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An Official Web Site of the United States Government
Thursday, October 23, 2014

Become a PMF

Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. I have already completed my advance degree and heard about the PMF Program. Can I still apply?
  2. Is there a minimum grade point average required to be selected as a Finalist?
  3. Are only certain advanced degrees considered for the PMF Program (e.g., MPA, MSW)?
  4. Does the program accept individuals with disabilities?
  5. I am a non-U.S. citizen who wishes to apply to the PMF Program, but I do not have a Social Security Number to use for the application. How can I apply?
  6. Should applicants submit a letter of recommendation when applying?
  7. I do not know what my graduate school's FAFSA School Code is. How do I find it?
  8. How can I check the status of my application?
  9. I have certified and submitted my application but my PMF Program Status indicates I have not completed the application. Have I done something wrong?
  10. Is my school required to nominate me for the PMF Program?
  11. I realized after I submitted my application there was a mistake. How can I make the correction?
  12. How many applicants apply each year and out of that number, how many are selected as Finalists?
  13. How do Finalists learn about possible Federal agency PMF appointment opportunities? Where are the positions located?
  14. How do Finalists update their on-line resume for agency hiring officials to obtain?
  15. Are applicants who are selected as Finalists guaranteed a Federal job?
  16. Do Federal agencies reimburse PMFs for their relocation costs upon appointment?
  17. Do Federal agencies provide Student Loan Repayment or Loan Forgiveness for Fellows?
  18. In regards to the in-person assessment, what should Semi-Finalists do for inclement weather and/or emergencies impacting the assessment center location?
  19. I am a veteran student interested in applying to the PMF Program. How do I claim veterans' preference and provide supporting documentation?
  20. Does Indian Preference apply in the PMF Program?
  21. Can I stop in the middle of the on-line assessment, which is untimed and un-proctored, and come back to it at a later time?
  22. Can I stop after reading the essay questions, save my application, and complete it at a later time?
  23. When preparing my application, can I get assistance from others, like a career counselor?
  24. Can an applicant, Semi-Finalist, or Finalist request an extension or a deferral?
  25. As a Finalist, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that say they are open to individuals with non-competitive appointment eligibility?
  26. As a Finalist, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that are open to "status candidates" only?
  27. As a Finalist, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs on www.USAJOBS.gov?

1. I have already completed my advance degree and heard about the PMF Program. Can I still apply?

Students who will meet all advanced degree requirements, including the completion or successful defense of any required thesis or dissertation, between September 1 of the current year through August 31 of the following year, as well as those who obtained an advanced degree no more than 2 years prior to the opening date of the PMF Program's announcement, are eligible to apply in the fall of the current year for the class of the next year. For eligibility criteria, please go to the Become A PMF\Eligibility section for additional information.

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2. Is there a minimum grade point average required to be selected as a Finalist?

No. There is no minimum grade point average required to be selected as a Finalist.

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3. Are only certain advanced degrees considered for the PMF Program (e.g., MPA, MSW)?

No. Graduate students from all academic disciplines who meet eligibility requirements may apply to the PMF Program.

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4. Does the program accept individuals with disabilities?

Yes. The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability and genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factor.

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5. I am a non-U.S. citizen who wishes to apply to the PMF Program, but I do not have a Social Security Number to use for the application. How can I apply?

You must be eligible for legal employment in the United States. You will need to contact the PMF Program Office via email (pmfapplication@opm.gov) to request a temporary 9-digit number to use for the Social Security Number field during the application process. Please refer to the Become A PMF\Eligibility\Citizenship section of the website for additional details for non-U.S. citizens. Appointment opportunities for non-U.S. citizens are extremely rare.

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6. Should applicants submit a letter of recommendation when applying?

No. Do not submit any letters of recommendation. The PMF Program does not consider letters of recommendation or endorsements in any part of the program.

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7. I do not know what my graduate school's FAFSA School Code is. How do I find it?

During the application process, applicants will be asked to identify the location of their college/university, presented a list of colleges/universities associated to that location (from our database system), and upon selection the system will pre-populate the school's name and FAFSA School Code. If the applicant cannot locate his/her school, select "Other" and manually enter the school name in the field provided. The default FAFSA School Code will pre-populate with "999999" when selecting "Other". Do not alter the code that pre-populates. If you know the code is incorrect, please send an email to pmfapplication@opm.gov.

Not all schools within a college/university will be listed in our database. If the parent college/university is listed, select that name and proceed with your application. Most foreign institutions are NOT listed in our database. It is common for those applicants to choose "Other". All such applicants will be validated by the PMF Program Office.

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8. How can I check the status of my application?

You may log into the account you created when applying for the PMF Program and select "PMF Program Status."

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9. I have certified and submitted my application but my PMF Program Status indicates I have not completed the application. Have I done something wrong?

First, review your application summary page to ensure you have fulfilled all requirements. A warning message will appear if an applicant has not successfully completed the on-line assessment.

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10. Is my school required to nominate me for the PMF Program?

No. Under current PMF Program regulations, school nomination is no longer required.

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11. I realized after I submitted my application there was a mistake. How can I make the correction?

Before the application period closes, you may make changes to your application by logging into the account you created and select "Edit Application." You may make changes to the application questions, upload new documents, delete documents, etc. However, you may not make changes to the on-line assessment responses.

Once the application period closes, you will not be able to make changes to your application. However, you can make changes to your personal profile (e.g. phone number, email address, mailing address, etc.) by logging into your account and selecting "Personal Info". Updated resumes after the application closes will not be accepted.

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12. How many applicants apply each year and out of that number, how many are selected as Finalists?

Over the years, the PMF Program has seen an increase in the number of applicants. During the 2013 application, over 12,000 applicants applied and approximately 660 Finalists were selected. During the 2014 application, over 9,000 applicants applied and approximately 600 Finalists were selected. Over the past few years, an average of 50% of Finalists obtain appointments as Fellows. Please note this is a highly competitive program.

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13. How do Finalists learn about possible Federal agency PMF appointment opportunities? Where are the positions located?

Participating Federal agencies may post PMF appointment opportunities via the PMF TAS (Talent Acquisition System), an on-line job bank.

Federal agencies are not required to use the PMF TAS; therefore, Finalists should contact the Agency PMF Coordinator for the agency they are interested in for potential appointment opportunities.

Most PMF appointments are located in the Washington, DC metro area. 

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14. How do Finalists update their on-line resume for agency hiring officials to obtain?

Once the application period closes, you will not be able to make changes to your resume. Finalists should follow the instructions provided by hiring agencies. Appointment opportunities posted to the PMF TAS (Talent Acquisition System) will contain instructions on how to apply. Additional information about resumes can be found under the Become A PMF\Find a Job section.

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15. Are applicants who are selected as Finalists guaranteed a Federal job?

No. If you are selected as a Finalist, you are eligible for a PMF appointment by a participating Federal agency; however, Finalists are not guaranteed a Federal job. Finalists have 12 months after announcement of Finalists to obtain a fellowship appointment; which is defined as accepting and starting an appointment by the 12 month deadline. Appointing agencies are responsible to ensure Finalists meet qualification and degree requirements.

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16. Do Federal agencies reimburse PMFs for their relocation costs upon appointment?

Each Federal agency determines whether it will pay relocation costs or offer recruitment incentives. Finalists should inquire with participating Federal agencies before accepting an appointment offer.

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17. Do Federal agencies provide Student Loan Repayment or Loan Forgiveness for Fellows?

Federal agencies are authorized to repay student loans under the Federal Student Loan Repayment Program and some Federal employees are eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Finalists should ask the hiring agency if it participates when interviewing for appointments. Additional information about these programs can be found at the Student Loans webpage.

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18. In regards to the in-person assessment, what should Semi-Finalists do for inclement weather and/or emergencies impacting the assessment center location?

Please consult the "Assessment Preparation Guide" found under the Become a PMF\Assessment Process webpage.

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19. I am a veteran student interested in applying to the PMF Program. How do I claim veterans' preference and provide supporting documentation?

During the application process, applicants are asked if they are claiming veterans' preference. For applicants who claim veterans' preference, follow the instructions during the application. The most common document is the veteran's DD-214, Report of Separation. A blank version of the SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans Preference, can be found under the Become A PMF\Resources section.

If possible, the veteran should submit all documentation they have to support their claim when completing the application. See the application timeline for the cut-off date for applicants claiming veterans' preference to submit any outstanding supporting documentation.

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20. Does Indian Preference apply in the PMF Program?

Indian Preference is only applicable for the U.S. Department of the Interior's Indian Affairs and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Indian Health Service (IHS). If either of these Federal agencies have PMF opportunities and require Indian Preference, they will provide further instructions.

Applicants who can claim Native American (Indian) Preference should submit the BIA Form 4432 by following the steps outlined on the Indian Preference webpage (see below). If an applicant has already submitted their application and the announcement is still open, the applicant can still access their application and upload the form or follow the fax instructions for faxing a copy of the form.

For additional information on Indian Preference, please go to the Become A PMF\Eligibility\Indian Preference section.

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21. Can I stop in the middle of the on-line assessment, which is untimed and un-proctored, and come back to it at a later time?

Yes, for the application and assessment process, you may stop and come back during the On-Line Assessment. Every completed and saved page answer will be saved and you will be able to continue where you left off. However, once you complete and submit your responses in a section, you cannot go back and change your answers. The answers are saved upon moving to the next page of the On-Line Assessment. For continuity of thought, we recommend applicants complete the On-Line Assessment in one sitting. The On-Line Assessment must be completed prior to the announcement closing. Applicants will certify that they completed the On-Line Assessment and essays independently without help of others.

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22. Can I stop after reading the essay questions, save my application, and complete it at a later time?

Yes, you may review the essay questions, log off of the application, prepare a response, log back in, and cut-and-paste your responses. Once you enter all essays and click "Next," they will save and you can continue with your application. We recommend completing essays in one session. Please keep in mind that all components (application, On-Line Assessment, and essays) must be completed before the closing date of the announcement.  Applicants will certify that they completed the On-Line Assessment and essays independently without help of others. For more information, please consult the "Assessment Preparation Guide," found under the Become A PMF\Assessment Process section.

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23. When preparing my application, can I get assistance from others, like a career counselor?

Each applicant is expected to complete the On-Line Assessment and essays independently without help of others. Before submitting an application, applicants will read and electronically sign a "Certification of Information Accuracy." It states the following:

"I certify that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, all of the information I have provided is true, correct, and provided in good faith. I certify that I have worked independently and did not get any form of assistance while completing the assessments. I understand that if I make an intentional false statement, or commit deception or fraud in this application and its supporting materials, or in any document or interview associated with the assessment and application process, I may be fined or imprisoned (18 U.S.C. 1001), my eligibilities may be canceled, I may be denied an appointment, or I may be removed and/or debarred from the Federal service (5 C.F.R part 731). I understand that any information I give may be investigated. I understand that I will be rated "ineligible" if I do not respond to this certification item."

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24. Can an applicant, Semi-Finalist, or Finalist request an extension or deferral?

The PMF Program regulations do not allow for extensions or deferrals. An "appointment extension" exists for participating Federal agencies to formally request an extension to a Finalists' appointment eligibility when an appointment offer has been made and accepted by the Finalist prior to the appointment eligibility deadline and the agency needs additional time to bring the Finalist onboard as a Fellow.

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25. As a Finalist, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that say they are open to individuals with non-competitive appointment eligibility?

No. As a Finalist in the PMF Program, you do not have non-competitive appointment eligibility. Non-competitive appointment eligibility is based on statute or Executive order and specifically identifies the circumstances under which the non-competitive appointment eligibility is granted (e.g., persons with certain types of disabilities, certain military spouses, veterans of the armed forces). The Executive order authorizing the PMF Program did not confer such a non-competitive eligibility; instead, it provides a time-limited fellowship in the excepted service that could lead to a permanent position.

When Finalists see Federal positions advertised on www.USAJOBS.gov, they should ignore such references on "Who May Apply," showing "non-competitive appointment eligibility". Instead, Finalists should continue to monitor the PMF TAS for appointment opportunities. However, if you are eligible and you apply and accept such a position, you will technically not appear as a Finalist appointed as a PMF.

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26. As a Finalist, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs that are open to "status candidates" only?

No. As a Finalist in the PMF Program, you are not considered a "status candidate." The term "status" is reserved for individuals holding permanent positions (or who held a permanent position) in the competitive service.

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27. As a Finalist, am I eligible to apply for Federal jobs on www.USAJOBS.gov?

Current Finalists seeking a PMF appointment should use the PMF TAS to find appointment opportunities. Though participating agencies may advertise a PMF appointment opportunity on USAJOBS, it is highly unlikely. USAJOBS is intended to advertise Federal jobs open to the general public. If a Finalist finds a non-PMF Federal job and accepts, he/she will not be recorded as a PMF.

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UPDATED: 09-16-2014