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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Loan Forgiveness for Public Service

"I would love to do public interest after graduation but I also need to pay off my student loans!"

We often hear this lament in the Career Services Office from students who are interested in a public service career after graduation but do not think it is a possible avenue for them if they also want to be able to pay off their large amount of student loans.The Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Law: The College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 was created to address this problem so that pursuing a career in public service and being able to pay off student loans may no longer be mutually exclusive.

The Act helps public service attorneys in two ways:
1. Lowers monthly student loan payments on federally guaranteed student loans (called Income Based Repayment or IBR)
2. Forgives remaining debt for public servants after 10 years of public service employment (called Loan Forgiveness for Public Service)

Under IBR, annual loan payments may be no more than 15% of discretionary income. Under the Loan Forgiveness for Public Service, if a borrower makes 120 qualifying loan payments on a Federal Direct Loan (including Federal Direct Consolidation loans) while working full-time for 10 years in public service, the unpaid balance is forgiven by the federal government.

Public service employment is defined as:
- employment in a 501(c)(3) organization; or
- employment in government (local,state, federal, and tribal; including military and employment in public schools and universities); or
- service in a full-time AmeriCorps position; and
- employment in a "public service organization" (including legal services).

The Financial Aid Office will hold a Loan Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Seminar on Thursday, November 13th, Room 305, 3:00pm - 4:30pm where they will go into the guidelines and benefits of this new program in more detail. Interested students should RSVP by emailing

Additional information on the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Law is also available on the Equal Justice Works site.