The Media and Student Loans

The Media and Student Loans

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The Patriot Act, a popular show on Netflix, recently highlighted the student loan industry.

https://youtu.be/t0CyBv18A5k

Unfortunately, there may be some mistakes in this episode as pointed out by Travis Hornsby at Student Loan Planner when the host discusses public service loan forgiveness and the eligibility of FFEL loans (only direct loans qualify for PSLF). A point worth making here is that student loans are complicated. The nuances between the income driven repayment plans can be subtle, and even professionals are easily confused by them and PSLF. Not to mention the added confusion by the temporary expansion of PSLF: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service/temporary-expanded-public-service-loan-forgiveness

The staff writers of this episode made a small mistake by including FFEL loans as loans eligible for PSLF. The the thousands of borrowers who applied for PSLF and experienced a denial in 2017 and 2018 made small but crucial errors in their application. This program is specific and I am not surprised by how many people were disqualified. A few of the most common errors would be requesting that non-direct loans be forgiven, not having made 120 payments while employed full-time by a 501c3 or other qualifying entity as a W2 employee (1099 contractors do not qualify), and currently be employed by an entity that qualifies for PSLF at the time of the application.

If you are considering PSLF (remember, that it is difficult to find a position that qualifies for PSLF as I wrote here: https://embrasurespace.org/public-service-loan-forgiveness-for-dentists/), you need to pay attention to who you are employed by and that you maintain full-time status as defined by your employer while you make 120 qualifying payments under an income driven repayment plan. You should rectify your employment annually using this form: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/public-service-employment-certification-form.pdf

Please note that many dentists and doctors find themselves working for qualifying employers as contractors instead of employees. This is an extremely important distinction to note as contractors do not qualify for PSLF.

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