Opportunities for Loan Forgiveness for Professionals in Public Services Fields — Including Psychologists
There are two newer federal programs that provide opportunities for loan forgiveness for professionals in specific fields, which may include psychologists working in those designated fields. For further information, please contact the U.S. Department of Education.
Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Employees
Adopted as part of the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007, the Loan Forgiveness Program for Public Service Employees provides loan cancellations for the remaining balance on ELIGIBLE federal student loans after the borrower has made 120 MONTHLY PAYMENTS on those loans while employed in certain public service fields. Public Service jobs include: Emergency management; Government; Military service; Public safety; Law enforcement; Public health; Public education (including early childhood education); Social work in a public child or family service agency; Public child care ; Public service for individuals with disabilities; Public interest law services (including prosecution or public defense or legal advocacy in low income communities at a nonprofit organization); Public service for the elderly; Public library sciences; School-based library sciences and other school-based services; Certain tax-exempt organizations; Faculty teaching in high-needs areas, as determined by the Secretary; Full-time faculty member at a Tribal College or University.
The 120 MONTHLY PAYMENTS must be made after October 1, 2007 in the Direct Loan program. The borrower must not be in default on eligible loans. The first loan cancellations will not be made until October 2017, at the earliest.
To have the remaining balances cancelled, the borrower must have been employed in a public service job during the entire period in which the borrower made each of the 120 monthly payments and must be employed in a public service job at the time of loan forgiveness.
Direct loans include the following:
Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loans/Direct Subsidized Loans
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Federal Direct PLUS loans (for parents and grad/professional students)
Federal Direct Consolidation Loans
Individuals consolidating other federal student loans may be eligible if they consolidate to the Direct Loan Program. Only payments on the Consolidation Loan made after October 1, 2007 will count towards the required 120 monthly payments.
This information is drawn from a document created by the U.S. Department of Education (PDF, 85 KB).
Loan Forgiveness for Service in Areas of National Need
This program was authorized as part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act, P.L. 110-315. While authorized, it is subject to appropriations approved by Congress and the President. It is also subject to final regulations that might guide the implementation of the program. This program is not currently funded.
This program could provide up to $10,000 (maximum aggregate amount) in loan forgiveness for eligible outstanding balances on qualified federal loans ($2,000 per year of qualified full-time employment after August 14, 2008). Funds, if made available, would be funded on a first-come, first-served basis (subject to federal appropriations).
This loan forgiveness could be available for individuals working full time serving in specified fields which include:
Early childhood educators
Nurses serving in a clinical setting or on the faculty of an accredited nursing school
Foreign language specialists teaching a critical foreign language in an elementary or secondary school or postsecondary institution, or serving in a U.S. government agency in a position requiring the use of a critical foreign language
Librarians serving public libraries or school libraries located in low-income communities
Highly qualified teachers serving students with limited English proficiency, low-income communities and underrepresented populations
Speech-language pathologists and audiologists
Public-sector employees including:
Public safety workers, including first responders, firefighters, police or other law enforcement or public safety officers
Emergency management workers, including emergency medical technicians
Public health practitioners
Public interest legal professionals, including prosecutors, public defense attorneys or those providing legal services to low-income communities at a nonprofit organization
Nutrition professionals, serving as dieticians for special supplemental nutrition programs for women, infants and children
Medical specialists participating in graduate medical education training or fellowships in areas of need
Mental health professionals providing services to children, adolescents or veterans
Dentists, in practice or serving on dental school faculty
Employees working in applied sciences, technology, engineering or mathematics.
Physical or occupational therapists providing services to children, adolescents or veterans
Superintendents, principals and other administrators serving schools in low-income areas