Student Debt Is Ruining My Job SearchI have a disgusting amount of student loan debt. It's a little stressful.
To some extent, this stress has colored my job search. All I can think is: STATE SCHOOL. State schools generally pay higher and offer better benefits. And oh yeah, there's that small matter of becoming eligible for a loan forgiveness program.
The Public Servant Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) is for people that work full-time at a public service job. I learned about the program from a law student friend of mine. He's hoping to get a job at the state or federal level in order to qualify for the program. When he first told me about it, I was annoyed. Shouldn't I be eligible for this program too? If I work at a state school, doesn’t that make me a public servant? During my hours of training at FinAid, I decided to investigate. It turns out that I am eligible!
The idea is that you pay a fixed monthly amount for ten years and then your remaining interest and principal are wiped clean. You have to use a certain repayment plan, one of which is income based repayment (IBR). IBR doesn’t really bother me. In fact, it works better in my favor because I won’t be making a lot of money. That’s why people that benefit most from this program are those with high debt and low income.
My lawyer friend told me not to get too excited because this program hasn't reached its first full cycle yet. He says it will ruin the economy, and there’s no guarantee that I’ll be grandfathered in once the plan gets nixed. It’s okay though; PSLF is my little ray of light in a dismal and debt-ridden future.
Now I feel like I should have some sort of disclaimer with this entry. I haven’t read all the fine print. There could be some clause in some paragraph that makes me ineligible for this program. Only certain loans qualify. I haven’t actually talked to a loan person to verify that all of this is true. It’s just something I plan to pursue. I think it’s worth pursuing because all preliminary signs indicate that this is an option.
Also, I'm told that it's really difficult to get hired at a state school because it's a competitive world. Everyone else wants great pay and benefits too. And while I’m not ruling out private schools at all, I’d like to take us back to what a wise blogger once said:
No matter how altruistic we think we are about sticking to our passion for education, in this day and age when Sallie Mae comes knocking (and she’s always knocking), nothing is sexy about being on a shoestring budget.
If interested, here are some PSLF sources you might like to check out: