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Loan Forgiveness for Government Employees

Federal agencies may offer loan repayment assistance as a recruitment and retention incentive. These loan repayment programs may provide up to $60,000 in federal education loan repayment assistance ($10,000 per calendar year) in exchange for a commitment to work at the agency for at least 3 years. The loan repayment assistance is taxable.

Whether a federal agency provides loan repayment assistance is subject to the discretion of the individual agency. Participating agencies include the Agency for International Development (AID), Government Accountability Office (GAO), Government Printing Office (GPO), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Small Business Administration (SBA), U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), among several dozen other federal agencies. The U.S. Departments of Defense, Justice and State collectively account for three-fifths of the federal government’s loan repayment assistance.

Members of Congress are not eligible for this student loan repayment program, just as they are not eligible for public service loan forgiveness. Congressional staff (but not interns), however, are eligible for these programs. There is a $60,000 cap on loan forgiveness in the U.S. House of Representatives ($10,000 per year) and a $40,000 cap in the U.S. Senate ($6,000 per year).

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) publishes general information and annual statistics about the loan repayment programs, including a set of loan repayment FAQs.

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