The general approach for PSLF is succinctly summarized here. In order to qualify, you’ll need to prove you were gainfully employed at a qualifying institution for 120 payments. That means you’ll need to account for 10 years of working life. The Feds recommend you certify your employment every year, which sounds like a pretty good idea if you ask me (there’s a lot of money at stake here, after all). At the least, you should get a form filled out at the end of your tenure at any institution (preliminary/transitional intern year, residency, other jobs, etc.). You don’t want to be asking random people to look back at employment records buried in some offsite file cabinet from your intern year 9 years ago when it comes time to file for forgiveness. It’s asking for trouble.
The steps are simple:
- Download the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Employment Certification Form.
- Fill it out. It’s extremely straightforward. Mail, email, or fax it to your former or current employer.
- Wait to get it back.
- Get it back.
- Send it to FedLoans, the official servicer of the federal government (address is on the form).
- Fedloan processes the form. If you are not currently serviced by Fedloan, your loans will be transferred from your current servicer. If you already consolidated, you’re probably with Fedloan already. Whether a new development or not, Fedloan will process your forms and update the “qualifying monthly payment” count based on the months of qualifying payments matched to months of verified employment.
- Rinse and repeat. Again, it may be beneficial to resubmit annually, but at the least, it’s a good idea to submit an employment verification form after moving on from each qualifying job. A) Paperwork only gets harder over time and B) You want to make sure everything is on track and Kosher before making any more financial decisions that might be based a misunderstanding of where you stand currently on the PSLF track.
- After you make that 120th payment, send in the final form. Unless the government has swindled you in a truly magnificent way, get ready to see something magical.