No borrower of federal student loans needs to be burdened with debt "for the rest of their lives."
Typically, unpaid student loan debt is discharged after making 240 on-time, monthly payments. For borrowers working full time in public service employment, forgiveness happens after 120 on time payments.
Key requirements:for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
Must be employed full-time (or multiple part-time positions) in an area of public service. The most common categories of public service employment include federal, state, or local government positions (e.g., Department of Justice, state prosecutors' office, public school teacher), or any not-for-profit organization that has a 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.
Payment must be made on-time (loan servicers will have a "window" of time after the due date when the payment may still be counted as "on time."
Payment must be made using an "income-driven" repayment plan (e.g., IBR or Pay as You Earn (PAYE). or REPAY).
Monthly payments do not need to be consecutive.
Applications and Forms for PSLF:
Application for IBR, PAYE, REPAY and ICR Loan repayment
These two forms also exist as online options on the website of your loan servicer. The online option is recommend.
Typically, these forms are completed approximately two months before you begin repayment on your student loans. Since most borrowers graduate in May and utilize six-month grace/forbearance periods before repayment is required, September is a typical month to complete these forms. The Employer Certification form cannot be completed until the borrower is employed. Any borrower may use IBR, PAYE, REPAY or ICR loan repayment plans, even if the borrower is not pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). For a more comprehensive discussion of loan repayment options please visit these sites.
Where to Get More Information:
Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)
Inquire with potential employers about LRAP programs they administer.
Use the internet to search for other opportunities.
Here are a few examples of non-school LRAP programs.
DC Loan Assistance Repayment Program Graduates working as a lawyer in DC with an income less than $65,000 a year are encouraged to apply for the DC Bar Foundation's LRAP Award. It offers up to $12,000 annually while working for an eligible employer in DC.
Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program Under the Civil Legal Assistance Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program, an eligible student loan borrower with one or more eligible loans, may receive up to $6,000 in student loan repayment for each year of completed service up to an aggregate total of $40,000. Loan repayment commitments are limited to the amount appropriated for the program for a given fiscal year by the Congress and are only available to eligible applicants until those funds are fully committed. Quick facts can be found here.