Many people who work as correctional officers have student loan debt and are struggling to pay off their loans. If you fall into this category, you may be wondering if public service loan forgiveness can help with your situation.
This article will answer all of the questions about public service loan forgiveness for correctional officers and provide a few tips on how to qualify.
Before with dive into the requirements correctional officers need to qualify, is important to mention that if you are in default or wage garnishment you will need to get back in good standing to become eligible.
Now that we cover that let’s take a look at …
What is the public service loan forgiveness program?
The public service loan forgiveness program is a government program that was created in 2007 to help people with federal student loans.
This program allows borrowers who work full-time in qualifying public service jobs to have their remaining federal student loan balance forgiven after ten years of repayment.
Sounds great so far, right?
There are a few requirements you need to meet before you can qualify for the public service loan forgiveness program:
You must be employed full-time by a qualifying employer.
For the PSLF Program, any federal, state, municipal, or tribal government entity in the United States is considered a government employer.
Employers in this category include the United States military, public elementary and secondary schools, public colleges and universities, public child and family assistance organizations, and special governmental districts (including entities such as public transportation, water, bridge district, or housing authorities).
A government contractor is not a government employer.
You must work full-time to be eligible for PSLF. But the definition of “full-time” is flexible:
IF YOU HAVE ONE JOB – You have to meet your employer’s definition of “full-time” OR work at least 30 hours per week, whichever is greater.
IF YOU HAVE PART-TIME JOBS – You have to work a combined average of 30 hours per week, and all your part-time jobs must meet the eligibility requirements.
Your monthly payments must be on an income-driven repayment plan.
Correctional officers must repay their loans under an income-driven repayment plan.
ALL OF THE INCOME-DRIVEN REPAYMENT PLANS ARE ELIGIBLE:
REPAYE, or Revised Pay As You Earn, is an income-driven repayment plan that caps federal student loan payments at 10% of your discretionary income and forgives the remaining total after 20 or 25 years of repayment.
PAYE is an income-driven repayment plan in which your monthly payment is limited to 10% of your discretionary income.
PAYE gives the lowest monthly payment of any income-driven repayment option if you qualify.
If your federal student loan payments are too high for you, you might think about an income-based repayment plan.
Income-based repayment (IBR) is a federal student loan repayment plan that adjusts the amount of your monthly payments depending on your income and family size.
The Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan has monthly payments that are the smaller of (1) what you would pay on a 12-year repayment plan with a fixed monthly payment modified depending on your income or (2) 20% of your discretionary income divided by 12.
What about the Standard Repayment Plan? This plan qualifies for PSLF too, but if you’re on the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan the entire time you’re working toward PSLF, you’ll have no balance left to forgive after you’ve made 120 qualifying PSLF payments.
So we recommend entering one of the income-driven repayment plans above.
YOUR PAYMENT QUALIFIES IF YOU MAKE IT
- after Oct. 1, 2007;
- under a qualifying repayment plan;
- for the full amount due as shown on your bill;
- no later than 15 days after your due date;
- and while you’re employed full-time by a qualifying employer.
FEDERAL DIRECT LOANS ONLY
The only loan type eligible for PSLF is a federal direct loan.
If you consolidate a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan or a Perkins Loan into a Direct Consolidation Loan, those loans may become eligible as well.
Even if you have Direct Loans, you will need to combine your parent PLUS loans if you want to be eligible for Income Contingent Repayment plans.
Only qualifying payments made on the new Direct Consolidation Loan count toward the 120 payments necessary.
ARE YOUR LOANS DIRECT FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT? If you borrowed before 2011, it’s likely that some or all of your federal student loans aren’t Direct Loans, and you’ll need to consolidate them to qualify.
To see if your loan is direct, go to StudentAid.gov and look for the term “Direct” in the name.
Need help with your Student Loans? Let’s talk
There are a number of possibilities for getting your federal student debts forgiven in part or in full. If you’re not qualified, you might be able to get your student loans forgiven in part or whole.
If you aren’t eligible, a student loan advisor can help you check into your alternative choices for payback.
Make a call right now. We’ll help to develop a strategy that will help you achieve your long-term objectives.