Complete Guide To Submitting The PSLF Employment Certification Form

Borrowers who are thinking about pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), or are currently in progress toward it, have likely heard a lot about the PSLF employment certification form.

Submitting the PSLF form for employment certification isn’t technically required. However, doing so can help you organize your employment history so you’re fully prepared to apply for PSLF when you’re ready.

If you’re a federal student loan borrower who’s pursuing PSLF, here’s what you need to know about certifying your employment through this form.

What Is the PSLF Employment Certification Form?

Working full-time at an eligible government or nonprofit employer while making 120 qualifying loan payments is a critical part of PSLF eligibility. To confirm that you work for an eligible employer and help track the payments you’ve made, you can submit the PSLF employer certification form annually.

This PSLF form is a self-reporting process, and submitting the form regularly to certify your employers has many advantages.

The information you provide on each PSLF form is added to your student loan record. It’s a helpful way to create a 10-year digital trail of your employment history. The information on the form is used to determine whether your employer meets the requirements of the PSLF program. It also creates a log of your qualified payment count to date.

If you have trouble remembering to submit the PSLF form, the Department of Education recommends recertifying your employment at the same time you recertify your income-driven repayment plan each year. It can also be useful to submit the PSLF form whenever you change employers.

There’s no rule against submitting a decade’s worth of employment history in one lump along with your final PSLF application. The downside, however, is having to hunt down the signatures of authorized officials from every employer you’ve worked for over those 10 years.

How to Fill Out the PSLF Form

Whether you’ve completed 120 qualifying payments or are simply recertifying your employment, you’ll use the same PSLF form. The Department of Education offers a PSLF Help Tool that can determine if you work for a qualifying employer and guides you through submitting the form.

If you prefer to manually fill out the PSLF form using a paper document or PDF, here are the steps to follow.

1. Provide Your Personal Information

The first section of the PSLF employment certification form asks for your personal information. This includes your name, Social Security number, birth date, address, phone number and email.

If at any point during your repayment, something in this section changes—like an address or surname—check the box indicating that a change has occurred.

2. Declare Your Reason for Submitting the Form

The next section is where you’ll specify that you’re submitting the PSLF form to verify your employer. Select the first box that reads: “I just want to find out how many qualifying payments I have made or if my employer is a qualified employer.”

Then, read the legal acknowledgment. Certify that the information you’ve provided is accurate by including your signature and the date in this section.

Tip: At the top of the next page there’s a line to write your full name and Social Security number again. Remember to add this information to avoid processing delays.

3. Ask Your Employer’s Authorized Official to Complete Next Sections

The entirety of sections three and four should be filled out by an authorized official designated by your employer. This is often someone in Human Resources or sometimes your direct manager. Your workplace should fill out all of the fields in this section, including:

  • Employer’s information
  • Your employment start and end dates (if applicable)
  • Employment status
  • Your average hours worked per week
  • Organization type
  • Employer’s service type

The official should then include their own name, title, phone number and email on the form. Make sure they sign and date their sections.

4. Submit the PSLF Employment Certification Form

Once you’ve secured your employer’s information and an authorized signature, submit the PSLF form via mail, fax or through your student loan account.

What to Expect After Submitting the PSLF Form

Regardless of how you submit the PSLF form, your student loan account will be reviewed to ensure you have eligible federal loans. You’ll learn whether you’re employed with a qualified employer and if your payments qualify for loan forgiveness. After confirming your employment, you’ll get a total count of qualifying payments you’ve made toward PSLF thus far.

PSLF Waivers Are Available for a Limited Time

The Department of Education temporarily loosened the normal PSLF requirements to qualify for loan forgiveness. This is a limited opportunity that’s available until October 31, 2022. Here’s how the PSLF waiver has changed the program’s eligibility requirements.

Provides Employment Flexibility When Applying for Forgiveness

The rules of the PSLF program state that you must be employed by a qualified employer on the date you submit your application for loan forgiveness. Through October 31, 2022, however, the PSLF waiver allows you to earn loan forgiveness even if you don’t currently work at a qualifying employer.

More Payments Qualify

Typically, loan payments that were late, less than the full amount due or weren’t made under an eligible repayment plan did not count as a qualifying payment for PSLF. However, under the limited-time PSLF waiver, you’ll receive credit for these types of payments.

Adds More Eligible Federal Loans

The normal PSLF program only counted payments for direct loans towards your progress for forgiveness. However, the limited waiver expands qualifying payments to include those made for Perkins loans and Federal Family Education loans (FFEL). Payments made towards those loan types can be counted toward your PSLF progress.

Includes Teacher Loan Forgiveness Period

Borrowers who pursued Teacher Loan Forgiveness typically don’t receive service and payment credit for that period. Thanks to the PSLF waiver, it counts toward PSLF for a limited time.

To take advantage of these temporarily relaxed rules, you may need to take action before October 31, 2022. Some borrowers only need to submit the PSLF form using the steps above, while others may need to consolidate their federal loans before the deadline. Review the details of the waiver to see what steps you need to complete.

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By Harriet