How to Apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Download the certification form
Download the U.S. Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): Employment Certification Form (PDF). Note: the application process is free. If anyone tries to charge you for this service, it’s a scam and you should not pay them.
Complete the form
To complete the form, you must complete sections 1 and 2, and your employer will complete sections 3 and 4. When your employer has completed their sections, be sure to save a completed copy of the form for your records, and to make sure all the information they put in is correct.
Submit the form
Submit your completed certification form by mailing it to FedLoan Servicing, which handles PSLF student loans for the Department of Education:
U.S. Department of Education
P.O. Box 69184
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9184
Recertify every year
Continue to recertify your employment annually. You can do it any time of the year – so pick a date you’ll remember! This is important to do, because every year hundreds of thousands of people fail to recertify and therefore lose the benefits of income-driven repayment plans.
Keep track of everything!
After you’ve successfully enrolled in Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you’ll want to keep thorough documentation for your own records in case there is ever a disagreement among you, the Department of Education and your servicer.
Whether organized in a binder, file folders or via secure cloud storage, here is a short checklist of the things you’ll want to hold onto:
- Certification forms and acceptance letters: You have to fill out the Public Service Loan Forgiveness certification form annually. Keep a copy of each of your completed forms. When you fill out the actual application to have your loans forgiven, you might need to reference them.
- Income-driven repayment plan confirmations: If you are enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, save the letters confirming that you’ve been placed in the one you selected. You’ll have to renew enrollment annually because eligibility is based on your income.
- W2 forms: You’ll prove your income, and therefore your eligibility for these programs, by submitting a downloaded copy of your most recent IRS W2 form. If at any time the amount you’re paying seems higher than it should be, you’ll want to talk to your servicer because your loan may have been moved into a different repayment plan that might not be eligible for PSLF. Keep a copy of your W2 forms for every year that you’re in one of these repayment plans.
- Payment receipts: Save bills that prove receipt of your on-time payments to both track your progress of qualifying payments and ensure you have documentation in the event of the Department of Education or a servicer claiming one of your payments was late or missing or in a noneligible repayment plan. We recommend scanning them and naming the digital file in correspondence with the payment number, or saving each one and put post-it notes on them numbering them with a “#1” – “#120,” so you’re tracking your progress of qualifying payments.
Because Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Income-Driven Repayment plans require you to renew annually, we suggest renewing on a date you’ll remember.
Made your 120 Qualifying Payments? Apply Now!
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness application form may be found here. After you have made 120 qualifying, on-time payments you can now apply to have your federal student loans forgiven. You will need to show that you are employed full-time with a qualifying employer at the time you submit your PSLF application. The PSLF application will include an employment certification section that must be completed by the qualifying employer where you are employed at the time you submit the application.
Note: If you have never submitted the PSLF certification form prior to the application, you will need to provide one or more PSLF Employment Certification Forms, as necessary, to cover your entire period of qualifying employment (including your current employment) at the time you submit your loan forgiveness application.