When to Apply For PSLF

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Payments made after October 1, 2007 qualify for PSLF, so the earliest date the first borrowers will be eligible for PSLF Program forgiveness is October 2017.

Application for PSLF Tracking

Currently, the only form student borrowers can submit for PSLF is this form which allows the Department of Education to keep track of your periods of qualifying employment and your qualifying payments. You aren’t required to submit this tracking form. It’s more of a courtesy from the Department of Education to keep a tally since it will take at least 10 years to make the 120 qualifying payments necessary to receive PSLF.

The Department of Education hasn’t created the application for forgiveness yet. But you should still consider submitting the tracking form as soon as possible.

That’s because Congress has been considering bills that could cap the amount of forgiveness.

Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2013

On March 21, 2013, Congresswoman Karen Bass introduced the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2013 (H.R. 1330). This bill is based on several previously unenacted bills which also called for a cap on the forgiveness amount.

  • Under the bill, there would be no caps on the maximum amount of forgiveness available for current borrowers.
  • For new borrowers, those who borrowed on or after the date the Student Loan Fairness Act was enacted, the bill imposes a debt forgiveness cap of $45,520 to incentivize students to make sound financial decisions and to encourage colleges and universities to lower the cost of their tuition.

The text of the bill will appear here soon: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.R.1330: Check out the FAQ’s on this bill here: http://studentdebtcrisis.org/hr1330/facts_faqs/

This bill may or may not pass, but it appears that a cap on the PSLF forgiveness amount is looming. Submitting the tracking form for now, is the only indication borrowers can use to demonstrate their interest and intent to apply for PSLF forgiveness.  The form allows the Department of Education to keep track of your periods of qualifying employment and your qualifying payments.

Want to keep track of your eligibility? Here’s how:

Because it will take at least 10 years for you to make the 120 qualifying payments necessary to receive PSLF, the Department of Education has created a form that you should submit to the Department of Education and a process that you should follow so that the Department of Education can assist you in tracking your periods of qualifying employment and your qualifying payments.

The form allows you to get your employer’s certification of employment while you are still employed at that organization or shortly after leaving. The process allows you to receive confirmation of qualifying employment and your Direct Loan payment eligibility. You may also submit the form less frequently than annually to cover more than one year’s employment or for more than one employer.

While use of this form and process is not required, if you want the Department of Education to keep track of your progress toward meeting the PSLF eligibility requirements, you should follow the steps below. If you do not periodically submit the form, you will still be required to submit a form for each employer that you want considered for PSLF at the time that you apply for forgiveness.

  • Step 1 — Complete, with your employer’s certification, the Employment Certification for Public Service Loan Forgiveness form (PSLF Employment Certification) annually or whenever you change jobs.
  • Step 2 — Submit the completed form to FedLoan Servicing, the PSLF servicer, following the instructions on the form.
  • Step 3 — FedLoan Servicing will review your PSLF Employment Certification form, ensure that it is complete, and, based on the information provided by your employer, determine whether your employment is qualifying employment for the PSLF Program.
  • Step 4 — If the form you submit is incomplete or your employment does not qualify, FedLoan Servicing will notify you and you will have an opportunity to provide additional information.
  • Step 5 — If FedLoan Servicing cannot determine whether your employment qualifies, you may be asked to provide additional information or documentation to help establish whether you were employed by a qualifying public service organization. This documentation may include an IRS Form W-2, pay stubs, or other documents from your employer that substantiate your employment at the organization or documentation supporting your employer’s eligibility as a public service organization.
  • Step 6 — If your employment qualifies and some or all of your federally held loans are not serviced by FedLoan Servicing, those loans will be transferred to FedLoan Servicing so you will have a single loan servicer for all of your federally held loans. After your loans are transferred, earlier payments made to other servicers will be evaluated to see whether they are qualifying PSLF payments.
  • Step 7 — FedLoan Servicing will notify you whether your employment qualifies, and, if so, how many payments during the certification period were qualifying payments, the total number of qualifying payments you have made, and how many payments you must still make before you can qualify for PSLF.
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