Frequently Asked Questions
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- How many students apply each year and out of that
number, how many are selected as Finalists?
- How do Finalists learn about possible Federal
Agency PMF appointment opportunities?
- Who can hire a PMF?
- When can an agency hire a PMF?
- Do Federal Agencies reimburse PMFs for their
relocation costs or other recruitment incentives upon
- What are the responsibilities of the PMF Program
Office, hiring agency, Agency PMF Coordinator, Human Resources
Office, and the hiring official/supervisor?
- What are the requirements for a PMF?
- What is the timeline for the Fellows'
developmental journey in the program?
- What qualifies as training for the 80 hours of
training our agency is required to provide the Fellow each year of
their two-year fellowship?
- Is there a sample Individual Development Plan
(IDP) Fellows and agencies can refer to?
- Is there a sample Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) Fellows and agencies can refer to for external rotational
- Is there guidance on the ERB Certification
- Is there guidance on the PMF conversion to
a permanent or term position?
- Do Federal Agencies provide Student Loan
Repayment or Loan Forgiveness for Fellows?
many students apply each year and out of that number, how many are
selected as Finalists?
Historically, the PMF Program has seen an increase in the number
of applicants. The number of applicants has ranged from
approximately 3,000 to more than 8,500; the number of Finalists has
varied from 500 to over 800. For the past three years, applicants
have averaged a 1 in 10 chance of becoming a PMF. Now with the
expanded eligibility from the Pathways Programs regulations, we are
estimating a significant increase in applicants. Please note the
PMF Program is highly competitive.
2. How do
Finalists learn about possible Federal Agency PMF appointment
The PMF Program Office is transitioning to a new PMF Talent
Acquisition System (TAS). As soon as additional details become
available, this FAQ will be updated. In addition, a Job Fair event
is conducted exclusively for PMF Finalists participating agencies.
The PMF TAS is where agencies will post appointment, rotational,
and training opportunities. Finalists may contact Agency PMF
Coordinators directly; therefore, we encourage agencies to post
their appointment opportunities to the PMF TAS.
3. Who can
hire a PMF?
Participation in the PMF Program (a component of the Pathways
Program) is open to all Federal Agencies in the Executive Branch
who have an approved Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with OPM*.
Agencies excepted from the competitive service may participate
after entering into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with OPM. In
addition, Legislative and Judicial Branch agencies may participate
by entering into a MOA with OPM. Please contact the PMF Program
Office for additional guidance. For a current list of participating
agencies and their Agency PMF Coordinators, go to the List of
* Additional information about the MOU requirement and the
impact the Pathways Programs regulations has on the PMF Program can
be found in the "Pathways Transiton and Implementation Guidance"
under the Agencies\Resources webpage.
can an agency hire a PMF?
Agencies have 12 months from the official announcement of
Finalists to hire them as Fellows from a large, prestigious pool
with diverse backgrounds and skills. Agencies should plan
accordingly to make PMF appointment offers to Finalists, ensure
ample time for completing any background investigation, verify
degree completion, and bring onboard prior to the appointment
Federal Agencies reimburse PMFs for their relocation costs or
other recruitment incentives upon appointment?
Each Federal Agency determines whether it will pay relocation
costs or offer other recruitment incentives. Finalists should
inquire with participating agencies before accepting an appointment
offer. And agencies should follow their internal policies for such
incentives, including any Service Level Agreements.
are the responsibilities of the PMF Program Office, hiring agency,
Agency PMF Coordinator, Human Resources Office, and the hiring
Please see the Agencies\Agency
Responsibilities webpage for the duties of all those involved
at the agencies. Responsibilities of the PMF Program Office can be
found on the About Us\Meet the Team webpage.
are the requirements for a PMF?
Each Fellow will have the following:
- Participant Agreement with the agency*
- Assigned a senior-level mentor*
- Individual Development Plan
- Performance plan and yearly evaluations
- 80 hours of formal interactive training each year of the
- At least one developmental assignment 4 (four) to 6 (six)
months in duration
- Certification by the agency's Executive Resources Board (ERB),
or equivalent, determining the Fellows successful completion of the
Hiring officials and supervisors should consult with their
respective Agency PMF Coordinator for additional details. *Per the
Pathways Programs regulations, effective with the PMF Class of 2013
8. What is
the timeline for the Fellows' developmental journey in the
Agencies assist Fellows along their 2-year developmental journey
in the program. It is the responsibility of the PMFs and their
agency supervisors to negotiate the developmental activities and
work responsibilities that will prepare the PMF for the targeted
position at the conclusion of the program. Fellows may consult with
the assigned mentors and Agency PMF Coordinators, as well. The
typical fellowship cycle consists of the following:
- Within 45 days of appointment, agency approves Individual
Development Plans (IDPs) designed to impart the competencies
required of the target position and place the PMF on a performance
- Within 90 days of appointment, agency assigns a mentor
- Throughout fellowship, agency provides opportunities for
training, developmental assignments, rotations, and other
activities in support of the IDP
- Approximately 90 days prior to the 2-year anniversary date of
the start of the fellowship, the Fellow, Agency PMF Coordinator and
supervisor prepare for the ERB certification
- Before 30 days prior to 2-year anniversary date, the agency's
ERB (or equivalent) evaluates the PMF to determine successful
completion of the program. ERB certification is required for
- 30 days prior to 2-year anniversary date, the Fellow is
notified by the agency of the outcome of the ERB evaluation.
qualifies as training for the 80 hours of training our agency is
required to provide the Fellow each year of their two-year
Specifically, 5 CFR 362.405(b)(2) states that for each PMF, the
agency must provide a minimum of 80 hours of formal interactive
training per year that addresses the competencies outlined in the
IDP. Mandatory annual training, such as information security and
ethics training, does not count towards the 80-hour requirement.
On-the-job training does not count towards the 80 hours
requirement. The ERB ultimately decides whether the training
requirements have been met when certifying the PMF. The PMF Program
Office does not dictate what constitutes as formal interactive
training; this interpretation is up to the appointing agency.
there a sample Individual Development Plan (IDP) Fellows and
agencies can refer to?
Yes. The PMF Program Office has created an OPM Form 1302, PMF
IDP, which PMFs and agencies can use at their discretion. This form
can be found under the Current PMFs\Training and
Development\Individual Development Plan webpage. Agencies may
need to tailor their own IDP form to fit their needs or meet newer
Pathways Programs regulatory requirements.
there a sample Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Fellows and
agencies can refer to for external rotational
Yes. A sample MOU is available under the Agencies\Resources
webpage. NOTE: A PMF may complete the required developmental
assignment within their organization, appointing agency, or to
another Federal Agency.
there guidance on the ERB Certification process?
The ERB, Executive Resources Board, (or equivalent) can
establish its own procedures for conducting the review and
certification, but must consider whether:
(1) The PMF has met all of the requirements of the program, as
outlined in the program regulations found at 5 CFR 362.405,
(2) Has demonstrated successful performance according to the
Fellow's performance plan, and
(3) Has achieved the developmental expectations set forth in the
Individual Development Plan (IDP). This may be conducted through a
document review or other methods agreed upon by the ERB.
The ERB certification process must be started in time to be able
to notify the Fellow of the results 30 days prior to the 2-year
anniversary of the fellowship and the procedures consistently
applied to all Fellows under the ERB's purview. Typically, the ERB
process starts 90 days prior to the 2-year anniversary date. NOTE:
It is crucial for Fellows, supervisors, and Agency PMF Coordinators
to monitor the deadlines during a PMF's fellowship. PMF appointment
extensions should not be granted for administrative delays;
extensions are for rare and unusual circumstances. A Fellow must
convert to the agency that ERB certified him/her.
The results of the ERB certification are recorded by the Agency
PMF Coordinator in our on-line systems.
there guidance on the PMF conversion to a permanent or
5 CFR 362.409 states a Fellow must complete the program within
time limits prescribed in 5 CFR 362.404, to include any
agency-approved extension. At the conclusion of that period, the
agency may convert, without a break-in-service, an ERB-certified
Fellow to a competitive service term or permanent appointment.
Those who are noncompetitively converted to a competitive service
term appointment may be subsequently converted noncompetitively to
a permanent competitive service position (5 CFR 362.107(b)).
Appointments must be effective on or before the expiration of the
individual's PMF appointment, including extensions. No permanent
appointments are allowed prior to full completion of the 2-year
A PMF must meet the citizenship requirement to be converted to a
permanent position. The agency is not required to convert or
appoint a PMF who is not certified by the ERB.
Additional information can be found on the Agencies\Resources
webpage. Based on the Pathways Programs regulations (5 CFR 362),
there are some differences in conversion requirements for the Class
of 2013 and beyond versus Fellows from previous classes. Hiring
officials and supervisors should consult with their Agency PMF
Coordinator for details.
Federal Agencies provide Student Loan Repayment or Loan Forgiveness
Federal Agencies are authorized to repay student loans under the
Federal Student Loan Repayment Program, as provided for in part 537
of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations. Some agencies participate
in the program. Finalists should ask the hiring agency if it
participates when interviewing for appointments. Additional
information about the Federal Student Loan Repayment Program can be
found at the Student Loans webpage.