Is your account showing zero qualifying payments for PSLF after consolidating? Don’t panic!
A number of student loan borrowers have reached out to NCLC in the last few months regarding issues with Public Service Loan Forgiveness (“PSLF”) and the one-time payment count adjustment. Borrowers are reporting problems with how MOHELA is counting their eligible payments after consolidating their loans, including that their accounts are incorrectly showing zero qualifying payments for PSLF.
If you have recently consolidated your loans and submitted your Employment Certification Form in order to be eligible for credit toward PSLF, don’t panic if your payment counts aren’t updated correctly yet. The PSLF credit counts are only temporarily reset to zero after borrowers consolidate and will be corrected in the coming months.
Under the current payment count adjustment, borrowers will get PSLF credit for past time working in public service while in repayment before consolidating. The account adjustment is helping millions of borrowers get closer to loan forgiveness, but the process is still ongoing. Many borrowers will not see accurate adjustments to their accounts until later in 2024.
For the latest updates on the payment count adjustment, including a timeline of when the review will be completed, visit the Department of Education’s website at: https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/idr-account-adjustment.
MOHELA is warning borrowers of the problem
MOHELA, the loan servicer for the PSLF program, has stated that payment counts for PSLF may temporarily show zero qualifying payments. This can be really confusing for borrowers who were told they needed to consolidate their loans in order to be eligible for PSLF or to maximize their eligibility for PSLF.
MOHELA recently added the following warning messages on borrowers’ PSLF payment count tracker:
What does this mean for you?
If you recently consolidated your loans to take advantage of the one-time payment count adjustment, it may take a while for your account to be updated to reflect your qualifying payments for PSLF. Don’t panic yet if you have received a message saying you have zero qualifying payments. If you think you should be eligible to have your loans forgiven now under PSLF but are being denied, or if you are having other issues with loans, file a complaint with the FSA Ombudsman.
Remember that consolidating ineligible loans is only one step to getting credit for PSLF. You also have to submit your PSLF Employment Certification Form for each public service job you held while in repayment (including for time during the payment pause), in addition to making qualifying payments each month. Use the checklist below to make sure you’re on track for PSLF. And if you have issues, let us know!
Make sure you’re on track for PSLF
- Use the PSLF Help Tool to make sure you are in a qualifying repayment plan, have qualifying employment, and have qualifying loans for PSLF.
- Consider consolidating your loans before April 30, 2024 to take full advantage of the one-time payment count adjustment. This might mean consolidating loans that would otherwise be ineligible for PSLF—such as FFEL, HEAL, and Perkins Loans—into a new Direct Consolidation Loan. It might also mean consolidating your Direct Loans together to maximize the credit you can get toward PSLF, such as if you took out separate loans for undergraduate and graduate programs that have different repayment histories. See our page on the one-time payment count adjustment for more information.
- Submit your PSLF Employment Certification Form (ECF) using the PSLF Help Tool to fill it out and send it to your employer to sign. You will need to submit a separate ECF for each public service job you have worked while in student loan repayment in order to get credit for that time toward PSLF. Be sure to include ECFs for qualifying jobs worked during the payment pause.
- Review your account with MOHELA, the loan servicer for PSLF. If MOHELA is not your loan servicer for all of your federal student loans, then you likely have a loan that is not currently eligible and need to consolidate to become eligible, or you have not submitted your first PSLF form yet.
- File a complaint with the FSA Ombudsman if you are still having issues. You should also file a complaint if you think you should be eligible for PSLF now but have denied or have not heard anything about your application.
- Contact a lawyer if you are still having problems with PSLF.
- Share your story with NCLC to help us make PSLF work for borrowers!