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Earliest PSLF eligibility date?

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  • Earliest PSLF eligibility date?

    I am going for PSLF and should be eligible July in 2021. Is anyone closer or going through the process now? It would be good to share experiences in real time as the process unfolds.

  • #2
    Awesome - would love to hear stories of others that are that far along. 2017 was technically the earliest someone was eligible for forgiveness so there could be folks out there.

    People have been very quiet and I don't blame them for not wanting to out themselves as being the 'rich doctor' that gets loans forgiven - heck even on this board there have been threads of general hostility towards forgiveness. (for the record i don't completely disagree with some of the hostility).

    We are years behind you, but just wanted to say congrats and would love to hear more about your story if you're willing to share!

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    • #3
      I took out some federal loans in undergraduate years and more in medical school. Details are a bit blurry but I ended up consolidating, I believe upon graduation from medical school for a total loan amount of 175k with 6.125% interest. I have a hard time remembering how I learned about PSLF but it made sense to me from the early days since I ended up with 8 years of post-graduate training. I enrolled in IBR as that was the best option at the time. I did not start payment until ~February of PGY-1 year and let my income verification lapse two or three times over the years so I'm about one year behind where I could have otherwise been (Like a lot of you, I was not very financially savvy during my training years and made my share of mistakes. Fortunately none have been insurmountable) . I submitted employment verification forms about once/year the past three or four years after having been more lax about it in the past. As of last March when I last submitted employment verification, I had made 92 qualifying payments (I had wanted to ensure my new attending job would pass PSLF muster) and have continued to make payments in IBR. Last fall I went through a slightly stressful experience where Fedloan stated I no longer qualified for IBR because my income was too high. After several phone calls and emails I clarified that I was still in IBR headed toward PSLF, just on the permanent standard repayment plan (payment at the 10-year rate) instead of the the partial financial hardship repayment plan. Interestingly, with every encounter, Fedloan reps encouraged me to switch to REPAYE or ICR so I could continue to make payments based upon my income/family size, disregarding that, in the case of REPAYE, this would actually increase my payment rate vs IBR. I have downloaded all available statements and correspondence from Fedloan in the past few years, because these do disappear from their website. I also learned it is vastly superior to correspond by email, rather than phone, as the paper trail adds a layer of accountability and answers seem more accurate.

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      • #4
        For those physicians approaching forgiveness, I think your path sounds fairly typical. Good luck and please keep the forum updated.

        For others, please share your PSLF stories freely, facilitated by the anonymity of the internet.

        There was at one point a fairly active Facebook group for physicians pursuing public service loan forgiveness. However, I couldn't find it last I checked so it may be deactivated. Does anyone have any insight into that?

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        • #5
          Nervous_Water is there an income limit for PSLF? Or is that only for each of the repayment plan options?

          I am about 1.5 years into my repayment and have been told (via email with FedLoan) that all of my loans are eligible, though this upcoming tax return will be the first of my full attending salary ($350k) so hopefully will not get told I am no longer eligible.

          Thanks for any advice!

          OSD

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          • #6
            Correct, no income limit to get loans actually forgiven.
            You are only 1.5 yrs into payment and are an attending now? Were you in forbearance in residency? Is that even possible to do for much of residency?
            You cannot be kicked out of an income driven repayment plan for having your income increase, they just calculate the payment a different way depending on which plan you were in.

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            • #7
              Agree there is no limit though with so many years of payments ahead of you may be better to just refinance and crush loans quickly.

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              • #8
                Graduated med school in May 2011. Consolidated all Fed Loans into a giant FedLoan in Spring 2011 when I heard about PSLF.

                First IBR payment in July 2011-->Tentative 120th payment in March 2022 due to a few months here and there in voluntary forbearance in residency.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by East coast View Post
                  Correct, no income limit to get loans actually forgiven.
                  You are only 1.5 yrs into payment and are an attending now? Were you in forbearance in residency? Is that even possible to do for much of residency?
                  You cannot be kicked out of an income driven repayment plan for having your income increase, they just calculate the payment a different way depending on which plan you were in.
                  Yes, I was in forbearance/deferment through residency. Let's just say I got really bad advice, or moreso never received any good advice with how to handle my student loans. Either way at this point they are about $450k so yes I could refi and pay them off soonish, but I'd rather go for the PSLF and get the $200k+ forgiveness in 8.5 years and spend money now how I'd like to.

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                  • #10
                    I am exploring the idea of PSLF...when is the earliest one can apply? I could be wrong, but it appeared I could not apply until I started residency and was employed (in a few months)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by canadianoutlaw View Post
                      For those physicians approaching forgiveness, I think your path sounds fairly typical. Good luck and please keep the forum updated.

                      For others, please share your PSLF stories freely, facilitated by the anonymity of the internet.

                      There was at one point a fairly active Facebook group for physicians pursuing public service loan forgiveness. However, I couldn't find it last I checked so it may be deactivated. Does anyone have any insight into that?
                      The Fb group still exists. Many physicians have had their loans successfully forgiven and have posted in the group. Called PSLF-eligible physicians. I would definitely check it out if youre interested

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by asdfgghk View Post
                        I am exploring the idea of PSLF...when is the earliest one can apply? I could be wrong, but it appeared I could not apply until I started residency and was employed (in a few months)
                        The literal answer to 'when is the earliest one can apply for PSLF' is whenever you want!! You will get turned down for forgiveness if you haven't met the terms of PSLF obviously, but nothing is stopping anyone and anytime from applying for PSLF.

                        I kid a bit as I imagine your question really is "when is the earliest that my payments become 'qualifying' payments" for PSLF (working toward 120 qualifying payments) - that answer is: when the payment occurs while you are employed at a qualifying organization. This goes back to why people exaggerate worries about 'earliest possible moment to get into an IDR' - if you are going for PSLF, and you start payments before residency starts, that doesn't count towards your 120 qualifying payments. Thinking ahead, that same situation applies to the potential months in between residency and your first job - if you aren't employed at a qualifying employer for a few months in between, the payments don't qualify towards your 120. This is why you do the employment certification forms and why they put exact dates of employment on those forms.

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                        • #13
                          Winter 2023 will be eligible. The 6months of zero payments will increase amount forgiven.

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