EMERYVILLE, Calif., March 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Many proposed changes to the federal student loan programs have left out one program many borrowers rely on: Public Service Loan Forgiveness. A confusing program, PSLF offers to forgive borrowers' federal student loan balance after making 120 qualifying payments while in qualifying employment, such as that of social workers. American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), a document preparation company that helps its clients apply for federal repayment plans, reminds borrowers that any changes to federal programs would likely only apply to new borrowers and not current borrowers, but there are no guarantees.
"PSLF is a great program for those working in public service, which are historically lower-paying jobs than those in the private sector," said Sara Molina, Manager at AFBC. "So many workers taking advantage of PSLF are helping people and it would be a shame for those jobs to go unfilled because of student loans."
A recent article took a look at social workers who depend on PSLF. It described several stories of individuals who love their work but struggle financially, driving old cars and bringing lunch to work daily. Some of those individuals worry that without PSLF as incentive for young workers, there will be too few workers stepping in to take their places as they grow and retire. PSLF, after all, seems to function as incentive for borrowers to take social work and other public service jobs over higher-paying positions in the private sector. The borrowers are more often women than men, so any plan to disable the program might disproportionately affect women borrowers.
Experts, according to the article, agree that the program is essential for the future of public service jobs and those who benefit from the service those jobs provide. Fewer individuals working in those jobs may mean fewer people can benefit from those services. However, experts also agree that in its current state, PSLF is overly confusing. In the simplest terms, applicants must have made 120 qualifying payments while working for a qualifying employer.
Qualifying payments are full, on-time payments made in one of four income-driven repayment plans. A qualifying employer is either a government agency or a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, and in some cases other nonprofit organizations may qualify if they provide certain types of public service, as outlined on the employment certification form.
Finally, borrowers hoping to receive loan forgiveness through PSLF do not enroll in the program. They merely follow the guidelines and, at the end of 120 qualifying monthly payments, submit an application. If they choose, they can check in each year by submitting an employment certification form, but it is not required.
"PSLF can be very confusing, but for many it is probably very worthwhile," said Molina. "At AFBC, we help our clients determine their eligibility for PSLF and help them stay enrolled in eligible repayment plans if they choose to pursue forgiveness. It would be a shame if the program was discontinued."
About American Financial Benefits Center
American Financial Benefits Center is a document preparation company that helps clients apply for federal student loan repayment plans that fit their personal financial and student loan situation. Through its strict customer service guidelines, the company strives for the highest levels of honesty and integrity.
AFBC is a member of the Association for Student Loan Relief (AFSLR), and each representative on the phone has received the Certified Student Loan Professional certification through the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA).
To learn more about American Financial Benefits Center, please contact:
American Financial Benefits Center
1900 Powell Street #600
Emeryville, CA 94608
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SOURCE American Financial Benefits Center