How long should I wait to hear about an automated review before taking any action myself?
For now, the Department of Education offers reassuring words about its ability to fix many things on its own in the next “many” months.
This is a cool relief, however, if you’ve made payments for 14 years of working as a teacher and feel you should have done so four years ago. After all, getting hundreds of dollars back from your monthly budget is a huge life changer—and it could mean finally being able to save for your kids’ education.
If you haven’t heard from the department by February or seen updates on data and records provided by FedLoan, the entity that serves people already registered with the PSLF, call or message FedLoan for instructions. If this does not result in any information, send a note to the department’s Ombudsman’s office and request a review. And if that doesn’t work, call the constituent service representatives of your senators or members of Congress and ask them to intervene on your behalf.
And if you’ve had the right type of loan all the time but are hoping for a payment review, you should fill out the standard PSLF form if you haven’t done so yet or haven’t certified your business before because you didn’t think you needed to.
What if I end up with a balance of more than 120 payments when this is all over?
You should get your money back automatically, according to the department’s website, as long as you haven’t already received a full remission (for example, a year or two ago). If you already have it, there will be no refund imminent even if your existing waivers mean that, in theory, you made a lot of payments before you were forgiven.
Where can I get help in the meantime?
The PSLF journey proved to be lonely and infuriating to many people. Many of them sympathize on Facebook in the program’s support group, where you can learn about others’ successes, failures, and tactics. A Reddit group about the program could offer a similar friendship. Both venues should get frequent updates from individuals who post what they have heard from entities about their progress or lack of progress.
The Student Loan Protection Center provides resources for borrowers, and the Student Loan Counselors Institute attempts to answer debtor questions. Many financial planners now specialize in student loan advice as well.