Update for Public Health Workforce About Federal Loan Forgiveness

November 09, 2021|10:11 p.m.| ASTHO Staff

In addition to the countless hours worked during the COVID-19 pandemic, many public health workers are also grappling with how to repay outstanding federal loans. In response, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) recently announced temporary relief to current and future Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program participants as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For a limited period of time, borrowers may receive credit for past non-qualifying payments. Under DOE’s temporary rules, any prior payment made will count as a qualifying payment, regardless of loan type, repayment plan, or whether the payment was made in full or on time. This change will apply to student loan borrowers with Direct Loans, those who have already consolidated into the Direct Loan Program, and those who will consolidate into the Direct Loan Program.

ASTHO is highlighting DOE’s temporary relief to ensure that the public health workforce knows how to take full advantage of any and all loan relief for which they qualify. Additionally, some media reports detailed how borrowers are having trouble navigating the new guidelines.

Submit Waiver Requests by Oct. 31, 2022

DOE will credit borrowers for prior payments made while working for a qualifying employer, regardless of loan type or repayment plan. To have previously-ineligible payments counted, borrowers must submit a PSLF form—the single application used for a review of employment certification, payment counts, and processing of forgiveness—no later than Oct. 31, 2022.

DOE’s Temporary Loan Forgiveness Highlights

For more details, read ASTHO's Memo on the Temporary Waiver to Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

ASTHO will continue to monitor this issue and future DOE guidance.


Jeffrey Ekoma, MBA, MS is senior director of government affairs at ASTHO