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The Complete PSLF Checklist: Your Step-by-Step Guide for Loan Forgiveness

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a great program available to public servants, but signing up certainly can be confusing. 

We’ve helped thousands of borrowers take advantage of the PSLF program to get their loan balance forgiven, and we have the process nailed down. If you’re looking for a straightforward guide to sign up for PSLF, here’s our official PSLF checklist to help you get started. 

There are a few details about your employment to gather to make this process seamless, so let’s get into it. 

PSLF checklist

  1. Confirm your employment start date (and end date, if applicable) for each PSLF-qualifying employer(s). The employment certification form asks for the month, day, and year: MM/DD/YYYY. The PSLF program retroactively looks back at payment history, either as far as your grace period ending (after graduation) or as far back as Oct 1, 2007, when the program started.
  2. Grab your employer(s) employer identification number (EIN). You can find their EIN on your W2 from the previous year, or confirm the number with your human resources department.
  3. Get the email address of your employer(s) authorized official. This is the company’s designated person who can sign off on your form(s).
  4. Complete the form online. Use the online PSLF Help Tool for the fastest processing times. You can manually complete the form via a paper application, but we don’t recommend this option.
  5. Submit the form digitally and provide your electronic signature. Your employer(s) will also receive an email with a link to e-sign your application. Once your employer(s) signs, the form is automatically sent to the Department of Education.
  6. Tell the authorizing official to expect an email from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid (dse_NA4@docusign.net)
  7. Track the status of your application on StudentAid.gov and your monthly payment count via the PSLF Payment Tracker on mohela.com.

Get familiar with how to use its PSLF Help Tool so you can complete your form accurately and efficiently as soon as you’re ready. The PSLF Help tool helps you with an employer search and cuts down on simple paperwork errors, which were a common reason for PSLF form rejections in the past. 

My favorite part of the tool is that it accepts digital signatures, which speeds up the approval process by avoiding the back-and-forth between you and your employer!

Get Started With Our New IDR Calculator

PSLF tips & tricks

To cross your T’s and dot our I’s, let’s chat about some PSLF technicalities to get you to feel like a PSLF expert. Let’s take a few steps back and remember, for PSLF eligibility, you must: 

Employees of not-for-profit organizations are eligible. Certain contractors for 501(c)(3) entities in California or Texas might qualify for PSLF, too. 

When you submit your PSLF form, it’s retroactive, meaning it looks at your past employment and payment history. They look as far back as the end of your grace period, the six-months when federal student loan payments aren’t required after graduation. However, they only go as far as 10/1/2007 because that’s when PSLF was enacted.

Payment counts will take time to reflect in your PSLF Payment Tracker on MOHELA’s site. It could take two to three months or more, especially with the IDR waiver considerations. You could also get multiple payment count notices from MOHELA, so don’t panic if the first approval letter looks low on the number of qualifying payment counts. Another PSLF notice might be on the way soon.

What if your PSLF form is denied, or something needs to be fixed?

Suppose you believe the Federal Student Aid (FSA)/Department of Education made a mistake regarding whether your employers or payments qualify for PSLF. If so, you can request a reconsideration.

The Department of Education recommends waiting to submit a request until both the IDR Account Adjustment period ends (July 2024), and they announce adjustments have been made to borrower accounts. This way, their evaluation of your request will be based on the newest information.

As part of your request, you’ll be asked to describe the errors you believe were made regarding your eligibility. You’ll also be asked to upload any documentation that could support your case for reconsideration, including crucial tax forms or letters from your federal loan servicer.

You can reach the Public Service Loan Forgiveness line at (855) 265-4038 or submit the Reconsideration Request Form. You can also submit an FSA complaint or involve your congressional caseworker. 

Don’t let your PSLF plan get derailed

To maintain PSLF going forward, we recommend you submit a new PSLF form for your current employer once a year to ensure your PSLF payments qualify — no need to re-submit for old employers again as long as they were approved previously.

Learn more PSLF tips & tricks for saving money when you pay your student loan payments, or book a consultation with one of our expert consultants. You’re not in this alone!

Not sure what to do with your student loans?

Take our 11 question quiz to get a personalized recommendation for 2024 on whether you should pursue PSLF, Biden’s New IDR plan, or refinancing (including the one lender we think could give you the best rate).

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