Go to application instructions and resources
Anneliese Simon, a psychiatric social worker at Western State Hospital, decided to attend the University of Washington Tacoma for a master’s degree in social work. Like her classmates, she pursued her studies as an investment in her future. For the past 15 years, she has worked to pay off the $55,000 in loans she accumulated while in school.
She tried once before to take advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), a US Department of Education program that forgives government student loans after 10 years or 120 payments, but was rejected.
“They were super picky before,” Anneliese said. “They would turn people away for technicalities, like if you didn’t log in to StudentAid.Gov and update your earnings.”
This has changed. The Department of Education has instituted reforms that maximize – instead of minimizing – the number of eligible borrowers.
A key part of this effort is a temporary waiver expiring October 31, 2022 in which…
- Any prior repayment period counts as an eligible payment, regardless of loan program, repayment plan, or whether payment was made in full or on time
- Automatic payment credits for military service members and federal employees
- Credit applied for each month that your loan repayments were suspended as part of the COVID-19 emergency assistance
- Payments made on Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and Federal Perkins Loans will retroactively count toward the required 120 payments if you consolidate these loans into a direct loan by October 31, 2022.
Act now! Apply for a pardon before October 31, 2022
“I spent probably 20 minutes applying and got $11,000 in loans forgiven.”
When Anneliese heard about the PSLF reforms, she decided to try again.
“Even if you don’t think you qualify, give it a try,” she said. “The worst that can happen is that they will say no. I spent probably 20 minutes applying and had 11,000 loans cancelled.
She wasn’t the only borrower who had better luck the second time around.
Between 2007, date of creation of the PSLF program, and February 2021 less than 7,000 civil servants had their loans fully or partially canceled under the program. This number has already increased to 70,000.
“We give part of our life and our health to do these jobs.”
It took about six weeks for Anneliese’s paperwork to be processed and for her loans to be cancelled. While she is very grateful, she also feels that she – and her fellow public servants – deserve it.
“Our jobs are very stressful,” Anneliese said. “We give part of our life and our health to do these jobs. We keep our country and our communities going. This program was created to reward us for our service and to encourage others to serve as well. I’m just glad it’s finally starting to work.
“Higher education has become prohibitively expensive for many, especially for civil servants who wish to obtain a degree to advance their careers in the public sector,” Anneliese added. “The PSLF program supports people who wish to return to school in order to increase their earning potential while serving the public.”
How to apply: resources and tips
1. Find the EIN/TIN for your employer(s)
First, find the Employer Identification Number (EIN)/Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for your current and/or previous employers. You will use them in step 3.
Find the TIN for Washington State agencies here.
Note: When copying and pasting into the TIN/EIN, you must first remove the hyphen. The PSLF tool only accepts 9 digits.
For other employers, the easiest place to find the EIN/TIN is on your W2 tax form.
2. Login to StudentAid.Gov
Now go to https://studentaid.gov/pslf/ and log in.If you forgot your username or password for your student loan account, follow the steps to reset your password.
3. Enter employers
Use the PSLF help tool to list your current and previous employers and provide information about your loan.
4. Print and submit the form
Print the completed form, scan it and send it to HR for signature.NOTE: The form will be processed faster if HR does not handwrite anything on the form except for the signature.
HR will return the form to you. You then mail or fax the completed form to the Department of Education. Don’t rely on HR to do anything other than sign the form.
Our union has played an important role in promoting these temporary changes to the PSLF. We want as many public servants as possible to take advantage of this opportunity.
Consult your union’s PSLF FAQ