Public Service Loan Forgiveness for Firefighters
Student loan debt is a huge problem — it’s one of the biggest modern financial crises, and can leave many people floundering. Fortunately, the federal government started Public Service Loan Forgiveness for firefighters and other members of the public sector to alleviate the financial burden of your student loans. However, the eligibility requirements and steps you must take are difficult to understand, time consuming, and frustrating.
We want to eliminate the confusion and get you on your way. We have the information you need to make decisions that are right for your unique situation and can connect you to a debt-solution expert who can process all the necessary paperwork. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free loan assessment today.
How To Qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness for Firefighters
To be an eligible firefighter for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you must be employed full-time in the public sector and you must make 120 monthly loan payments under one of the sanctioned payment plans starting Oct. 1, 2007 or later. Thus, qualifying is at least a 10-year process, though it can be longer. You don’t, however, have to have graduated to receive loan forgiveness. If you took out federal loans and did not finish school, you may still qualify.
Note: only Direct Loans are forgiven. Private loans or other non-Direct federal loans are not eligible. To check the federal loans you have, click here. Luckily, if you have some federal loans that are not Direct Loans, we can put you in touch with loan professionals who can consolidate them into a qualifying Direct Consolidation Loan.
There are four qualifying payment plans for Public Service Loan Forgiveness for firefighters: Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR), Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE). For complete details on each specific option, check out our dedicated Public Service Loan Forgiveness page.
You need to be employed full-time in the public sector. As most fire departments are public, this should not a problem for you. However, unfortunately, being a volunteer firefighter does not count.
Also, if you move into a non-public service position before making 120 payments, any payments made in the private sector would not count towards the 120 payments; but, as soon as you go back to public service, your payments would start counting again. Thus, if you have been a firefighter for six years (and made 82 payments), took a private position for two (making 24 payments), and then went back to public service, you have to work four additional years, and make 48 more payments, to reach the payment requirement. Accordingly, it would take 12 years and you would make 144 total payments, but 24 of them would not “count” for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness for firefighters.
The first thing to do is determine which loans you have. After that, submit an Employment Certification form for every year of public service you have worked. Once you have reached 120 payments, you need to submit the application.
IMPORTANT NOTE: even after making 120 payments, you need to remain in public service until AFTER you have submitted the application AND had your loans forgiven. If you leave public service before the elimination of your loans, you lose eligibility.
Contact Us For Assistance
We want to make this complex process easy for you, and we want to put you in touch with the perfect debt-solution professionals. Contact us today to learn more.