This list of FAQs is curated from the Federal Student Aid’s public information about PSLF. For any specific questions about your student loans, be sure to also reach out to your loan provider.
- When do the new PSLF Regulations go into effect?
On October 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced new regulations to PSLF program requirements. These new regulations go into effect on July 1, 2023, and we will provide updates on these program changes when they are implemented. You can read about the new regulations here.
- Has there been a change to the admission of wet signatures on the PSLF form?
Yes. If you are an employer, helpful information regarding receiving an email from the Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Federal Student Aid via DocuSign is here. If you are a borrower using the help tool, you will need to provide the correct email address for an authorizing official to receive an email from us requesting they certify your employment and digitally sign the form. Tell your employer to expect an email sent from DocuSign ([email protected]) on behalf of the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid. Once digitally signed, your form will be electronically submitted to the PSLF servicer for processing.
You may also submit a PSLF form by downloading the PDF after going through the PSLF Help Tool. While using the tool, choose “manual signature” and on the next page select “View” in the “My Activity” button. From the “My Activity” page, download your form, print it, sign it, and have your employer(s) sign your form.
- How will the one-time income-driven repayment (IDR) account adjustment affect borrowers who are trying to earn forgiveness through PSLF?
All periods credited toward IDR will also be credited toward PSLF for eligible loans and periods where the borrower certifies public service employment. If you’ve applied or will apply for PSLF and certify your employment, you may see the benefits of this adjustment to your qualifying payment count. These changes will be applied automatically to all PSLF-eligible Direct Loans, including consolidated and unconsolidated parent PLUS loans. If you believe you might benefit, use the PSLF Help Tool to certify periods of employment and track your progress toward forgiveness. Borrowers who have commercially or federally held FFEL loans and who consolidate those loans into Direct Consolidation Loans before the end of the year will also get PSLF credit under the account adjustment.
The adjustment will credit periods back to the start of the IDR program (July 1, 1994) as eligible toward IDR forgiveness. Periods before July 1, 1994 will only be used to determine whether you meet the 12-month or 36-month forbearance threshold. You will also get credit toward PSLF for any month during or after October 2007 that you had qualifying employment and were in a repayment status, regardless of the payments made, loan type, or repayment plan.
Finally, time in default is not normally counted toward IDR or PSLF. However, borrowers who exit default during the Fresh Start period will receive credit from March 2020 through the date that they leave default. After the Fresh Start period, only borrowers who rehabilitate to leave default will benefit from the adjustment. Generally, repayment status includes any periods where the borrower was enrolled in a repayment plan. Repayment status does not include periods in forbearance, deferment, or default. However, those periods will count toward forgiveness in the circumstances described in this policy. To find this information, you can request your account history from your servicer. This history will include descriptions of the specific forbearance or deferment periods for most accounts.
- In relation to the one-time income-driven repayment account adjustment, do I have to apply to consolidate by the end of 2023?
The adjustment will be applied to most borrowers’ accounts in 2024. It will be applied only to Direct and FFEL Program loans held by ED. If you have commercially held FFEL or any Perkins or HEAL loans, you will need to consolidate them before the end of 2023 to benefit from the account adjustment.
- In relation to the one-time income-driven repayment account adjustment, if I consolidate, will that reset my payment count for IDR and PSLF?
Not right now. If you apply for consolidation before the end of 2023, the adjustment will count periods of repayment on your loans prior to the consolidation toward IDR forgiveness and (for eligible borrowers) PSLF. This differs from the earlier approach, in which consolidating your Direct Loans would reset your payment count to zero. After the IDR adjustment has been applied to all borrower accounts in 2024, accounts will be treated in accordance with the regulations in place at that time.
If you recently consolidated your loans, your count of eligible and qualifying payments for both IDR and PSLF will temporarily reset to zero, but we will continue to forgive accounts that reach the IDR forgiveness milestones. But don’t worry—if you don’t reach forgiveness when you consolidate, we will update your account to show the full payments credited under the adjustment in 2024.
- In relation to the one-time income-driven repayment account adjustment, if I am a PSLF borrower, and my qualifying payments have been updated to include periods of deferments or forbearances. If I consolidate now, will I lose those periods of eligibility?
No. In January 2023, certain eligible forbearances and deferments for PSLF waiver-eligible borrowers were added. If you consolidate after January 2023 and before the end of 2023, you will receive credit for the same periods of PSLF you currently have at the time of the adjustment in 2024. If you reach the 240 or 300 required payments for IDR forgiveness before the final adjustment occurs, your loan will be discharged at that time.
- What is considered "full-time" for purposes of PSLF?
The Department of Education’s new regulations adopt a single standard of full-time employment at 30 hours a week. We understand that this particular change is acknowledged before the official regulations update on July 1, 2023. Prior rules required borrowers to either work 30 hours per week at multiple jobs or whatever their employer defined as full-time. This created confusing and varying standards. A single 30-hour-a-week requirement will make it easier for borrowers and employers to establish what it means to be full-time.
- What resources are available to me if I am having trouble earning PSLF?
- You can try to contact your state ombudsman’s office
- If you believe we made a mistake in determining that your employers or payments don’t qualify for PSLF or Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF), you may request reconsideration here
- Your last resort is to contact the Department of Education’s Ombudsman Group here
- Do I have to be employed in public service at the time of forgiveness?
Our present understanding is yes. This is an issue, however, that the PSLF Coalition is advocating to change so that borrowers can successfully earn forgiveness for 10 years of full-time public service regardless of their current employment status.
- Where can I go for more information?
StudentAid.gov/pslf – Landing page for the PSLF help tool, where borrowers can find out if the Department of Educations has previously determined that their employer qualifies for PSLF or not.
StudentAid.gov/publicservice — Information page from the Department of Education about PSLF.
StudentAid.gov/fsa-id/create-account — Where borrowers can go to get an FSA ID, which will enable them to receive direct communications from the Department as well as use the PSLF Help Tool and consolidate their loans.
StudentAid.gov/consolidation — Landing page for the consolidation application.