FAQ | handsforlife

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I run my business and the nonprofit at the same time?


Our job is to help you do just that. We will show you how to run your nonprofit, and be successful at it while doing other activities or jobs that you love. That’s all part of being a Hands For Life chapter.

I don't know anything about fundraising. Where do I fundraise?

There are many ways to fundraise. Traditional fundraising includes calling, emailing and sending direct mail. We subscribe to the non-traditional, or as we like to say, the “technological way to fundraise.” We will show you how to use Facebook, email, and other avenues so you can hit large portions of your social media audience to have people support the work you do to make this world a healthier place.

Should I wait to sign up with Hands For Life until my loans are consolidated?

Most of our chapters sign up with Hands For Life before they consolidate, as it may take 4-6 weeks to have your state recognize your nonprofit. During this time, you can be applying to consolidate your loans. Also, many people like to get their nonprofit up and running, so when their loans are consolidated, they have already hit the ground running.

What happens if I don't raise money fundraising?

That’s not a problem. You chapter can still make money by delivering services and putting on events. But we feel after we teach you what we have learned, you will have no problem raising money for your chapter.

The Agreement says you cannot guarantee that my loans are forgiven. Does that mean this could all be for nothing in 10 years?

The main reason for starting a chapter is helping the community. The government controls the PSLF, so we cannot guarantee a certain outcome. However, we do not believe the government will eradicate the PSLF Program. In fact, if the government chooses to stop the program all together most governmental experts say you will be grandfathered into the program and will be eligible to finish out your PSLF because you are already participating in the PSLF. Our research has shown that if the government does decide to revise the PSLF program, they may impose a cap, whereby loans for new people entering the PSLF at that time will be forgiven up to a certain amount. So if you are thinking about joining the PSLF program, it may mean “the sooner the better”.

What can I name my chapter?

Chapter names include the community or neighborhood where you will run the nonprofit (for example: North Park, Hillcrest, Clairemont). You can also choose to name the chapter after the street name where it will be located.

Why can't I use my big city (i.e. San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City) for the Chapter name?

We set up many chapters in the big cities so we cannot allow only one chapter to use that big city as the chapter name. For example, we can have 25 chapters in Los Angeles so we will not allow just one chapter to be Hands For Life Los Angeles.

PSLF questions:

Which loans qualify for PSLF?


The loans that qualify for the PSLF are any loans you received under the Direct Loan Program. To be more specific the following loan are eligible for the PSLF:

Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loans (Direct Subsidized Loans)
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford/Ford Loans (Direct Unsubsidized Loans)
Federal Direct PLUS Loans (Direct PLUS Loans)
Federal Direct Consolidation Loans

The Federal Family Education Loan (FEEL) Program or the Federal Perkins loans are not covered by the PSLF, but they may become eligible if you consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan so it might be best to consolidate all your loans.

How many hours do I have to devote to the nonprofit?

You must be considered a full time employee, meaning you must work an average of 30 hours per week for 50 weeks. Vacation time is excluded from your total hours.

For instance, if you participate in a fair or activity during a weekend, these total hours can be dispersed through your weeks as well. Many people do mission trips that accumulate 45 hours over 3 days. These hours may also be applied to different weeks that my fall short of the average 30 hours per week. Remember, it is an “average” of 30 hours per week.

How am I going to devote 30 extra hours a week to the nonprofit?

There are a lot of ways to get your hours, but we hope most of them will be done by serving others with the work that you do. Then there’s public relations (blogging, Facebook, Twitter etc.), lecturing in your community, setting up fundraisers (easy and simply to do), going on mission trips, etc. Finding the 30 hours is no problem, it’s stopping to take the time to breathe because you are so in love with what you are doing sometimes tends to be the issue!!

What happens if I miss a payment?

If you miss a payment or are late on a payment, that month in question will not be eligible as one of your 120 month payments. For instance, if you are in month 90 and you are delinquent on your payment, that month will not count toward your PSLF. The next month, barring your payment is on time, will then become your 90th month. You must make the full scheduled installment payment no later than 15 days after the scheduled payment due date.

Is there a specific payment plan I need to be under in order to qualify?

Yes. Your student loan payments must be made under one of the following repayment plans:

  1. Income Based Repayment
  2. Pay As You Earn
  3. Income Contingent Repayment

Most people choose the Income Based Repayment Program.

How am I going to pay myself for PSLF purposes if the nonprofit hasn't made any money yet?

There are many ways to do this, and remember, as you start your nonprofit, you don’t have to be drawing a large salary. In fact, most nonprofits pay their employees minimum wage or a little above that line. As you grow your nonprofit, more money will be generated, as well as contributions that can be solicited. If you are a Chiropractor, patients you see through your nonprofit will be paying your nonprofit for the care they receive. These collections can go toward your salary as well.

What if I take a vacation? Does that disqualify me for the month applying to my PSLF payment?

Not at all.  As long as the weeks you worked during the month you took your vacation averaged 30 hours per week, the month in question will apply toward your loan forgiveness program.

What if I have other questions regarding the PSLF?

If you have any other questions, or want clarification on any of the above questions, either call or email us and we will be happy to assist you. The PSLF program can seem complicated and daunting.  With the hours we have extended into researching the PSLF, we feel confident that if we don’t already know the answer for you, we will know where to find it.