Student loan forgiveness programs are a great way to cancel debt and encourage people to work in public sector jobs. However, these programs are very complicated, and many who apply for forgiveness get denied.

In fact, a staggering 99% of applicants for Public Service Loan Forgiveness were denied not just once, but twice. If you’re enrolled in a loan forgiveness program, you need to be asking: what do I do if my application for forgiveness is denied?

With our simple guide, you’ll know exactly what to do if your application is denied.

Understand the Rejection

Let’s start with a bit of good news: in most cases, you may request student loan forgiveness once again. So, getting denied doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not getting your student loans forgiven. It just means you’re not getting your loans forgiven yet. That’s why the first thing you need to do is understand the rejection.

For example, it’s really scary to hear that 99% of those who applied for Public Service Loan Forgiveness were denied. But it turns out 55% of applicants simply hadn’t made enough qualifying payments.

So if your own application is denied, you need to start planning to apply again. But to make the next application successful, you must understand why the current one was rejected.

Check the Fine Print

Part of understanding why you were rejected means checking the fine print. For example, another 24% of those rejected for Public Service Loan Forgiveness had not fully completed the form. And another 15% were rejected because it turned out their loans didn’t actually qualify. 

To maximize your chances, check the fine print of everything from the loan forgiveness plan to the records you submit.  Submit paperwork every year to make sure you are on the right track. For example, Public Service Loan Forgiveness applicants are encouraged to certify their employment in a public service job each year with the government.

When you have a government-stamped paper trail for your paperwork, it’s a lot harder for them to deny your application!

Contact the Government

If you’ve been rejected for student loan forgiveness but still feel that you qualify, you need to send an e-mail to TEPSLF@myfedloan.org. In this e-mail, you should specify that you want the Department of Education to examine your eligibility once again

You’ll need to be your own advocate during this process. For example, you may need to argue about the “public service” aspect of one of your jobs, or you may need to verify the paper trail of current records and payments.

As always, you should hold onto all of your old records in case you need them to argue for your loan forgiveness eligibility!