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Student Loan Options

Do you have any student loans?

  • Yes

    If you have student loans, be sure to research your options well in advance. This tool will help you research what student loan options may be available. Keep in mind that your loans are your responsibility, and being out of the country will likely make communicating with your lender challenging. Lenders will generally not speak to anyone who is not the borrower or the power of attorney (POA). Ask your lender what type of POA they accept and assign a trusted friend or family member as your POA. This individual can contact your lender and the Peace Corps on financial matters when necessary. They can follow up with your lender and request certification for each year that you are away, if required by your lender. The POA is different from the Peace Corps' Privacy Act Waiver (PAW), which is only for Peace Corps purposes. A lender will not recognize the Peace Corps' PAW. After you send your lender a request (for income-driven repayment, deferment, cancellation, or forgiveness), you or your POA should always follow up directly with your lender to ensure that they received and processed your request.

    For general student loan information, please visit www.peacecorps.gov/loans and 10 Things You Need To Know About Student Loans and Peace Corps.

Do you have both federal and private loans?

  • Yes

    Please click through both federal and private loan links separately. If you don't know which type(s) of loan(s) you have, please contact your lender(s) and visit www.nslds.ed.gov.

  • No

    Please click on federal loans or private loans, whichever is applicable.

  • I don't know

    If you don't know what type(s) of loan(s) you have, please contact your lender(s) for clarification and visit www.nslds.ed.gov to help determine which type(s) of loan(s) you have.

If it is a federal loan, what type of loan is it?

Different options exist for certain federal loans. You may qualify for an income-driven repayment plan (likely $0 per month during service), deferment during service, partial cancellation, or Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Peace Corps Volunteer service is considered “qualifying employment” for the Department of Education's Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). If you are working full-time for a qualifying employer, PSLF forgives the remainder of certain federal loans after 120 monthly payments are made under a qualifying repayment plan (your 120 qualifying payments do not need to be consecutive). Under a qualifying repayment plan (such as an income-driven repayment plan), your payments could be $0 per month while volunteering. Signing up at the beginning of your service allows you to make the greatest number of qualifying payments. If you sign up within six months after your service ends, you may be able to receive credit for some, but not all of your time in service and you will need to use a portion of your readjustment allowance to make qualifying payments. Federal Direct, Direct PLUS, and Direct Consolidated loans are eligible for the PSLF program. Other federal loans may qualify if you consolidate them into a Direct Consolidated Loan. Call FedLoan Servicing at 855.265.4038 to see if you qualify. You need to be sure that your loans qualify for PSLF and that you get on the right repayment plan for PSLF.

Most volunteers will benefit from PSLF. If you plan to work for a public service organization (federal, state, and local government as well as many nonprofits qualify) after your Peace Corps service, PSLF could reduce the amount you pay over the life of your loan. However if you plan to work for a non-qualifying employer (such as a private company) after your Peace Corps service, signing up for an income-driven repayment plan may increase your total loan repayment.

If your federal loan is not mentioned, contact your lender to see if student loan relief is offered for Peace Corps Volunteer service.

  • Is it a Perkins Loan?

    • You may qualify for an income-driven repayment plan. Please note that this may increase your overall loan repayment if it’s not done in conjunction with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Please visit Federal Student Aid and questions 1 and 4 in Peace Corps and Repayment of Your Federal Student Loans (PDF) for more information.
    • You may consider participating in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). Review Peace Corps and Repayment of Your Federal Student Loans (PDF) and call FedLoan Servicing at 855.265.4038 to see if and how you would be able to qualify. If you plan to pursue a career in public service and decide that PSLF makes sense for you, bring the PSLF Certification form to staging for verification. You are then responsible to send it to your lender and ensure that they received and processed your request.
    • You may be eligible for deferment. Volunteers qualify for a deferment of principal payments during their Peace Corps service and for six months immediately after their service ends. For Perkins Loans obtained before July 1, 1993, this relief is limited to three years of Peace Corps service; for loans obtained on or after that date, it is available for the entire period of a Volunteer’s service. The Department of Education does not charge interest during the deferment period. You are then responsible to send it to your lender, or to your power of attorney (POA) who can then send the request to your lender. You or your POA should follow up with your lender to ensure that your lender received and processed your request.
    • You may qualify for partial Perkins Loan cancellation. Volunteers qualify for a 15 percent loan cancellation for each of their first two years of service and a 20 percent loan cancellation for their third and fourth years of service. Up to 70 percent of a Perkins Loan may be canceled. Volunteers must serve one complete year (365 days) in order to qualify for this cancellation benefit. Training time is included in the year of service that is eligible for the partial Perkins Loan cancellation benefit. If you consolidate your Perkins Loan with other student loans, you will lose the cancellation benefit. Once a Perkins Loan is consolidated, it is no longer considered a Perkins Loan and therefore is ineligible for cancellation. If you are looking to combine several student loans, do not include the Perkins Loan if you are interested in the cancellation benefit.
    • Contact your lender for information on deferment, partial Perkins Loan cancellation, or if it would make sense to consolidate your loans in order to participate in Public Service Loan Forgiveness. NOTE: If you consolidate a Perkins Loan, it is no longer eligible for the partial cancellation benefit. You need to research your options to see what makes the most sense for you and your loans.
  • Is it a Stafford Loan?

    • You may qualify for an income-driven repayment plan. Please note that this may increase your overall loan repayment if it’s not done in conjunction with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Please visit Federal Student Aid and questions 1 and 4 in Peace Corps and Repayment of Your Federal Student Loans (PDF) for more information.
    • You may qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). Review Peace Corps and Repayment of Your Federal Student Loans (PDF) and call FedLoan Servicing at 855.265.4038 to see if and how you would be able to qualify. If you plan to pursue a career in public service and decide that PSLF makes sense for you, bring the PSLF Certification form to staging with you for verification. You are then responsible to send it to your lender and ensure that they received and processed your request.
    • You may be eligible for deferment. Volunteers qualify for a deferment of principal payments for up to three years during Peace Corps service. The Department of Education pays interest on subsidized Stafford Loans during the deferment period. Even though your principal payment is deferred, you must make interest payments on an unsubsidized Stafford Loans. You may opt to apply to your lender for forbearance on the interest payment for these loans. As a Volunteer, you may authorize payments of up to $206.25 per month from your readjustment allowance to cover interest due on your student loans. As of October 1, 2014, the allowable amount will be $243.75 per month of service. However, Volunteers with Peace Corps Response are not always eligible to use their readjustment allowance for this purpose. If you are applying to Peace Corps Response, please speak to your recruiter directly about your options. Bring the lender’s deferment form to staging for certification. You are then responsible to send it to your lender and ensure that they received and processed your request. Bring the lender’s deferment form to staging for certification. You are then responsible to send it to your lender, or to your power of attorney (POA) who can then send it to your lender. You or your POA should follow up with your lender to ensure that your lender received and processed your request.
  • Is it a Federal Direct Loan?

    • You may qualify for an income-driven repayment plan. Please note that this may increase your overall loan repayment if it’s not done in conjunction with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Please visit Federal Student Aid and questions 1 and 4 in Peace Corps and Repayment of Your Federal Student Loans (PDF) for more information.
    • You may qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). Peace Corps Volunteer service is considered "qualifying employment" for the Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. If you are working full-time for a qualifying employer, PSLF forgives the remainder of certain federal loans after 120 monthly payments are made under a qualifying repayment plan. Under a qualifying repayment plan (such as an income-driven repayment plan), your payments could be $0 per month while volunteering. Signing up at the beginning of your service allows you to make the greatest number of qualifying payments. If you sign up after your service ends, you may be able to receive credit for some, but not all of your time in service. If you plan to pursue a career in public service and have federal loans, call FedLoan Servicing 855.265.4038 to see if you qualify. Details, instructions, and frequently asked questions can be found in Peace Corps and Repayment of Your Federal Student Loans (PDF). If you plan to pursue a career in public service and participate in PSLF, bring the PSLF Certification form with you to staging for verification.
    • You may be eligible for deferment. Volunteers qualify for a deferment of principal payments for up to three years during Peace Corps service. The Department of Education does not charge interest on subsidized Federal Direct Loans during the deferment period. Even though your principal payment is deferred, you must make interest payments on Federal Consolidation Loans that include unsubsidized loans. You may opt to apply to your lender for forbearance on the interest payment for these loans. As a Volunteer, you can authorize payments of up to 75 percent of your monthly readjustment allowance to cover interest due on a student loan. At this time, this "allotment" amount is $206.25 per month. As of October 1, 2014, the allowable amount will be $243.75 per month of service. However, Volunteers with Peace Corps Response are not always eligible to use their readjustment allowance for this purpose. If you are applying to Peace Corps Response, please speak to your recruiter directly about your options. Bring the lender’s deferment form to staging for certification. You are then responsible to send it to your lender, or to your power of attorney (POA) who can then send it to your lender. You or your POA should follow up with your lender to ensure that your lender received and processed your request.
  • Is it a Federal Consolidation Loan?

    • You may qualify for an income-driven repayment plan. Please note that this may increase your overall loan repayment if it’s not done in conjunction with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Please visit Federal Student Aid and questions 1 and 4 in Peace Corps and Repayment of Your Federal Student Loans (PDF) for more information.
    • You may qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). Review Peace Corps and Repayment of Your Federal Student Loans (PDF) and call FedLoan Servicing at 855.265.4038 to see if and how you would qualify for PSLF. If you plan to pursue a career in public service and decide that PSLF makes sense for you, bring the PSLF Certification Form with you to staging for verification. You are then responsible to send it to your lender and ensure that they received and processed your request.
    • You may be eligible for deferment. Volunteers with Federal Consolidation Loans qualify for a deferment of principal payments for up to three years during service. The Department of Education pays interest on subsidized Federal Consolidation Loans. Volunteers with Federal Consolidation Loans that include unsubsidized loans must pay interest during the deferment period or apply to their lender for forbearance. As a Volunteer after your training time, you can authorize payments of up to 75 percent of your monthly readjustment allowance to cover interest due on a student loan. At this time, the “allotment” amount is $206.25 per month. As of October 1, 2014, the allowable amount will be $243.75 per month of service. However, Peace Corps Response Volunteers are not always eligible to use their readjustment allowance for this purpose. If you are applying to Peace Corps Response, please speak to your recruiter directly about your options.
    • If you have consolidated your loans or are thinking about doing so before you leave, it is important to discuss with your lender how this will affect your Peace Corps loan deferment/cancellation benefit. Some loans may not qualify for deferment once consolidated but will instead be placed in a forbearance status where the borrower is still expected to pay interest payments during their service. Be sure to verify all the details with your lender before attending staging. Bring the lender’s deferment form to staging for certification. You are then responsible to send it to your lender and ensure that they received and processed your request.

If you have a private loan, do they offer student loan relief for Peace Corps Volunteer service?

  • Yes

    • If your lender provides student loan relief for Volunteer service, be sure to get that information in writing.
    • If your lender requires a form for Peace Corps to sign or needs a certification of your Volunteer service bring the lender's form and contact information with you to staging. At staging, a Certifying Officer can sign off on your paperwork. Be sure it is filled out properly. You are then responsible to send it to your lender, or to your power of attorney (POA) who can then send it to your lender. You or your POA should follow up with your lender to ensure that your lender received and processed your request.
    • If you are having issues with your private student loans, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • No

    • If your lender does not provide student loan relief, you will have the option to make monthly payments from your readjustment allowance, called an “allotment,” once you swear in as a Volunteer after training. As a Volunteer, you can authorize payments of up to 75 percent of your monthly readjustment allowance to a lender. At this time, this “allotment” amount is $206.25 per month. As of October 1, 2014, the allowable amount will be $243.75 per month of service. However, Volunteers with Peace Corps Response are not always eligible to use their readjustment allowance for this purpose. If you are applying to Peace Corps Response, please speak to your recruiter directly about your options.
    • If you are having issues with your private student loans, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

 

Last updated May 03 2016

Benefits of Volunteer Service

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