Physicians can rejoice about an event in Oct 2021: The Department of Education changed the rules for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). This means many physicians who were rejected for PSLF before, may qualify now.
But there’s a catch: This Limited Waiver Opportunity ends on Oct 31, 2022. If you took out student loans from 2007 on, read on because you could save yourself years and years of student loan payments and many thousands of dollars. (See more loan forgiveness news following this article.)
Student Debt: It’s Not Just You
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges 75% of residents have loans, ranging from $250,000 to $600,000 or more — depending on specialty. Bankrate.com adds, “Nearly one in five medical school graduates have more than $300,000 in student loan debt.” In addition, their median credit card debt is $4,000, with another median of $10,000 in residency and relocation loans.
These amounts could buy a home in some locations or help qualify you for your dream home. Remember to act before Oct 31 to revamp your financial future.
Why the Limited Waiver Option?
This fleeting opportunity is due to problems with the PSLF program. Regulations were so confusing that only two percent of those applying for loan forgiveness actually received it. In addition, unscrupulous loan servicers gave some borrowers erred advice, so many physicians lost out. Mounting complaints convinced Washington to act — but only until Oct 31.
Thousands of physicians may benefit. Could you?
The New Requirements
If you were rejected for PSLF, or lacked time to wade through its requirements, now’s your time to act. The below table shows the critical changes. Do you meet the new requirements?
Normal PSLF Requirements
Limited Waiver Requirements Until Oct. 31
Direct Loan payments only
Payments on Direct, Perkins, or FFEL Loans
Payments through Standard or income-driven repayment plans only
Payments through any repayment plan (including Graduated, Extended and others)
Full, on-time payments only
Late or partial payments
Must be employed full time by a qualified employer at the time of applying for forgiveness
Can get forgiveness if not employed by a qualifying employer at the time of applying for forgiveness
Also helpful, under the LWO, you can get credit for payments made prior to a consolidation.
Your employer must still qualify for the PSLF program, of course. Likewise, you may need to consolidate your student loans under the federal Direct Loan program. And many old requirements still apply. Visit StudentAid.gov for complete details.
Student Loan Help from Navigate
Now if you’ve barely a moment to spare, there’s a much easier way to find out if you qualify for the LWO. Sign up for a free consultation with Navigate Student Loans.
Navigate can determine in 15 minutes or less if your student loans qualify for the PSLF LWO, and how much you could save. Typically, Navigate saves each physician from $40,000 to $400,000. If you choose to work with Navigate, they will strategize to save you the most money, and your satisfaction is guaranteed.
Joy Sorensen Navarre, CEO, founded Navigate in 2014. As a financial planner, she saw how devastating physician student loans were to financial planning. So, Joy immersed herself in the world of those loans. She found a complicated maze of requirements physicians must navigate when they are extremely busy in their careers.
Loan Servicer Issues
As Navigate grew, Joy found shocking errors made by loan servicers costing physicians thousands, especially those pursuing PSLF plans. She joined organizations and lobbied congress on behalf of physicians to change the rules. It paid off. The Dept. Of Education introduced the Limited Waiver Option.
There are other student loan assistance companies as well. However, Navigate is the only company to stay with physicians for the entire life of their loan and they won’t nickel and dime you every time you call.
That means if in six or 10 years you have a loan question, simply contact Navigate and they’ll help you for no further charge. Or if you encounter a problem with a loan servicer, Navigate will get on the phone with you and the servicer to discuss the matter and ensure its properly resolved, again, for no further charge. Also, Navigate is a neutral third party and does not receive commissions on the plan you choose. To date, Navigate physicians are on track to save $348,653,000 on their student loans.
Physicians who have received this assistance are thrilled. As one physician said after saving thousands on her loans, “I can’t breathe … I might cry … This is a life-changing call. You have changed my life.”
Don’t Miss the Deadline to Save Thousands
The important thing is whether you do the work yourself with studentaid.gov, or work with Navigate or another student loan assistance firm, get to it quickly. The paperwork takes some time, and you want to ensure the government has received all necessary documents in their required formats. Your financial future is yours, so make the best of this brief opportunity, and enjoy the enormous relief you’ll feel when someone mentions “student loans,” knowing you’re on track to save thousands.
More great news: President Biden’s announcement on federal student loans
The recent loan update is great news for full-time physicians earning less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for married couples). The Department of Education will automatically deduct $10,000 from student loans; if you had a Pell Grant and meet those income requirements, you receive a $20,000 automatic deduction.
Also, the payment pause will continue through Dec 31, 2022 with a 0% interest rate.