Please help us spread the word by posting our flyer (above). Post it on school bulletins, office boards, etc. Download the flyer here.
We’ll have to wait until January 9, 2018 for the transcript release of the September 26, 2018 motion hearing. That’s when the redacted transcripts will be released and we’ll see how the ABA’s motion for preliminary injunction fared against the Department of Education.
The briefs for the motion hearing can be found here:
How do the PSLF servicer officials check whether your employer qualifies for PSLF? While researching the recent PSLF statistics from the GAO Report, we found that the following sources are used: IRS list of 501(c)(3) organizations, government websites, and private websites:
“Education directs the PSLF servicer to review the Internal Revenue Service’s public list of 501(c)(3) organizations to identify qualifying nonprofit employers. Since this list does not capture all potentially qualifying nonprofits, the PSLF servicer supplements this with other sources that have not been fully reviewed or assessed for accuracy by Education. For example, PSLF servicer officials told us they use an online directory of nursing home facilities to help determine if certain nursing homes are nonprofit employers. However, this website explicitly states that it does not guarantee that the information it provides is accurate or current. PSLF servicer officials also said they sometimes use state government websites to research organizations’ nonprofit status, but they only have access to the relevant information from states that provide it for free. For assessing government employers, Education directs the servicer to www.usa.gov, an official federal government website that describes government agencies and services, but this source provides limited information on state and local government employers. In addition, PSLF servicer officials said it is particularly difficult to assess certain types of employers, such as quasi-governmental entities and charter schools. PSLF servicer officials said that when they are uncertain whether an employer qualifies, they elevate the assessment to Education, but they generally try to resolve as many employer determinations as possible by using supplemental sources to research employers.” Page 18 of GAO Report. (https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/694304.pdf)
The GAO Report also touched on the possibility of creating a database of qualifying employers:
“Education officials said they are considering creating their own list of qualifying employers and are investigating how to leverage information from other federal government agencies that could be useful for categorizing employers. In particular, Education officials said they have reached out to the Internal Revenue Service to explore the feasibility of obtaining relevant data on employers. Education could also expand and improve on a database that the PSLF servicer created based on its prior assessments of employers.” Page 19 of GAO Report. (https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/694304.pdf)
We’ve been seeing a lot of news articles with unsuccessful PSLF stories, and we believe that it’s time for a reminder that everyone should be check the status of their PSLF by filing the ECF. This may not be a guarantee of PSLF, as we’ve seen with the ABA lawsuit, but it’s going to serve as some sort of written confirmation from the Department of Education that helps you determine if you qualify for PSLF.
We noticed that these rejected borrowers have one thing in common: no Employment Certification Form submitted. You can’t necessarily depend on your own PSLF count. You’re going to have an uphill battle if you just rely on your loan servicer’s customer service rep’s telephone reassurance, especially without further documentation (see https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/18/borrowers-denied-public-service-loan-forgiveness-file-lawsuits.html).
This PSLF confusion is also seen from the statistics released in September from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO):
“Officials with the PSLF servicer said borrowers were frequently confused by program requirements related to qualifying loans, employment, repayment plans, and payments. For example, PSLF servicer officials said that borrowers were sometimes unaware that they were not on a qualifying repayment plan or that forbearance, deferment, and loan consolidation would affect their qualifying payments. PSLF servicer frontline customer service staff also said they frequently received calls from borrowers who were confused about whether their loans qualified for PSLF and other program requirements. Two other loan servicers we spoke to identified the same general areas of confusion among borrowers who call with questions about PSLF. In addition, borrower complaints reported by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau indicate confusion with PSLF requirements related to qualifying loans and payments.” Page 13 of GAO Report (https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/694304.pdf)