Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Updates to student loan repayments may affect conference clergy and staff

5/10/2022

News Release

Recent changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) may impact clergy members and other employees of not-for-profit organizations engaged in faith-based works Wespath will host a no-cost webinar on May 11 at 12:30 p.m. to offer more insight into the changes. Registration is open here.

The PSLF Program forgives the remaining balance on your Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. A limited-time waiver will allow borrowers the opportunity to apply previous payments to the program. This waiver lasts until October 31.

While initially clergy and others were excluded from the PSLF Program because “religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing” didn’t count toward the full-time work requirement, the U.S. Department of Education, which administers the program, reversed the exclusion effective July 1, 2021.

The Wespath webinar will be led by Scott Filter, a senior advisor in the Office of Students and Young Consumers at the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He focuses on student debt and higher education policy.

To qualify for the PSLF Program, you need to:

  • Work full time for a qualifying employer (local churches, annual conferences and church-associated organizations can be qualifying employers)
  • Have Direct Loans, the term for the Department of Education’s federal student loans (or consolidate other federal student loans into a Direct Loan)
  • Make 10 years’ worth of payments, which comes to 120 qualifying monthly payments

Thanks to the limited waiver, payments made on federal loans under programs that previously did not qualify, such as the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) or Perkins loans; payments made under any repayment plan type; and payments that were late or for less than the amount due will retroactively count toward the PSLF Program, if borrowers consolidate those other loans into Direct Loans by October 31. To be eligible, borrowers may need to set up a consolidated Direct Loan with income-driven repayments. They must also submit a PSLF Form to FedLoan Servicing by that date.

For additional information, visit the following webpages:

 

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