With the average student owing more than $37,000 for a four-year degree, it's easy to feel like there's no way out. However, if you're one of the estimated tens of thousands of US student loan debtors who work in a public service or non-profit field, then 2017 may be your lucky year.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program forgives the remaining balance of your student loans if you have worked, full-time (defined as 30 hours or more), in the government or 501c3 not-for-profit sector for 10 years, and made 120 qualifying monthly payments. This program went into affect on October 1, 2007, meaning the first round of forgiveness begins next October.
Qualifying employment typically includes work for local, state and federal governments, schools and universities, social services, 501c3 not-for-profit agencies, and other charities that provide a public service. The exception to the charitable work rule is some religious and proselytizing activities. If you work for a charity that provides such a service some or all of your work may not qualify, depending upon your duties.