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 helping prepare 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 many borrowers see after entering their employer 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 if the help tool says your employer is likely ineligible.
I’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.