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Public Service Loan Forgiveness – am I making too much money?

I’ve been thinking about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan quite a bit lately. Did I say lately? I mean every minute of every day for the past six years.

At any rate, a few things have come up lately. First, it’s time for my annual employment recertification. Actually, it was time for that several months ago, but our human resources person quit, then we got a new person, then I sent the forms to them through campus mail, then they never got the forms because campus mail is terrible and also a fantastic excuse for forgetting to fill out a form is “I never got it because campus mail is terrible,” then I sent them a picture of the documents, then they wanted a scan (okay, that was my fault), then I scanned them, and now they are “sending them in.” I don’t know how long this last step will take, but there’s no real rush because nothing has changed since last year-and-a-half, and I’m still 3.5 years out from forgiveness, so an extra month or six makes no real difference.

Second, though, it’s also time for my annual income-driven repayment amount calculation. I knew this was going to suck, because last year I made almost $50K freelancing, which…increased my income substantially. Yayboo. I mean, obviously, mostly yay. But also a little bit boo.

I almost had a heart attack (not really, I hope, but…I mean, I’m 40, so I’m getting to the age where you never know!) when I got an e-mail with the title of “We denied your IDR request.” I mean, I figured I made too much money now for income-driven repayment, but also. Denied! It sounded terrible and I had braced myself for the increase in payments, but I was afraid of what it might mean if my request was altogether denied. Was my 6+ years of PSLF payments going to be for nothing?

I called, and they confirmed what I had read, frantically, in the middle of the night – that if you start on a qualifying income-driven plan, and then you no longer are eligible for that plan, your payments still count for PSLF. I made her repeat it like eight times. I also, while I had somebody on the phone, asked about the fact that so many people have been denied forgiveness. She said exactly what I thought she would say: that most of the people who have applied did not have the right loans or the right employer or the right payment plans, and if I’m getting my employment certified each year, and the “qualifying payments” are adding up right, there should be no problem. But of course she said it, that’s sort of the company line.

I hope there’s no problem, I have faith that it will work out because I’m doing what I’m supposed to, and certifying everything it’s possible to certify. It’s hard to say for sure what will happen. But even though my payment jumped by $250 a month, I should still be on track for forgiveness in about 3.5 years.

4 thoughts on “Public Service Loan Forgiveness – am I making too much money?”

  1. I went back and read through your previous post about your “exercise in faith” on this and man, what a headache. I’ve been fortunate enough to utilize the Perkins loan cancellation system for a small portion of my loans, which is slightly irksome but not nearly as bad as all the hoops the PSLF makes you jump through. If it gives you any hope at all, the fed has in fact cancelled my 4/5 of my loan so far. (Let’s hope I don’t jinx it by writing it out here.) I know it’s a totally different system, but at least it demonstrates they have the capability…

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    1. Thanks! I think I am doing as much as is possible to ensure things are done right on my end. I keep checking the stats (they update them every few months) – I am hopeful that they’ll go up soon, as those first borrowers straighten out the kinks in their payments and certifications.

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