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Why Your Employer is “Likely Ineligible” for PSLF

When the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Help Tool warns that your employer is likely ineligible for PSLF, it sounds like bad news, but it really isn’t.

Written By: Michael P. Lux, Esq.

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The Department of Education deserves a lot of credit for the PSLF Help Tool. It is an excellent resource for borrowers and extremely helpful for borrowers preparing PSLF applications.

However, the help tool is not without flaws.

One of the most significant issues with the PSLF Help Tool is the “Likely Ineligible” language that pops up for many borrowers once they input their employer’s information.

A Scary Message

Upon entering their employment information, many borrowers see the following warning about their employer:

This looks like bad news. Clicking for an explanation doesn’t help the situation. Borrowers looking for clarification see this notice:

Fortunately, the ominous signs don’t mean doom for the borrowers hoping for PSLF.

What “Likely Ineligible” for Public Service Loan Forgiveness Actually Means

If your employer is “likely ineligible” according to the PSLF Help Tool, it usually just means that they don’t have your employer in the database.

In other words, it isn’t good news or bad news. They just need to review your employer to verify eligibility.

If you work for a smaller non-profit or a small government agency, a likely ineligible warning should be expected, especially if you are the first person in the office to pursue PSLF.

Sherpa Tip: Don’t assume you are not eligible for PSLF just because the help tool says your employer is likely ineligible.

We’ve received emails from multiple borrowers ready to give up on PSLF because of this warning.

If you believe your employer is eligible, send in an application.

Eligible Employers in the PSLF Help Tool

If you see this green checkmark next to your employer, it is a good sign:

An “eligible” employer is one that has previously been verified. Once an employer falls into the eligible category, PSLF certifications are processed quicker.

A Note About “Not Eligible” Employers

The PSLF Help Tool may state that your employer is not eligible.

If you see this warning, it is bad news:

An employer is given “not eligible” status if they have been reviewed, and it was determined that the employer does not qualify for PSLF.

If you believe that the previous determination was an error, simply submit a new application with this employer. It will trigger a new review of employer eligibility and may lead to a new finding.

Additional Resources:

How do I know if my employer is eligible for PSLF?

The PSLF Help Tool

How to find a new employer eligible for PSLF

About the Author

Student loan expert Michael Lux is a licensed attorney and the founder of The Student Loan Sherpa. He has helped borrowers navigate life with student debt since 2013.

Insight from Michael has been featured in US News & World Report, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other online and print publications.

Michael is available for speaking engagements and to respond to press inquiries.

6 thoughts on “Why Your Employer is “Likely Ineligible” for PSLF”

    • If your employer is not eligible for PSLF, then the payments will not count toward the required 120. For a payment to count, it must have happened while you were employed by an eligible employer.

      If you can’t qualify for PSLF, you might also want to look into IDR forgiveness. It takes longer, but there isn’t an employer requirement.

  1. What about “Undetermined” after previously being “Likely ineligible?” Dies that mean someone is actively reviewing to determine eligibility? How long does this usually take?

    • Processing times are all over the place with everything going on.

      I’d remind you that the help tool is only to give you an idea of eligibility. It is not the final say. If you think you might be eligible for PSLF, submit an application and find out for certain.


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