Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): Too Good to Be True?

If you are like most Americans, then you have taken on debt to go to college.  As college tuition costs hit stratospheric heights, paying for college with student loans is a popular option.  As we have heard in the news for the past few years, this debt is crushingly expensive for an increasing number of college graduates.  In fact, according to a recent article in Forbes, the graduating class of 2017 had an average debt load of nearly $29,000,  and the total college loan debt in the United States is at 1.5 Trillion dollars.  The first and most urgent challenge for many college grads is how to repay the student loan debt.  To address the issue, the U.S. government in 2007 created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

What is the PSLF?

According to the GAO, college graduates who work in public sector or non-profit jobs can eliminate their federal student loan debt(debt forgiven) after ten years of working in the public or nonprofit sector while staying up to date on their debt payment.  This program was enacted into law in 2007 with the intent to encourage college grads with professional degrees or doctorates to seek work in the public sector.  Because wages for professional degrees are traditionally lower than those of their private sector counterparts, many critical positions requiring such levels of education remain unfilled.  In short, the PSLF offers college graduates an incredible opportunity to truncate a sizable portion of their college debt load.

The requirements of the PSLF art that the borrower work full time for a qualifying employer, government, tribal or other public service agency while making 120 loan payments (ten years’ worth) for the total required amount and to not be in default.

I Have an Outstanding Student Loan; Do I Qualify for the PSLF?

Qualifying is where things can get a little tricky.  First, there is the question of qualified full-time employment such as at any federal, state, local or tribal entity or public service oriented non-profit.  One’s full-time job must be of at least ten years’ duration during which the minimum monthly payments against the loan are being made.  Now, full-time work has different meanings for different professions. For instance, a teacher is considered full time if contracted for at least eight months out of the year working at least 30 hours per week, whereas active duty military personnel are automatically regarded as full time.  You may also qualify for debt forgiveness if you have suffered a total and permanent disability.

Moreover, then there is the loan itself.  Qualifying loans are issued before 2010 under the umbrella of the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.  These are loans borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education and include Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans, Unsubsidized Direct Loans, and Direct Consolidation Loans.  If you have taken a loan from a private institution, you may be able to consolidate your loan under the Federal Family Education Program, or FFEL.

Once Qualified, How Can I Ensure I stay Within the Necessary Parameters?

Navigating all the rules and stipulations of a student loan can be even more confusing that the process of applying for it.  Especially with the type of debt forgiveness program we have been talking about here.  Any application process can be complicated and confusing as many people have discovered when applying for the PSLF.  A recent CNBC article mentions that of 41,000 people who applied for the PSLF, only 206 were accepted.  The primary cause of applicants being turned down was that they did not meet the plan requirements, and another 12,000 filed incomplete paperwork.  Sure, this is a scary number but consider that, according to another article in Forbes, the program is just getting up and running – the ins and outs of the process still have to be learned.

Get Confident; Get Help.

On top of everything else you are doing, the last thing you want to do is get bogged down in deciphering the piles of documents that you need to submit for your loan.  Student Debt USA is a Better Business Bureau accredited firm that specializes in navigating the complexities of the PSLF process.  The experts at Student Debt USA have developed a unique, streamlined program to ensure you successfully navigate the student loan forgiveness program.

By providing one-on-one step-by-step guidance, we can help you to consolidate your student loan debt and maintain your enrollment in this valuable program.  Your student loan situation is unique to you, and we know.  Our debt consultants will ensure that the best student debt forgiveness program is established for you.

What We Do

Student Debt USA Has a detailed understanding of the processes and documentation necessary for establishing your enrollment in the correct program.  Due to the broad spectrum of possible occupations, many people aren’t aware of what qualifies as public service employment. We understand the full range of professions covered by the PSLF, and the ones that are not and so we quickly ensure that your employer’s qualifications are suitable to the plan.

The volume of paperwork involved in the process is intimidating.  We know the proper documents, and the best way to fill them out, which means that the back and forth generally associated with the process does not happen.  We fill out the forms completely and correctly, the first time.  First-time acceptance is essential because the sooner you are successfully enrolled in the program, the sooner your debt forgiveness will begin.

We follow up. Others have found that a simple misstep has put them outside the program.  Once out of the program, getting back in is painful and time-consuming.   We consider follow up to be the most critical aspect of the PSLF.  We ensure that your payments are made on time every time, keeping you within the parameters of the program.  You worked hard for your education, and you deserve to focus on what you do best.  We can help you with that by focusing on what we do best.

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