September 15, 2022

Public Service Loan Forgiveness for ECE Workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in financial hardship for many, including members of the early care and education (ECE) workforce. Educators who work for a qualified employer—including many Head Start, preschool and child care programs—may now be eligible for federal student loan forgiveness, even if they were not eligible before.

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The Department of Education announced major changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program for a limited time.

Some borrowers will need to consolidate their federal loans and/or submit a PSLF form by October 31, 2022 to take advantage of this opportunity.

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) ACF has created a PSLF landing page that includes resources including a March 31 webinar  hosted by the Office of Early Childhood Development, in partnership with the Department of Education.

For a limited time under the current PSLF waiver:

  • You may receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF.

  • If you have FFEL, Perkins, or other federal student loans, you’ll need to consolidate your loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan to qualify for PSLF both in general, and under the waiver. You can log into Aid Summary to find out how many and what types of loans you have. Before consolidating, make sure to check to see if you work for a qualifying employer.

  • Past periods of repayment will now count regardless of whether you actually made a payment, made that payment on time, for the full amount due, or under a qualifying repayment plan.

  • If you work in a child care center, family child care home, Head Start program, or other school setting, your employer must still be a not-for-profit or U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government organization. (This has not changed). Most early educators who are self-employed or work at for-profit businesses do not qualify.

  • Periods of deferment or forbearance, and periods of default, continue to not qualify.

Qualification and Application Details

The limited waiver opportunity will be offered until October 31, 2022. After this period, normal PSLF requirements will apply.

More information on this limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness waiver, including how to qualify and apply, can be found online.