Student Loan Assistance Program

Have Questions First?

Helping You Structure A Repayment Strategy

Consultations Include:

Receive individualized advice regarding your student loans
Complete analysis of your federal and private loans
Analysis of different repayment plans (Standard, IBR, PAYE, REPAYE)
Assistance selecting appropriate repayment plan
Projections of future payments and forgiveness
Eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
Refinancing suitability analysis
Introductions to competitive refinancing lenders

How To Sign Up:

1. Go to the registration form
2. Complete registration form and upload your documents
3. Schedule a date and time
4. Pay the consulting fee

Once the registration is complete, we will analyze your loans and request any additional information or documents from you if necessary. We will call you on the day and time of your consultation to conduct a review of your student loans with you.

Consultations are conducted either by phone or through computer screen sharing if you are a visual learner (similar to a webinar).

Properly structuring your repayment strategy from the start can have a significant impact on your future

Total Federal Student Loan Debt

Source: National Student Loan Data Systems (NSLDS) as of 3/31/2017

Cumulative PSLF Borrowers*

*Includes borrowers who have one or mroe approved Employment Certification Form.

Source: FedLoan Servicing as of 3/31/2017

Number of Federal Student Loan Borrowers

Source: National Student Loan Data Systems (NSLDS) as of 3/31/2017

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is loan forbearance, and why might using it be a bad idea during my training?

When your loans are in forbearance, no loan payments are required but your interest continues to accrue. Interest that accrues can become capitalized. When interest capitalizes, the interest is added to the principal loan amount that you borrowed. Now, even the interest is earning interest. Furthermore, all of this interest will accrue with no federal subsidy or forgiveness opportunity. Better options may likely include Income Driven Repayment plans (see below for more details on these plans).

What is the difference between Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)?

Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) are federal repayment programs that limit monthly loan payments to 10% or 15% of your discretionary income. For IBR and PAYE, you must have a partial financial hardship to be eligible. A partial financial hardship means that this 10% or 15% of your discretionary income, calculated on a monthly basis, is less than what you would be required to pay on a Standard 10-Year repayment plan. Most residents and fellows with average medical school debt will be able to show a partial financial hardship and qualify for IBR or PAYE. Additionally, IBR and PAYE will cap your maximum monthly payments at the Standard 10-Year repayment plan. This is beneficial if you have a substantial increase in income after completing your training.

 

REPAYE, on the other hand, limits monthly loan payments to 10% of your discretionary income; however, no partial financial hardship is required and no there is no cap for a maximum monthly payment. With that said, one great benefit to REPAYE is that if your payment does not fully cover interest charges, you will be charged only 50 percent of the unpaid interest. This can help minimize the accrual of unpaid interest during training.

All three programs have loan forgiveness at the end of the repayment term. For IBR, this can be 20 or 25 years depending on when you took out your loans. For PAYE, this is 20 years. For REPAYE, this is 20 years if you only borrowed for undergraduate education and 25 years if you borrowed for graduate or professional education.

Keep in mind that many physicians will not qualify for forgiveness at the end of the term. This happens when your income increases after training and the entire loan balance is repaid before the end of the repayment term. Additionally, if you happen to qualify for forgiveness at the end of the repayment term, any forgiven amount may be considered taxable income.

Is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) a good option?
PSLF can be a great option for many physicians; however, the program has some uncertainties to it. First and foremost, this program was created by Congress and may be modified or terminated by Congress. Historically, changes to federal student loan programs have had a grandfathering effect, which means those who have already elected a program may continue with it and new borrowers are not eligible.

 

The way this program works is that you make 120 payments on your federal student loan debt under a qualifying repayment plan and the remainder is forgiven. Qualifying repayment plans currently include all of the income driven repayment plans such as IBR, PAYE, and REPAYE. Additionally, you must be employed by a qualifying employer while making these 120 payments. Qualifying employment currently includes working for local, state, or federal government organization or a non-profit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Many Housestaff trainees may already qualify by training at county hospitals or non-profit university hospitals.

Additionally, loan forgiveness under PSLF is currently not taxable, unlike loan forgiveness at the end of the repayment term for IBR, PAYE, or REPAYE. However, keep in mind that only direct loans qualify. If you have FFEL or Perkins loans, these loans will only qualify after being consolidated into a Direct Consolidation Loan.

Consolidation vs. Refinancing

When you consolidate, you are simply combining all of your eligible loans into a new Direct Consolidation Loan with a single payment. This can make things easier for many people. Additionally, if you are striving for PSLF and currently hold non-eligible loans, you may make these loans eligible by consolidating them into a Direct Consolidation Loan. When you consolidate, the new interest rate is a weighted average of all the consolidated loans and is rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent. This is generally not done as a way to reduce the interest rate.

 

Refinancing, on the other hand, is the process of taking out a new loan with a new interest rate. The refinance lender will then pay off your old debt and your obligation now becomes to pay the loan back to the new lender. This is done when there are opportunities to refinance at a lower interest rate. By reducing the interest rate, you can reduce your monthly payments and the overall interest that will be paid.

Should I refinance?

Refinancing can be a fantastic option. That said, it isn’t always suitable. Considerations for refinancing include whether or not you can reduce the interest rate. If not, refinancing may not make sense. If you can reduce the interest rate, other factors need to be considered. If you are seeking forgiveness under PSLF or one of the income driven repayment plans, refinancing will render you ineligible. Additionally, you lose the ability to use income driven repayment plans where the interest doesn’t capitalize while you have a partial financial hardship. Before deciding to refinance, it is imperative to review your current situation, as well as future employment opportunities and possible loan forgiveness.

How can filing my taxes strategically help reduce the cost of my debt?

Income Driven Repayment plans calculate your monthly payment based on your tax returns. If you are married and your spouse works, then your monthly payment will be based on your combined income. Filing as “Married Filing Separately” can remove your spouses income from the equation. However, if you live in a community property state, all income is considered “community” and filing a separate tax return will essentially split the total income equally between you and your spouse. You should ask your tax preparer to calculate your taxes ahead of time for filing both jointly and separately to you help make this determination.