Fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program

November 2, 2021

Dear Friend,

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education announced an overhaul of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which was designed to help our nation’s teachers, first responders, health professionals, civil servants and other public service workers with the burden of their student loan debt and incentivize qualified candidates to pursue careers in public service.

In 2007, I authored the legislation which created the PSLF program. Unfortunately, it has struggled to live up to its promises to borrowers, and I have been pushing for specific reforms that would address the implementation failures and bottlenecks in the program.

The Department of Education’s overhaul will increase qualifying payments for potentially as many as 550,000 borrowers with previously consolidated loans and take other steps to make it easier for borrowers to get the loan forgiveness they deserve. It will:

  • Implement a Limited Waiver to count all prior payments made by student borrowers toward PSLF, regardless of the loan program;
  • Simplify the technical requirements to qualify for PSLF;
  • Eliminate barriers for military service members to receive forgiveness;
  • Automatically help federal employees access PSLF;
  • Review denied PSLF applications and identify and correct errors;
  • Improve communication with PSLF-eligible borrowers;
  • Simplify the application process; and
  • Make other long-term improvements that simplify qualifying payment rules to help borrowers make progress toward forgiveness.

To help public servants in Maryland learn more about these changes, I recently held an information session with Mike Pierce, Executive Director of the Student Borrower Protection Center – a nonprofit focused on alleviating the burden of student debt.

To learn more about the Department of Education’s overhaul of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, see here.

If you or your family members need help navigating federal agencies or accessing important federal benefits, please send me an email or call (410) 832-8890 during normal business hours. My staff and I are here to assist you.


Signature in black text
Congressman John Sarbanes
Maryland’s Third Congressional District