A WFSE Member’s Student Loans Were Forgiven—Apply for Forgiveness Today

Jump to Application Instructions & Resources

Anneliese Simon, a psychiatric social worker at Western State Hospital, decided to attend the University of Washington Tacoma for a Masters in Social Work. Like her classmates, she was pursuing the degree as an investment in her future. For the last 15 years, she has worked to pay off the $55,000 in loans she accrued during her time in school.

She tried once before to take advantage of Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), a program through the U.S. Department of Education that forgives student loans for public servants after 10 years or 120 payments, but was rejected.

“They were super picky previously,” said Anneliese. “They would refuse people over technicalities, such as if you hadn’t logged in to StudentAid.Gov and updated your income.”

That has changed. The Department of Education has instituted reforms that maximize—instead of minimize—the number of eligible borrowers.

A key piece of this effort is a temporary waiver expiring Oct. 31, 2022 in which…

  • Any prior period of repayment counts as a qualifying payment, regardless of loan program, repayment plan, or whether the payment was made in full or on time
  • Automatic payment credits for military service members and federal employees
  • Credit applied for each month in which your loan payments were on pause under the COVID-19 Emergency Relief
  • Payments made on Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and Federal Perkins Loans will be retroactively counted towards the required 120 payments if you consolidate these loans into a Direct Loan on or before Oct. 31, 2022

Act Now! Apply for Forgiveness before Oct. 31, 2022

“I spent probably 20 minutes applying, and I had $11K in loans forgiven.”

When Anneliese heard about the PSLF reforms, she decided to give it another try.

“Even if you don’t think you will qualify, try it,” she said. “The worst that is going to happen is they will say no. I spent probably 20 minutes applying, and I had 11k in loans forgiven.”

She wasn’t the only borrower to have better luck the second time around.

Between 2007 when the PSLF program was created and February 2021 fewer than 7,000 public servants had their loans fully or partially forgiven through the program. Already that number has risen to 70,000.

“We give a part of our lives and our health to do these jobs.”

It took about six weeks for Anneliese’s paperwork to be processed and to have her loans forgiven. While she is very thankful, she also feels that she — and her fellow public servants — deserve this.

“Our jobs are high stress,” Anneliese said. “We give a part of our lives and our health to do these jobs. We keep our country and our communities running. This program was created to repay us for our service and to encourage others to serve as well. I’m just glad that it’s finally starting to work.”

“Higher education has become cost prohibitive to many, especially for public servants who wish to pursue a degree to advance their careers in the public sector,” Anneliese added. “The PSLF program supports people that wish to return to school in order to increase their earning potential while serving the public.”

How to Apply: Resources and Tips

1. Find 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 these in step 3.

Find TIN for Washington State agencies here. 

Note: When copying and pasting in the TIN/EIN, you need to remove the hyphen first. 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. Log in to StudentAid.Gov

Now, go to https://studentaid.gov/pslf/ and log in.If you’ve forgotten 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 put in your current and previous employers and provide information about your loan.

4. Print and Submit Form

Print out the completed form, scan it, and send it to HR for a 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. Do not rely on HR to do anything but sign off on the form.

More Questions?

Our union played an important role in advocating for these temporary PSLF changes. We want as many public servants as possible to take advantage of this opportunity.

Check out your union’s PSLF FAQ
AFSCME PSLF Info Session Webinar