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September 20, 2022

The Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) Waiver

Erica C. R. Costello, JD

The PDF in which this article appears can be found in Bifocal, VOL 44, Issue 1

This past June, I was scrolling through the TikTok application on my phone when I came across a video discussing how individuals could pay off the rest of their student loans by applying for the “Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF)” waiver. The video gave step-by-step instructions on how to consolidate any current loans into a qualifying direct loan and then showed how to apply for the TEPSLF waiver.

The information contained on the TikTok video seemed too good to be true. Like many of my legal colleagues, I attended law school at an out-of-state public university and graduated with some substantial student loan debt. Working in both government and not-for-profit agencies for the past seventeen years, I researched the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program a couple of years ago but was sadly informed that my past payments would not qualify. At the time, to qualify for loan forgiveness, I would have had to consolidate my loans into a direct loan and then make 120 additional payments while continuing to work full-time for a not-for-profit or government agency over the next ten years! I ultimately decided against pursuing this option.

After seeing the TikTok video, however, I decided to investigate whether I now qualified for forgiveness under the TEPSLF waiver. To qualify for the TEPSLF waiver, I found that you must:  1) make all of your payments under a qualifying repayment plan, 2) have at least 10 years of full-time employment certified by a qualifying employer and approved by MOHELA, the Department of Education’s (DOE’s) loan service provider for the PSLF program, 3) meet the TEPSLF requirement for the amount you paid 12 months prior to applying for TEPSLF and the last payment you made before applying for TEPSLF be at least as much as you would have paid under an income-driven repayment plan, and 4) make 120 qualifying payments under the new requirements for TEPSLF while working full-time for your qualifying employer or employers (Department of Education, 2022).  While the TEPSLF waiver still requires that applicants have a direct loan, the waiver now allows for any payments made after October 1, 2007, to count as a qualifying payment, regardless of the loan program or plan at the time of the payment. (MOHELA, 2022).

Before consolidating into a direct loan, the DOE suggests that prospective applicants first confirm that their employer qualifies for the waiver. (Department of Education, 2022). Prospective applicants can check to see if their employer qualifies using the “Employer Search” feature or “PSLF Help Tool” on the DOE’s website. (Note:  you will need a account to use the PSLF Help Tool). The Help Tool also assists prospective applicants in generating a PSLF form to submit to qualifying employers for certification. Following certification by qualifying employers, the prospective applicant can then submit the PSLF form to MOHELA for evaluation and approval. “Qualifying employers” include government organizations at any level, not-for-profit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and anyone serving as a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps volunteer (MOHELA, 2022).

After confirming that your employer or employers qualify, you have until October 31, 2022, to consolidate into a direct loan (if needed) and submit a PSLF form to be eligible for the TEPSLF waiver. Id. If you need to consolidate, a direct loan consolidation application can be done through the DOE’s website at (Note: you will need a account to apply for direct loan consolidation). There are also instructions on the PSLF form for how to submit the application to MOHELA. Once MOHELA approves the PSLF form, an online tracker will be set up to count the number of qualifying payments. After 120 qualifying payments are confirmed, all or a portion of the loan will be discharged and forgiven. Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not consider loan amounts forgiven under the TEPSLF waiver to be income for tax purposes. (Department of Education, 2022).

Upon learning that my past payments now qualified, I decided to apply for loan forgiveness under the TEPSLF waiver. Using the PSLF Help Tool, I first checked to see if my past and current employers qualified (fortunately, all of them did). I then applied in mid-June to consolidate my Family Federal Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans into a qualifying direct loan. After submitting the direct loan consolidation application online, I used the online PSLF Help Tool to create the forms to certify my current and past employment at a government or not-for-profit agency and emailed the certification forms to my employers to fill-out, sign, and send back. Once my employers returned the certification forms, I mailed them, along with my PSFL application, to the address provided on the form. By mid-July, my FFEL Program loans were consolidated and, at the time of writing this article, my PSLF application is currently processing with MOHELA. My understanding is that once MOHELA approves the PSLF application, based on the number of qualifying payments that they now take into consideration under the TEPSLF waiver, my loan should qualify for complete forgiveness. (And to think my application process all started because of a random TikTok video!).

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not an expert on student loan forgiveness. I recognize that the financial situations surrounding student loans are unique to every individual. On August 23, President Biden announced a plan to cancel up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt and up to $20,000 in Pell grant debt for borrowers making an annual income of $125,000 or less, or households making $250,000 or less (Douglas-Gabriel and Stein, 2022). However, this plan is separate from, and does not make any changes to, the TEPSLF waiver. While the TEPSLF waiver has been available since last October, as of August 2022, it is estimated that only 15% of the nine million people who might be eligible for the TEPSLF waiver have started an application. (Quintana, 2022).

If you have any questions about the TEPSLF waiver, or if you would like to check into your eligibility for loan forgiveness, below is a list of the best resources I was able to find to assist individuals in this endeavor. I hope you will be able to use this information to decide if you are also eligible for loan forgiveness under the temporary expanded waiver. If you qualify, though—please remember to act fast. The October 31 deadline is soon approaching!

For information on the Temporary Extended Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) Waiver:

For information on MOHELA and the Temporary Extended Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) Waiver:

For information on Public Service Loan Forgiveness:

To Access the PSLF Employer Search Tool:

To Access the PSLF Help Tool:

For further information and resources, you can also access the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program Support (PSLF) Group on Facebook at:

Works Cited

Department of Education. (n.d.). Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Federal Student Aid. Retrieved August 22, 2022, from

Douglas-Gabriel, Danielle and Stein, Jeff. (2022, August 24). Biden to cancel up to $10,000 in student debt for most borrowers and $20,000 for Pell recipients.

MOHELA. (n.d.). Limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Waiver. Retrieved on August 22, 2022, from

Quintana, Chris. (2022, August 23). Feds cancel $10B in student loans for public workers as Biden weighs broader debt decision.

Erica C. R. Costello, JD

Senior Attorney/Chief Counsel

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