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An Official Web Site of the United States Government
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Become a PMF

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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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. How do I know if my application is complete?
  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. Is there an in-person assessment?
  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 timed and un-proctored, and come back to it at a later time?
  22. Can I stop after reading the essay question 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 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, by August 31st of the following year of the annual application, as well as those who obtained an advanced degree no more than 2 years prior to the opening date of the PMF Program's annual 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. Advanced Degree is defined as a professional or graduate degree (e.g., master's, Ph.D., J.D.).

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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. Although we are seeing an increasing interest from agencies for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines. Advanced Degree is definited as a professional or graduate degree (e.g., master's, Ph.D., J.D.).

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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. Please refer to the Become A PMF\Eligibility\Citizenship section 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?

Follow the instructions in the application to identify your college/university. We will validate your school's accreditation. The FAFSA School Code is used to assist us with the validation process. Additional information can be found under Become a PMF\Eligibility\Education Outside U.S.

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

You may log into your applicant user account to check your status.

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9. How do I know if my application is complete?

The application has several required steps all applicants must follow. An applicant must first complete the contact information, demographic information, and eligibility information steps. Then complete the upload documents section, the PMF application section, the essay, and on-line assessment. Applicants should make sure all steps have been completed. Applicants will be informed of their status under the "Application Status" section of their applicant user account once the application announcement closes.

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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 the edit option. You may not make changes to the on-line assessment responses once you completed it.

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 editing your contact information.

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

During the 2014 application, over 9,000 applicants applied and approximately 600 Finalists were selected. During the 2015 application, over 7,800 applicants applied and approximately 600 Finalists were selected. During the 2016 application, over 6,000 applicants applied and 552 Finalists were selected. Over the past ten years, on average, 50-60% 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 post PMF appointment opportunities via the PMF TMS (Talent Management System) throughout the year.

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. Since the original resume and application documents are used to determine eligibility until selection of Finalists, these remain with the Finalists record within the PMF TMS (Talent Management System). Finalists should follow the instructions provided by hiring agencies. Appointment opportunities posted to the PMF TMS 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 (otherwise known as the appointment eligibility period); 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 under the Student Loans section.

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18. Is there an in-person assessment?

Effective with the PMF Class of 2017 application and assessment process, there will no longer be an in-person assessment.

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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.

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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 (including the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)) 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.

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 timed and un-proctored, and come back to it at a later time?

We recommend applicants complete each section of the on-line assessment in one sitting. The application system will allow you to take a break once you complete a section. If you attempt to log out in the middle of a section, a pop-up warning will appear prompting you to complete the section you are working on. If you must stop in the middle of a section within the on-line assessment, you have to close your browser. Every completed and saved page of answers will be saved and you will be able to continue where you left off. To save the answers and advance forward, use the "Next" button and to review or change your answers, use the "Previous" button. You may review all answers at the end of each section during the time allotted. However, once you complete and certify a section of the on-line assessment, you cannot go back and change your answers.

All sections of the on-line assessment must be completed before the closing of the announcement. Applicants will be prompted to certify that they completed each section of the on-line assessment independently and without help of others. Additional information about the on-line assessment, including instructions and sample questions, are described in the Assessment Preparation Guide

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22. Can I stop after reading the essay question and complete it at a later time?

Yes, you may review the essay question, log out, prepare a response, log back in, and cut-and-paste your response. Once you respond to the essay question, you will be prompted to certify that you worked independently without help of others before submitting. Once you save your essay, you can continue with your application. We recommend completing the essay in one session. Please keep in mind that all components (application, on-line assessment, and essay) must be completed before the closing date of the announcement. Additional information about the essay (including formatting tips) is covered in the Assessment Preparation Guide.

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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 essay independently without help of others. Before submitting an application, applicants will be prompted to certify their responses.

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24. Can an applicant 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. Such request must come from the Agency PMF Coordinator of the appointing agency and through an OPM Form 1305. Additional information can be found on the form. Only one approved extension is allowed per Finalist.

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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 in this regard. 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.

Federal job opportunities posted on www.USAJOBS.gov sometimes show "non-competitive appointment eligibility" under the "Who May Apply" section. This "non-competitive appointment eligibility" does not apply to Finalists in the PMF Program. However, if you are eligible for "non-competitive appointment eligibility," by a means other than the PMF Program, you may apply and accept such a position. If you do this, you are not hired under the PMF appointment authority and, as such, would not be in the PMF Program.

As a Finalist, you should monitor the PMF TMS for PMF appointment opportunities.

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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 TMS 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: 11-23-2016