Emails increased Public Service Loan Forgiveness form submissions three-fold without increasing the error rate

Student graduation

Student graduation

What was the challenge?

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) forgives borrowers the remainder of their outstanding loan balance after making 10 years of qualifying payments while working for a qualifying employer. To track progress towards loan forgiveness, the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) encourages borrowers to submit Employer Certification Forms (ECFs) in order to verify that their employment qualifies under the program.

What was the program change?

We developed emails with four different subject lines to encourage borrowers to submit an ECF.

How did the evaluation work?

Emails were sent to a random sample of 55,221 eligible borrowers encouraging them to submit an ECF. Email open rates were compared across the subject lines, and against the control group of 54,779 borrowers, to estimate the effects of receiving any email on ECF submission and error rates.

What was the impact?

Emails generated a three-fold increase in ECF submission without increasing the error rate. FSA is using the results from the pilot to inform a large-scale PSLF email campaign targeting approximately 3 million borrowers.





Project Type

Impact evaluation of program change





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