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Has anyone done their loan forgiveness through the Peace Corps?

I want to focus on water conservation and preservation while I am in school. After I graduate, I have been thinking about joining the peace corps for loan forgiveness program. Has anyone taken this route for forgiveness, and if so how was your experience? Do you have any pointers?

#peacecorps #loanforgiveness #loan #finance #money #paying-for-college #student-loans #loans

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Chelsea’s Answer

Hi Rachel! My name is Chelsea and I served in Costa Rica from 2014-2016, and was a Peace Corps recruiter from 2016-2018.

I never did loan forgiveness myself, but basically how it works is that for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, you need to make 120 monthly payments while working in public service and after that, whatever you didn't already pay off gets forgiven (after a LOT of paperwork). If you join the Peace Corps, your service counts for 27 of those months and you don't need to pay anything (as opposed to if you were a teacher or working for the government you would need to be making a minimum payment).

If you do decide to work in public service, then you will possibly get your federal loans forgiven 27 months earlier, but you would still need 8 more years of public service making payments every month before that happens. I know very few people who go that route.

Peace Corps is an awesome program, will give you many professional opportunities, and if you decide to go to grad school, there are a ton of scholarship opportunities that Peace Corps will open for you (I got my MBA for free) but undergrad loans are a tough one for many.

Chelsea recommends the following next steps:

Determine if you want to work in public service for 8 years post-Peace Corps

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Janna’s Answer

Would very much agree that I know tons of friends who have applied for loan forgiveness through public service (peace corps falls under this category), and it's certainly doable, but many have experience tail-end career changes that make them ineligible. Public service loan forgiveness is also subject to current laws and could really change in the next few years. It's great that you're thinking ahead! It's a great plan, but it's also a great idea to have a backup plan. If your plans change anywhere along the loans of 120 on-time payments (including peace corps service), you want to make sure your life isn't put on hold by not having your direct loan balance forgiven. Also keep in mind public service loan forgiveness only applies to federal direct loans - any other loans won't be forgiven. Good luck!