The healthcare industry is an increasingly competitive field, so it’s no surprise that more and more medical employers are offering student loan benefits. In fact, according to CommonBond research, 60% of medical industry human resources executives said they plan to enhance their student loan benefits within the next three years.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) helps borrowers in certain careers discharge their federal student loans after making 120 qualifying payments. The program is most helpful for students who earn a high income and don’t qualify for other debt forgiveness programs.
If you work for a public agency, governmental organization, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, or another tax-exempt employer, you can apply for PSLF. This includes work for government entities such as the federal government, states, and localities.
The Department of Education issued a limited waiver on October 6, 2021 that allowed borrowers to receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify them for forgiveness. However, the waiver ended on October 31, 2022.
Income-Based Repayment (IBR)
When it comes to student loans, deciding which repayment plan is best for you can be difficult. You need to look at both your long-term costs and your short-term needs, as well as what you can afford today.
The good news is that Income-Based Repayment (IBR) can help you achieve this balance. It’s a low-income payment option that caps your loan payments at a percentage of your discretionary income.
IBR requires verification of your income and family size each year, and your monthly payments will be adjusted to reflect the new information. If you don’t recertify your income or family size, your IBR program will expire. Afterward, your loan’s standard repayment amount will return, and unpaid interest will be capitalized, making the debt costlier over time.
Consolidation loans are a great way to streamline multiple debts into a single loan with a lower interest rate and a predictable monthly payment. They also allow you to change your repayment plan to make payments more manageable and can help you avoid default if you’ve fallen behind on your loans.
Getting a consolidation loan may be easier than you think. The process typically involves gathering information, including proof of identification, a utility bill, recent pay stub and cosigner information if needed.
The best time to apply for a debt consolidation loan is when you have a good credit score and low-to-moderate debt-to-income ratio. However, borrowers with bad credit should still be able to find lenders willing to provide these loans.
Loans for Disadvantaged Students
The Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS) program provides long-term, low-interest loans to full-time, financially needy students from disadvantaged backgrounds. These loans can be used to pursue degrees in allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatric medicine, pharmacy or veterinary medicine.
To be eligible for the LDS program, a student must meet all of the HPSL requirements and come from an “economically disadvantaged” background. This includes a family income that does not exceed a certain level based on low-income guidelines published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index.
To be considered for the LDS program, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and include your parents’ tax information on the FAFSA. In addition, you must complete an affidavit of financial need.
If you are a nursing student seeking financial assistance, you may be eligible for the Federal Nursing Student Loan (NSL). This loan is available to students who show exceptional financial need and meet certain academic progress standards.
You may also qualify for a private loan that will help you finance your education. These loans are typically available at a lower interest rate than government-sponsored loans and you can choose to defer repayment until after graduation.
There are also a variety of loan forgiveness programs that can help healthcare students get rid of student debt in exchange for service in under-served communities. These include the National Health Service Corps loan repayment program, which repays up to $50,000 of your medical school debt after you spend two years serving in a shortage area.