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Employees of Faith-Based Entities Now Eligible for Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

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As of July 1, 2021, employees of faith-based entities are now able to participate in the federal public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) program, among other changes.

Under new regulations from U.S. Education Department:

  • Religiously affiliated organizations are eligible to participate in the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965
  • Employees of religiously affiliated organizations are eligible to participate in the PSFL program
  • Members of religious orders who are also enrolled in courses at higher education institutions can participate in Title IV programs
  • Certain borrowers who serve as full-time volunteers at tax-exempt entities and “give religious instruction, conduct worship service, proselytize, or fundraise to support religious activities as part of their official duties” can defer repayment of Federal Perkins Loans, National Direct Student Loans (NDSLs), and Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL) loans

The change was in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia Inc. v. Comer, in which the Court ruled that the exclusion of churches from a neutral and secular aid program violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of free exercise of religion.

Visit the PSLF website for more information, including how to qualify and apply for PSFL.

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