How long should I wait to hear about an automated review before taking some kind of action myself?
For now, the Education Department is offering reassuring words about its ability to fix many things on its own in the next “several” months.
This is cold comfort, however, if you’ve made payments for 14 years working as a teacher and feel you should have been done four years ago. Having hundreds of dollars of your monthly budget back, after all, represents an enormous life change — and could mean finally being able to save for your own kids’ education.
If you haven’t heard from the department by February or seen updates on the statements and records that FedLoan, the entity that services people who are already enrolled in P.S.L.F., provides, call or send a message to FedLoan for guidance. If that doesn’t yield any information, send a note to the department’s ombudsman office and request a review. And if that doesn’t work, contact your senators’ or congressperson’s constituent service representatives and ask them to intervene on your behalf.
And if you have had the right type of loan all along but are hoping for a payment review, you should fill out the standard P.S.L.F. form if you haven’t done so yet or haven’t certified your employment before because you didn’t think you needed to.
What if I end up with credit for more than 120 payments when this is all over?
You should get a refund, automatically, according to the department’s website, as long as you haven’t already received full forgiveness (say, a year or two ago). If you already have, there won’t be any refund forthcoming even if the current waivers mean that you, in theory, made too many payments before your forgiveness.
Where can I get help in the meantime?
The P.S.L.F. journey has proved lonely and infuriating for so many people. Many of them commiserate on Facebook in a program support group, where you can learn about others’ successes, failures and tactics. The Reddit group about the program can offer similar camaraderie. Both places should have frequent updates from individuals posting about what they’ve heard from which entities about their progress or lack thereof.
The Student Loan Borrower Protection Center offers resources for borrowers, and the Institute of Student Loan Advisors tries to answer debtor questions. Many financial planners now specialize in student loan advice, too.
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