Hi, I’ve been working full-time for a non-profit and making payments on my Direct Consolidation Loan under an income-driven repayment plan since 2016. How do I track the progress I’ve made toward PSLF?
Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF, is a federal loan forgiveness option. It forgives the remaining balance of Federal Direct Loans tax free after 120 months of payments are made on an eligible repayment plan while working full-time for an eligible government, tribal, or non-profit employer. You don’t actually apply for forgiveness until after the full 120 payments have been made. But 10 years is too long to wait to know if you’re on track and how much time you have left. In this post I talk about how to track your progress toward PSLF.
Make sure you meet all the criteria for PSLF.
- Right student loans. Only Federal Direct Loans are eligible for forgiveness.
- Right repayment plan. One of the four income-driven repayment plans (PAYE, REPAYE, IBR, ICR) or technically the 10 year standard but there will be nothing left to forgive at the end.
- Right employer. Make sure you’re working full time or at least 30h/ week whichever is more, for an eligible government, tribal, or non-profit employer.
Complete the Employment Certification Form Annually.
The Employment Certification Form (ECF) is your best friend when it comes to PSLF progress tracking. Completing this form provides you a handful of benefits. The best practice is to complete the ECF at least annually and any time you change jobs.
- Verifies you’re working in eligible employment.
- Initiates a back count of all eligible payments made to date.
- Serves as a record of your eligibility for PSLF at the time of the ECF.
- Serves as a tool to identify any miscounts early so you can get them resolved early.
Tracking your progress toward PSLF is as simple as submitting the ECF form each year. 15 minutes of work once a year can save you a lot of headache and prevent heartbreak when it comes time to cash in on your well-deserved loan forgiveness.