjustment of borrowers’ accounts enrolled in both PSLF and income-driven repayment plans, to allow one more chance to correct any inaccuracies with payment counts. Along with that adjustment, the department will also simplify eligibility criteria for the program and make it easier to address payment errors — all to be implemented in July 2023.

“Starting next summer, these actions will move millions of qualified borrowers closer to forgiveness by crediting all their past payments,” Education Sec. Miguel Cardona told reporters on a Tuesday press call. “The results will be even more transformative, getting even more public servants closer to the forgiveness.”

But some benefits from the waiver are not rolling over, and two groups of borrowers are facing certain cutoffs to access relief:

  1. Borrowers no longer working in public service. The waiver allowed borrowers who are not currently employed in a public service field to get closer to loan forgiveness through PSLF, but that benefit is expiring on October 31. Borrowers who want to take advantage need to apply for the waiver by then, and going forward, a borrower needs to be actively employed in public service to qualify for relief.
  2. Borrowers with federal loans that are not direct or managed by the Education Department. To qualify for the PSLF one-time account adjustment, borrowers must have a federal direct loan or a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) managed by the department. Borrowers with any other type of federal loan need to consolidate their debt into the direct loan program to qualify for the one-time adjustment by May 1, 2023. 

As the department noted, the one-time account adjustment will give borrowers employed in public service one more chance to get their payments up to date if they missed the waiver deadline, but it’s still recommended they apply for the waiver before it expires to ensure any fixes can be processed as soon as possible. Borrowers can also apply for Biden’s broad student-loan forgiveness — up to $20,000 in relief — through the online form at as the PSLF reforms are implemented.