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TEPSLF Program: Lessons from a Reader Who Got Her Loans Forgiven

Editor's note: The TEPSLF program was effectively replaced by the vastly superior PSLF Waiver program. While the PSLF Waiver has expired, most public servants can get all of the same benefits through the one-time IDR Adjustment. Go read that link first and then check out this success story about TEPSLF, which we expect will go back into place once all the pandemic era waivers are over.

I recently received an email from a reader named Jamie who had her loans forgiven under the TEPSLF Program. She was lucky enough to have two Direct Loans issued in 2001. That’s well before 2010, when everyone got Direct Loans issued to them by default.

While Jamie had enough credit working full time at a qualifying employer, she did not have enough income-driven payments to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. But Jamie was determined, followed instructions to the letter and didn't get discouraged during the drawn-out process.

Jamie’s experience is a wonderful case study of how to successfully apply for loan forgiveness under the Temporary Expanded PSLF Program.

What is the TEPSLF Program?

When the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program was created, it was naively assumed that all borrowers would voluntarily join an Income-Driven Repayment plan, or IDR for short. Why? Because the 10-Year Standard Repayment plan would be useless, as you'd pay off your loans before qualifying for any loan cancellation anyway.

But the 10-Year plan and IDR plans aren't the only options for federal loan student loan borrowers. Other non-income-based plans take longer than 10 years of payments to finish, such as the Extended Repayment Plan that Jamie happened to be in.

Someone like Jamie could spend 10 years paying their federal Direct Loans while working for a qualifying employer, only to have their PSLF form rejected because they were on the “wrong loan repayment plan.” But this doesn't line up with the spirit of why the IDR requirement was included in the first place and is terribly unfair to our public service workers.

Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act in 2018, to remedy some of the mess created in 2007 when they horribly designed PSLF. Under this bill, Congress created TEPSLF and set up a $350 million fund to help folks get forgiveness by expanding the qualifying repayment plan criteria. The expanded list of qualifying plans now includes:

  • Graduated Repayment Plan
  • Extended Repayment Plan
  • Consolidated Standard Repayment Plan
  • Consolidated Graduated Repayment Plan

Democrats wanted about 10 times as much money allocated to the TEPSLF fund. But Republicans controlled Washington at the time. Hence, they settled on a much lower figure. Furthermore, once that $350 million gets used up, there won’t be additional funds for relief.

TEPSLF requirements make it tough to qualify for forgiveness

TEPSLF forgives student loan debt for borrowers who meet the following requirements:

  • Have at least 10 years of full-time work experience for a qualifying non-profit or government employer
  • Had Direct federal loans during this entire public service employment period
  • Made at least 120 on-time qualifying payments (payments for the full payment amount due no later than 15 days after your due date while working full-time for a qualifying employer)
  • Applied for PSLF using the PSLF Help Tool or by downloading and mailing the employment certification form (ECF) to MOHELA. Then, you must get denied and submit a Request for PSLF Reconsideration

Note that only student debt via the Direct Loan program qualifies for TEPSLF. That means you won't be eligible if your only federal student loans are Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans or Perkins Loans.

These requirements apply to a very small group of folks. When PSLF was created in 2007, less than 20% of borrowers had Direct Loans.

When I received Jamie’s email, I was rather shocked to see her disbursement date said 2001. She not only had to do everything correctly, but she also had to get a little lucky as to what institution issued her debt. Before 2010, Direct Loan issuance depended on where you went to school.

Jamie’s experience with the TEPSLF Program

I asked Jamie to share her story with our readers, and she graciously agreed, saying she wanted to help as many people as possible. Here’s our edited exchange.

Q: What was your first step in the TEPSLF application process?

A: I sent in my application for PSLF forgiveness on November 10, knowing it would be denied. I did not request forbearance on my application, knowing I would be refunded any overage. On the same day, I sent the following email to TEPSLF@myfedloan.org with my name and date of birth:

“I request that ED consider my eligibility for public service loan forgiveness. I’m uploading my application for PSLF. I was in the extended repayment plan prior to getting on the IBR plan in 2009 and believe I’ve met all the requirements for TEPSLF.”

Q: When did FedLoan contact you next about TEPSLF?

A: I received an email on November 13 stating that they have received my application, and it said it would take 30 to 90 days to review.  Some time in the middle of November (I don’t know the exact date), I contacted them to make sure they had everything they needed from me. On November 30, I received the following email:

Thank you for contacting FedLoan Servicing!

Your Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Application was received and processed. Unfortunately, your application was denied because you have not yet made 120 qualifying payments for PSLF. Although you do not meet the requirements to have your loan debt forgiven yet, we were able to consider the time verified as qualifying employment.

Your request to be considered for the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) program was received also. Your account is currently being reviewed to determine your eligibility. You will receive a notice regarding the approval or denial after we have completed the review.

Please use the “Contact Us” link through your online account at MyFedLoan.org to submit inquiries via a secure email form.  You may also call us toll-free at 1-800-699-2908 to reach our Customer Service Department, which is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM (ET).

Sincerely,

Elizabeth

FedLoan Servicing

Q: When did you first realize your loans were forgiven?

A: On December 15 or 16 (during the weekend), I checked my account, and it showed a remaining balance of negative $3,347.84, although I hadn’t received any notification from them.  On December 17, I received the following email:

Q: How long did FedLoan say the refund of your excess payments would take?

A: I saw that the balance was equal to my last eight monthly payments.  I called them to see how long it would take to receive the refund.  I can’t remember if they said 60 to 90 days or 90 to 120 days.

Regardless, it sounded like it would take at least a couple of months.  I’m pretty excited because it was almost $19,000 of loans forgiven.  I was quite surprised at how quickly the TEPSLF process went.

What I learned about TEPSLF from Jamie’s story

One thing I noticed from Jamie’s experience is that she was very efficient in her approach to applying for loan forgiveness.

You’ve probably been on hold before for 20 minutes and experienced terrible customer service. It feels fantastic to get upset or vent. But the fastest way to get what you want is to avoid doing that.

Jamie’s email made me feel like she must have had ice in her veins dealing with FedLoan, which was the previous loan servicer responsible for managing the PSLF program.

For example, when she emailed FedLoan about TEPSLF, she didn’t send a long story about how messed up the program was. She followed instructions to the letter. For example, on FedLoan’s website, they told borrowers to follow this model for the TEPSLF email:

To: TEPSLF@myfedloan.org

Subject: TEPSLF request

I request that ED reconsider my eligibility for public service loan forgiveness.

Name: [Enter the same name under which you submitted your PSLF application]

Date of Birth: [Enter your date of birth in MM/DD/YYYY format]

This looked a lot like Jamie’s email.

Note that the process for submitting a PSLF reconsideration request is more streamlined now. It should only take about five minutes once you log in to your Federal Student Aid (FSA) account.

Are TEPSLF applications expedited for smaller loan balances?

The PSLF program was created in 2007. If you were in med school and did everything correctly, you would not have made payments until 2011, which would have made you eligible in 2021.

Most of the PSLF and TEPSLF stories I’ve seen thus far have been for folks with small undergrad or one or two-year master’s degree balances.

I secretly wonder if FedLoan (the previous exclusive TEPSLF servicer) addressed smaller balances like Jamie’s first. The speed with which they tackled her application for TEPSLF astounded me.

If you know you had Direct Loans only before 2009, you need to apply for TEPSLF and use Jamie’s approach as a template.

The government is giving people refunds for overpaying on their loans

What’s unreal to me is that the government is allowing people like Jamie to continue making regular student loan payments to make doubly sure she qualifies, but then refunding the overpayments!

That makes the TEPSLF opportunity an exciting one to me. It means that the government is not only forgiving borrowers’ loans, but they are sticking to their end of the bargain to take no more than required under the PSLF rules.

I’ve seen some pics online of the Treasury Department writing a bunch of checks for the months of extra payments.

TEPSLF could indeed be managed better, but I’m encouraged by stories like Jamie’s.

What TEPSLF tells me about PSLF 

If you plan on repealing a government program, you don’t give hundreds of millions of dollars to expand that program. Yet that’s exactly what our legislators did when they passed the Consolidated Appropriations Bill.

If PSLF was going away for current borrowers, do you think they would’ve pumped even more money into expanding it?

Jamie’s story shows that while loan forgiveness can be difficult, it will eventually become commonplace, unless there is a massive change in federal policy. However, this isn't likely, given the PSLF Waiver opportunity that was put in place by the Biden Administration and expired October 31, 2022.

Borrowers who stay on top of their finances like you will benefit enormously, and those who ignore their loans will lose out big time.

If you’d like to get more TEPSLF information and a professional review of your loan situation, we’d love to work with you.

Update from Jamie: “I called them a few days ago wondering when my refund would take place.  They said it would take about 90 days.  Without warning, this morning I noticed 16 deposits into my checking account that add up to the 8 months worth of loans they are refunding.”

That's exciting!


What do you think of Jamie’s experience getting her loans forgiven under TEPSLF? Do you have questions about the program? Ask below!

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Comments

  1. STEVEN LIPSCOMB January 14, 2019 at 4:40 PM

    So did she make 120 payments before having her debt excused?

    • Travis Hornsby January 14, 2019 at 8:44 PM

      She did but she paid under a non income driven plan early on. TEPSLF was passed to add those kind of payments to the 120 payment count needed for PSLF. You can only apply when you believe you’ve hit 120 payments based on the TEPSLF rules. But yes she did make that amount of total monthly payments.

  2. E Borders January 17, 2019 at 3:05 AM

    If I’m told that i haven’t hit the 120 ( I sent a TEPSLF request to review since my loans changed lenders 3 times by the Dept of Ed and I just thought I’d see what count the review yields), could i re-apply after I’ve hit the 120? I know the funding might not last but hope it is! Thanks to Jamie for sharing her experience!

    • Travis Hornsby January 17, 2019 at 4:12 AM

      Sure but yes it might not last

  3. Sheila January 22, 2019 at 4:42 AM

    This gives me hope. I have the same story — except I went to law school and owe $100,000. They finally fixed the number of months they are giving me credit for. Fedloan said I had 36 months PSLF credit. Then I had 56 months. For no reason it dropped down to 20 months. The number keeps changing. They give me months take them away. Right I now have 62 months credit. However, I have been in full repayment since 2001. I was in the wrong repayment option from 2007 to 2011. Oddly, on the Dept of Ed website they say I have 94 months of PSLF credit. Regardless, Fedloan sent me an email telling me to look for the letter about the months for PSLF. They said my TEPSLF application was under review. I continue to pay. Any idea what the 94 months listed by the Dept of Ed means? I made my 120th payment in Nov. (I had some late payments & forebearances when they changed my provider).

    • Travis Hornsby January 22, 2019 at 1:43 PM

      I’m not sure what you mean. But thats what you want to do is keep paying while they review your case. Jamie ended up getting a big refund for her overpayments.

  4. Jennifer February 4, 2019 at 6:55 PM

    Good afternoon,
    I have made 120 payments but apparently not under a qualifying repayment plan. I am in the process of TEPSLF, having just provided my last tax return as requested. What I can’t seem to find is, might I make too much money to be forgiven? What are they checking with the tax return/proof of income? I only owe about $7,000 at this point, but it would surely be helpful to my budget for it to be forgiven! Any hints are greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Travis Hornsby February 4, 2019 at 8:23 PM

      There’s no income limit, but it might be challenging for you to get forgiveness. Good luck though! Come back and share if they approve it

      • Jennifer February 11, 2019 at 8:38 PM

        DENIED. It’s really disappointing. It seems I never paid what would have been dictated via an income-based plan. So while I’ve paid on time for 125 months now, none will be forgiven.

        • Laura November 1, 2019 at 1:38 PM

          Can you not get on the correct income payment plan for 12 months and be reconsidered? That is my understanding.

          • Travis at Student Loan Planner November 18, 2019 at 12:51 AM

            You should be able to if it’s with Direct Loans

  5. Marnie February 11, 2019 at 2:56 PM

    I just got my loans forgiven under TEPSLF. It was a months long, frustrating process, but it finally worked. I have been paying my loans for more than 20 years, working at non-profits the entire time. My mistake was being on the graduated repayment plan. (My bigger mistake was going to law school then deciding to go into social Service)! When TEPSLF was an option, I excitedly submitted the paperwork. It took 6 months of back and forth dealing with frustrating bureaucracy, and quite frankly, incompetence. However, if you maintain composure, are diligent, have all your paperwork organized, and remain persistent, you will get there! Don`t give up!

    • Travis Hornsby February 11, 2019 at 2:57 PM

      That’s amazing way to go Marnie!

    • Craig Wenthold February 19, 2020 at 1:24 PM

      What paperwork do you need?

  6. Melissa February 13, 2019 at 9:10 AM

    It’s amazing how FedLoan is different for different people. My situation fits the one described in the article almost exactly yet is the months long frustrating process described by the last comment. I submitted both PSLF and TEPSLF applications on 9/4, even putting in my email that I had applied for PSLF that same day. Two days later I was denied for TEPSLF because I had not yet applied and been denied for PSLF. Sigh. I emailed again the following day requesting TEPSLF and again stating I had applied for PSLF simultsneously. Since then, I have twice been denied TEPSLF for the same reason: My payment made 12 months prior to my TEPSLF application is not as much or more than what I would have paid under income driven repayment. Interesting given that the payment was both an income based payment and has already been certified as an eligible PSLF payment (I have been on income driven repayment since 2009). And yeah, my payment was higher on 9/4/18 than on 9/4/17 because I had since done my annual income certification which increased my payment slightly, just like every other year. They really need to review only my payments between 2007 and 2009, when I was on a graduated repayment plan (my employment for that time has already been certified). I’m 60+ days into my third TEPSLF re-review and hope someone does it correctly this time. This is a first come, first served forgiveness and I have been told my spot in line is saved. I am optimistic the third time is a charm and this won’t be an issue for me. However, I feel badly for those down the road. FedLoan can’t get a straightforward situation correct (mine) so how can people trust the money will be there for them even when they got “in line” on time? Let’s just hope the system is somehow tracking the potential forgiveness amount of those still in line. In my case my balance is still slightly over 72K and I believe I am due an overpayment of about 5K. I SHOULD get my forgiveness but will others like me who timely request TEPSLF get theirs?

    • Travis Hornsby February 13, 2019 at 2:52 PM

      Great question. I wonder too if FedLoan is trying to expedite the cases of small borrowers to get some nice PR. I’ve noticed small amounts getting forgiven at much faster rates. Could be coincidence but if you only have 350 million seems like the politically smart thing to do is to spread it around among the max number of people.

    • Jennifer March 18, 2019 at 2:23 PM

      Hi Melissa,

      I’m in a similar situation as yours – my non-income based loan payments were all made very early on in my repayment history. Curious to learn how your third review has gone. I’m worried that the way they wrote the requirement “met the TEPSLF requirement for the amount you paid 12 months prior to applying for TEPSLF and the last payment you made before applying for TEPSLF to be at least as much as you would have paid under an income-driven repayment plan” that they are aiming to help people who were in non-income based payments the whole life or majority of their repayment history.

      Thanks!

      Jennifer

      • Travis Hornsby March 18, 2019 at 6:44 PM

        I think they’re trying to help folks whose payments were high enough to count if they had known about the income driven options. I understand the concern you dont have anything to lose in applying if you think you could qualify based on the rules.

      • Melissa March 20, 2019 at 8:05 AM

        Hi Jennifer. Unfortunately, over 3 months in to my third review and I still don’t have a determination though I do keep calling to make sure it’s actually still being reviewed. They were SO quick to deny me the second time (12 days from my request for re-review) that it kind of feels like they are looking for a way to deny it. BUT, I meet the qualifications for TEPSLF as far as I can tell. And my situation is so similar to this article I can’t imagine what they will say to deny it. My payments before I got into IBR were as high as they are now and I have a much higher income now. It’s frustrating, but hopefully the end result is a positive one. Good luck to you and I will try to remember to post an update when I hear something more.

        • Jennifer March 26, 2019 at 9:06 AM

          Good luck to you too! It definitely is a frustrating and very inefficient process.

  7. Kelly February 15, 2019 at 6:21 PM

    I’m in a similar situation. I have 105 qualifying payments under TEPSLF and 25 from PSLF. I was on the extended repayment plan before switching to IBR in 2015. Clearly I’m over the 120 payments, yet I’m still getting denied and the run around. My balance is around $68,000 so I’m wondering if they’re trying to avoid forgiving the big balances and focus on the smaller? I’ve been on the phone with FedLoan at least a few times a month trying to figure out what’s going on. Crossing my fingers that there’s a happy ending to all of this.

    • Travis Hornsby February 15, 2019 at 6:36 PM

      Just follow the same steps as Jamie above and know we’re pulling for you!

      • Kelly April 14, 2020 at 9:33 PM

        My loans were finally forgiven last month with a refund for the months I overpaid. Don’t give up! Be persistent and track all of your payments! My last TEPSLF email I attached a list of all my payments (sent to me from Fed Loan the year prior) and magically my loans were forgiven. It can happen!!

    • Jason March 7, 2019 at 12:20 PM

      Hi Kelly,
      You might contact your servicer and request another review. I had something similar. Did you get an e-mail that said how many payments you had because I had something similar and the addition was in correct.

  8. YFP 087: Student Loan Updates with Travis Hornsby February 20, 2019 at 5:44 PM

    […] Student Loan Planner Blog: TEPSLF Program: Lessons from a Reader Who Got Her Loans Forgiven […]

  9. Jason March 7, 2019 at 11:58 AM

    Hi Travis,
    I wanted to share my experience with TEPSLF. I am one of those people who also had their loans forgiven. However, my amount was $57,000. I have a few blog posts on this where I will link below, but to give provide the story more quickly here are some bullet points.
    1) From 2007-2014, I was on the extended repayment plan. I have worked for the same public service employer the entire time I have been paying back student loans (I started in 2006 with $97,000 in student loan debt).
    2) I switched over to PSLF in 2015. Because of my previous debt payments I felt that I would have to wait an additional 10 years to have my loans forgiven. One of the reasons I switched is b/c my wife has student loan debt and was on the program. I actually signed her up.
    3) In May 2018, I learned about the TEPSLF program. I even contacted my Senator, Sheldon Whitehouse, for some assistance (he was great by the way).
    4) I formally applied for TEPSLF in July 2018 and just waited.
    5) I heard back from the TEPSLF folks in September 2018 and was denied. They actually sent me a report with my TEPSLF payments and PSLF. They totaled 90 payments, even though I had never missed a payment or was late. I knew the total was wrong and set out to get to the bottom of it.
    6) I actually was featured on CNBC because I went to the media with the fact that I was denied (and to Sheldon Whitehouse who sent in inquiry in my name).
    7) I called back to Fed Loan servicing trying to get to the bottom of denial and I initially heard that 3 years of my payments weren’t being counted for some reason. I called that servicer and asked why. They couldn’t figure it out. So I called Fed Loan servicing back and asked them. After some digging they couldn’t figure it out either. However, the CSR did me a solid b/c after looking at my payments and the requirements of the program he couldn’t understand why I didn’t qualify. So he personally wrote an e-mail to the TEPSLF folks to reconsider my application for TEPSLF.
    8) I still contacted Senator Whitehouse’s office and his office did an inquiry for me in mid-October 2018.
    9) I didn’t hear anything for a month b/c I was told to wait a few weeks to inquire. I checked my Personal Capital account on November 20, 2018 and it said my balance was ZERO. I was shocked. I was in disbelief and I called the Fed Loan folks 3 different times to confirm it was real. It was and I received the official notification and letter about a week later.
    10) I actually received a refund of 10 months of payments b/c my “official” last payment was in February 2018.

    Lessons learned:
    1) Make sure all of your paperwork is in order.
    2) Know your numbers
    3) If you think you are right don’t take this lying down. Make sure you call back. Talk to people. Take notes on your meetings.
    4) If you have to enlist the support of others. I don’t know if Sheldon Whitehouse’s office had any influence, but they were great in helping me out. Call your Congressperson. Talk to the media. Be dogged in your approach.
    5) Don’t wait on these things. Get on top of it now. And make sure you check on updates.
    Here are some blog posts I wrote on this subject:
    https://www.reachingourbalance.com/student-loan-forgiveness-update/
    https://www.reachingourbalance.com/student-loan-forgiveness-update-update/
    https://www.reachingourbalance.com/tips-for-navigating-public-service-loan-forgiveness/
    I would be happy to share my story more and/or give tips to those of you who are struggling with this issue. However, Travis’s website is AWESOME! Hang in there. It can work for people.

    • Travis Hornsby March 7, 2019 at 1:18 PM

      Thanks for sharing tremendous info Jason.

    • Gloria May 5, 2019 at 2:17 PM

      I would love to speak with you Jason. What did you put in your letter to your congressman?

    • Jen D June 13, 2019 at 3:56 PM

      So when they evaluated your application they used your current loan balance of $57,000 versus your original loan balance of $96,000? I ask because I am in the process of applying: based on the income payment estimator if they use my current loan balance I should qualify, but if they use my original loan balance I don’t believe I will. If you see this and are able to respond that would be much appreciated- thank you!

  10. Ramona March 23, 2019 at 7:42 AM

    I am confused by the criteria for forgiveness for TEPSLF. I have been on an extended repayment plan for over 10 years and over the last year I have been actively paying down the loans. ( I thought that it would meet the criterion of paying equal or more than what I would pay in an income-based program.) I applied for TEPSLF and provided proof of income. I was recently informed that my request was denied because I paid <$100 less than what was required for ONE month of the 12 month period. They used REPAYE amount for the calculation because they said it has a better interest subsidy. I asked them why they didn’t use the ICR because according to the student loan calculators, I would owe a lot less on a monthly basis. They said that it was not true because ICR calculation is based on the original amount of the loans, and not on what is owed right now. I would actually owe more on the ICR. They also told me that they get to decide what plan to base my payments off, and if I want them to consider ICR, I would need to get formally get on the ICR repayment plan for the next year to be considered for forgiveness. If I don’t, then I have to wait another 10 months to request forgiveness as my low payment came in January (so clock restarted last month). I am so confused. I will ask for a re-review because a lot of of was told to me seems arbitrary or does not make sense. Of course I am told something different every time I speak to a FedLoan representative. Were other people given similar feedback? Thanks!

    • Travis Hornsby March 25, 2019 at 10:41 PM

      Yeah that’s tough. The rules are pretty narrow so if there’s anything to disqualify you they will. You definitely want to see this through and be on an income driven program until you know if they’ll forgive it or not. If no then you probably need to pay it off maybe with refinancing

    • Tonya May 2, 2019 at 12:11 PM

      I am in the same situation as you. I made payments of over $200 for at least 10 years and then after applying for TEPSLF continued to make payments but at a slightly lower amount at $136, believing I had already made the 120 payments at the higher amount. So months later after requesting the income verification they tell me my qualifying payment amount was determined to be $197, so my most “recent” payment of $136 was not high enough to qualify, even though I already made more that 120 payments over the amount required. Fed Loan and Dep of Ed are a joke and make up thier own rules that are not consistent with what was written into law by congress. Someone really needs to intervein in this mess.

      • Travis Hornsby May 3, 2019 at 6:27 AM

        Ugh sorry to hear Tonya

        • Tonya Moon June 12, 2019 at 8:56 AM

          It’s a freaking miracle. I woke up this morning and to my disbelief and surprise I have a new e-mail from FedLoan stating my TEPSLF has now been approved and now have a $0 balance. I have no idea what has cause them to change their mind after being told multiple times that they would not approve my request. I did put in a request with two of my congressional representatives for assistance, but never heard anything from either one of them, so I thought they must be too busy to deal with my loan problem. One or both of them must have contacted the Dept of Ed, because I have had no further contact with them since the last time they called me to deny my request. Please folks, if you believe you are eligible for loan cancellation and have been unfairly denied, please put in a congressional inquiry request with your local representatives, they may be the only ones who can convince these jerks to correctly processes your application.

          • Travis Hornsby June 14, 2019 at 3:46 PM

            WOWWWWWWW!!!!! That’s amazing news! Congrats Tonya hope you celebrate somewhere.

          • Gloria June 15, 2019 at 12:33 AM

            Tonya,
            Who did you contact specifically? Was it your senator? Also what did you say to them? Did you send an email or regular postal mail? Please share details

          • Tonya June 15, 2019 at 9:10 AM

            I contacted both my US House rep and US Senator. They both have on their websites a link to request a congressional inquiry. These types of inquires can be done for any federal agency that someone has problems with. You will have to sign a form to give them authorization to contact the agency on your behalf. The first rep I mailed back the authorization form with a letter explaining the details of my loan situation and why I believe I am eligible for the loan cancellation and why I believe my application was incorrectly denied. I also included some supporting docs with a print out of my payment history. All representatives in all states should at least have a website with contact information. If you don’t find information on how to request their help online, then call their office and see if they have staff who can provide info over the phone.

            My public service employment was working for a federal agency, so I have previously run across these types of requests through my former employer (not Dept of Ed). In my experience, these requests were taken very seriously and the congress reps had back door contacts within the federal agencies to resolve problems that are not available to the general public.

          • Gloria Nolan June 17, 2019 at 9:13 PM

            Tonya! I received an email from my representative from my senators office today with the document you spoke of. I will submit the form in the morning and wait on pins and needles. Thank you for your guidance and I will keep you posted.

    • Nicholas Webb July 13, 2019 at 5:15 PM

      I had my federal loans consolidated in 2011. Under the TEPSLF, will the payments I made before consolidation now count toward 120?

      • Travis Hornsby July 16, 2019 at 3:10 PM

        No they don’t that wipes the previous payment credit, but there probably was none bc it was likely mostly FFEL debt

  11. Amanda Arvan March 29, 2019 at 1:56 PM

    Prior to transferring my loans to FedLoans they were through Nelnet and I spent a year working at a non-profit on a “Graduated” repayment plan. I eventually realized that I would one day qualify for PSLF if I stayed at my current employer so I switched but unfortunately my previous 1 year of payments do not qualify. I got excited about the prospect of TEPSLF until I read into it and realized I don’t qualify for this either (maybe I will in 9 years but I’m sure all the $ will be gone by then!) Oh how I wish I would’ve signed up for IBR right off the bat… ‘Doh! >.<

    • Travis Hornsby March 30, 2019 at 12:35 PM

      Yeah TEPSLF will almost surely be exhausted by then.

  12. Melissa April 30, 2019 at 11:17 AM

    The denial rate for TEPSLF is astounding, so those forgiven seem to maybe have found the one person who knows what they are doing when reviewing the applications. Hopefully some senators shedding some light on the issues will help (I know I could sure use it as I’m 99% confident I should be getting approved): https://www.kaine.senate.gov/press-releases/kaine-and-whitehouse-call-on-devos-to-fix-missteps-with-implementation-of-tepslf-program

  13. Gloria May 5, 2019 at 2:25 PM

    Travis, I would love the opportunity to speak with you as well. I am located right here in STL. Currently I’m on my 2nd denial from TEPSLF. It’s as if they don’t understand the rules to their own program… or maybe they do. My last email said I only have 27 qualifying payments through PSLF and 67 qualifying payments through TEPSLF. I am completely confused as to where this number came from. As i’ve been on the graduated payment plan from 2005 to 2014. I enrolled in the REPAYE an in 2014 when I finally learned I was on the wrong plan for the program. How are only some of the payments counting? I do have a larger balance like Jason mentioned, around $58k but have literally paid over half my debt in interest as of now. Please help.

    • Travis Hornsby May 5, 2019 at 5:28 PM

      If it’s all Direct and has been since 2005 and you’ve been working at a qualifying employer the whole time, then first you submit for PSLF and get denied then you apply for TEPSLF. If you’ve done that and they’re still denying you, I’d reach out to Roy Blunt’s office and our Congressman in STL. That’s tough sorry to hear.

    • Melissa May 5, 2019 at 5:40 PM

      My qualifying payments were also counted incorrectly. I had to call several times and have them review various payments they said weren’t counting several times and finally received a count that was accurate. If you haven’t done that yet, then that’s where you should start with the qualifying payment count. I, luckily, had good records and knowledge of my payments and why they should be counted as qualified. Mine weren’t counted for something as simple as they way they supposedly distributed my direct debit over my three different loans (they originally said some payments were pennies off). Yours could be similar. I would ask which payments aren’t being counted and why and then go from there. I’m still in the process of waiting on TEPSLF approval, but at least I got that cleared up early on. Good luck!

  14. Gloria May 5, 2019 at 8:16 PM

    Yes Travis, I have applied for PSLF been denied and am on my 2nd denial from TEPSLF. I think I will reach out to Roy Blunt as my next option. Thanks for the advice.

  15. Melissa May 13, 2019 at 9:57 AM

    Update: After nine months encompassing many phone calls and emails, I received notification that my loans have been forgiven under TEPSLF! My balances are now negative, indicating I am owed a refund. My balance prior to this was over $71,000 and my refund showing due totals a little over $5,800. While I think my overpayment is actually almost $2,000 higher (which I plan to follow up on), I consider this a huge step. In the end, the forgiveness is by far the bigger deal in all of this. For those still struggling and waiting … Don’t give up. Be persistent. Know your facts. If you aren’t getting answers from one person, seek answers from another. Keep records. Make sure you understand the rules of the program and can apply them to your situation. It can be an extremely frustrating process, but it’s absolutely worth it to keep following up and asking questions.