Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) is a loan forgiveness program for those with Direct Loans. It has very specific qualification requirements but is more accepting of different repayment plans than PSLF is.
Student loan debt is a harsh reality for many Americans. Paying off this debt can take years for many federal student loan borrowers, especially if they agreed to the wrong repayment plan. This is why TEPSLF is important.
TEPSLF is a form of student loan forgiveness separate from PSLF. Both programs have very specific requirements in order to be accepted, but TEPSLF is for those who made the wrong repayment plan and thus cannot qualify for PSLF.
Continue reading to learn if you’re eligible for this program and how you can apply.
What is TEPSLF?
To fully understand what TEPSLF is, you should first have a basic understanding of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The PSLF program forgives the remaining balance on Direct Loans if you meet certain criteria.
The Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) is an extension of the PSLF. It is designed to make it easier to receive loan forgiveness and help those who may have signed up for the wrong repayment plan. Some repayment plans that may not qualify for PSLF could qualify for TEPSLF. There are still specific criteria you must meet to be eligible for TEPSLF, which we review in this article.
TEPSLF is temporary and has limited funding, so if you qualify, be sure to apply as soon as you possibly can. Eligible candidates are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
PSLF vs. TEPSLF key differences
The two programs are very similar in services and qualification requirements. For example, both offer loan forgiveness only for Direct Loans— a specific federal student loan. They also have the same employment requirements. There are, however, a few key differences.
The biggest difference is the qualifying repayment plans. PSLF only accepts income-driven repayment plans, while TEPSLF accepts a larger variety of plans. TEPSLF is also temporary and has limited funding, while the PSLF program is here to stay. Once all the funding for TEPSLF is spent, the program will end.
Qualification requirements for TEPSLF
Many of the qualification requirements for TEPSLF are the same as PSLF, except for the repayment plan. While PSLF only accepts the various income-driven repayment plans, TEPSLF accepts others. Here are all the requirements you must have to be eligible for TEPSLF.
You must have been a full-time employee for at least ten years for a qualifying employer, which may include a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, a government organization, or a nonprofit that provides a qualifying public service. For-profit organizations, partisan political organizations, and labor unions are not qualified employers.
You can submit a certification and application form to find out if your employer is qualified.
Only Federal Direct Loans are eligible for TEPSLF. The following loans are not qualified for TEPSLF:
- Private Loans
- Nonfederal Loans
- Federal Family Education Loan
- Federal Perkins Loans
- Defaulted Direct Loans
- Direct PLUS Loans
This is the factor that sets TEPSLF apart from PSLF. To be eligible, payments must have been made under a TEPSLF qualifying repayment plan. Eligible repayment plans for TEPSLF include Graduated Repayment Plan, Consolidation Graduated Repayment Plan, Consolidation Standard Repayment Plan, and Extended Repayment Plan.
If your payment plan was an income-driven repayment plan, then you qualify for PSLF and not TEPSLF.
The payment amount you paid 12 months before applying for TEPSLF and the amount of your last payment before applying for TEPSLF must be as much as you would have paid with an income-driven repayment plan.
You must have made 120 payments in order to be eligible for TEPSLF. Monthly, qualifying payments must also have been made:
- After October 1, 2007
- In full
- No later than 15 days past the due date
- While employed full-time by a qualified employer
Because you must make 120 months of qualifying payments, it will likely take about ten years before you are eligible for TEPSLF or PSLF.
How to apply to TEPSLF
You use the same form to apply for TEPSLF and PSLF. Even if you know you’re not eligible for PSLF, but might be for TEPSLF, you still have to fill out the same form. Your application will be reviewed and evaluated to see if you are eligible for either program.
There are two routes you can take to apply. You can either:
- Use the PSLF help tool to fill out the form. You can then print it and have it signed by you and your employer; or,
- You can download the form directly and print it off once you have filled it out completely.
The form will ask you quite a few questions about your employment, such as your federal employer identification number, how long you have worked there, and more.
Once the form is complete, you can send it off in two different ways:
- Mail it to the following address: U.S. Department of Education | FedLoan Servicing | P.O. Box 69184 | Harrisburg, PA 17106-9184
- Fax the form to 717-720-1628
The application process
After submitting your application, it’s time to wait for FedLoan Servicing to contact you.
FedLoan Servicing may contact you and ask additional questions, such as your family size or income from the last year. If you don’t respond within 21 days, the service may cancel your application, so be sure to respond right away.
Ultimately, you should hear back about their decision after 60 to 120 days. If you’re approved, your loan should be forgiven and the amount should not be considered taxable income.
Why would I be denied TEPSLF?
Although TEPSLF is designed to be somewhat easier to receive loan forgiveness for federal Direct Loans, there are still a few reasons why you may be denied. After all, there are very specific qualifications you need to meet to be approved by the program.
- No direct loans. You may be denied if you don’t have Direct Loans. Only Direct Loans qualify for loan forgiveness through these programs. Other federal student loans, nonfederal loans, or private loans are not eligible. Even if you have a Direct Loan, you are not eligible if it has defaulted.
- Employment. Another reason you could be denied is your employment. Your employer may not be eligible, or you don’t have ten years worth of full-time experience. If you spent a few years working part-time, this would prevent you from being eligible, even if it was with a qualifying employer.
- Payments. Finally, you may be denied because of your payment history. Perhaps your first or last payment made before the application did not fit the requirements, or perhaps some were past due.
If you are denied, you do have the option to appeal. You can do this by submitting a PSLF reconsideration request. You’ll be asked to describe errors that you believe were made and to provide documents that support your claims.
What if I’m not eligible for TEPSLF or PSLF?
There are a few other ways you can receive loan forgiveness even if you don’t qualify for TEPSLF. Here are a few more steps you can take if you are not eligible for either plan:
- If you have a Direct PLUS Loan, Perkins Loan, or Federal Family Education Loan, you can look into consolidating these loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan. A new Direct Consolidation Loan might make you eligible for one of the programs. Keep in mind, however, that you’re still required to satisfy all of the other qualifications, including making the 120 payments.
- If you were denied because your payments were less than the monthly income-driven repayment plan amount, keep making loan payments. You could still be eligible for PSLF in the future.
- Talk to your loan servicer, specifically if you have a private or nonfederal loan. They should be able to direct you to other loan forgiveness programs that you qualify for.
- Look into refinancing your loan, specifically if you have private loans. You’ll still have student loan debt, but the interest rates or fees could be lower.
- Research and talk to a debt settlement firm or a student tax debt attorney. Settling federal student loans can be a difficult process, but it might be worth looking into.
What is the difference between PSLF and TEPSLF?
The main difference between PSLF and TEPSLF is the eligible repayment plans. PSLF only accepts income-driven repayment plans, while TEPSLF accepts Graduated Repayment Plans, Extended Repayment Plans, and more.
Is TEPSLF going away?
TEPSLF is, as the name implies, temporary in addition to its limited funding. Once all the money is spent, the program will be done.
What is a qualifying employer for TEPSFL?
Nonprofits, some government organizations, and certain public service jobs are considered qualifying employment under the program. Labor unions, partisan political organizations, and for-profit organizations are not qualifying employers.
- Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) is a form of student loan forgiveness for those with Federal Direct Loans.
- TEPSLF is for those who do not have an income-driven repayment plan but otherwise would qualify for a PSLF.
- There are very specific eligibility requirements to receive TEPSLF, such as who your employer is and how long you have been making payments.
- TEPSLF is a temporary program. Once all the funding is spent, the program will be done.
Reduce your student loan debt
If you’re overwhelmed by your student loan debt and can’t find ways to earn student loan forgiveness, look into lowering your student loan interest. While this may not relieve the debt, it might help alleviate it. Read SuperMoney’s list of six ways you can lower your student loan interest for a deep dive into this topic.
View Article Sources
- Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness — Federal Student Aid
- Student Loan Forgiveness — Federal Student Aid
- Student Loans — Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- The Definitive Guide to Federal Student Loans — SuperMoney
- No Private Student Loan Forgiveness Options? Here’s 5 Alternatives — SuperMoney
- The Ultimate Guide to Student Loan Refinancing — SuperMoney
- What is a Federal Direct Loan? — SuperMoney
- Best Student Loan Debt Settlement Companies | March 2022 — SuperMoney
Camilla has a background in journalism and business communications. She specializes in writing complex information in understandable ways. She has written on a variety of topics including money, science, personal finance, politics, and more. Her work has been published in the HuffPost, KSL.com, Deseret News, and more.