Got Student Loans?
Student loan forgiveness has been a hot topic in the news over the past couple of years. One day there will be a promising plan announced, and a few weeks later a delay or roadblock is announced. So where do we stand at the moment? I am not an expert on this topic, but I recently came across some information I thought might be helpful for our churches and workers in the District.
In 2021, clergy and church workers engaged in religious education, worship, and proselytizing and who have carried debt from certain federal student loans for at least 10 years became eligible to seek forgiveness through the US Department of Education’s (DOE) Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. PSLF is a program for people who work in public service in federal, state, Tribal, or for a non-profit organization. As stated, clergy and church workers are eligible according to this definition.
Recently the DOE implemented changes to make it a bit easier to qualify for the program and implemented tools to make the application process more user-friendly. If you are currently carrying student loan debt and are employed by a church, I would urge you to take a look at the resources below.
I am not in a position to determine who is eligible, but the two links below should have all the information you need to find out if you qualify and instruct you how to apply.
Main PSLF Website – Public Service Loan Forgiveness | Federal Student Aid
Should you decide to apply for the PSLF program the following items will be helpful to have on hand before you begin:
- Copy of your church’s EIN.
- Documentation showing church nonprofit status.
- Copy of your 2022 W-2.
- Letter written from the church board or employing organization confirming employment.
In addition to PSLF, I would also like to mention another plan just announced by the DOE. The Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan is a new income-driven repayment plan designed to create more affordable payments. Under this program, payments can be significantly reduced, and loan balances will not grow. Even though you are making a smaller payment interest will not be capitalized and added to your loan, a form of forgiveness.
Again, I am not an expert on these programs, but if you need help or have questions feel free to contact me. I will see what I can do to point you in the right direction for answers.