My PSLF Testimonial
Andrew, Lawyer in Chicago, IL
I worked at Legal Aid from May 2011 to July 2017 and then government from July 2017 to present. I am a May 2010 graduate and had my loans consolidated in November 2011, making my PSLF date December 2021. My consolidated balance was around $220,000, and my starting salary at legal aid was $40,000. Even with the reduced IBR payment, it was difficult to make ends meet. I was fortunate to get a job in a similar area with the government and saw my salary increase from $62,000 to $110,000. At that point, my IBR payments went up to $994 per month. The COVID-19 student loan relief was a game changer for me, as it allowed me to coast into the remaining 20 months of my PSLF with qualifying payments of $0.
At the end of 2021, DOE made announcements regarding flaws in the calculation of borrower’s PSLF payments. I was advised that they would look into my account and that it would take several months to sort out all of the changes. FedLoan indicated that I was eligible for one additional PSLF payment, thus moving my PSLF date to November 2021. I applied for discharge at that time. I was notified at the end of December that I was eligible, but told to again apply for discharge. I applied in January 2022 and was notified on Feb 17, 2022 that my loans were discharged. At the time of discharge, I owed nearly $330,000, and that amount would have undoubtedly got closer to $400,000 had the government not cut the interest rate to 0%.
Although there is a lot of negativity surrounding the process, I found the process to be relatively straightforward. You have to take some time and personal ownership in understanding the rules and procedures for forgiveness. I felt that the process worked exactly as advertised. Now, at 39, I am nearly debt free and in much better financial health (and as a result, much better mental health).
Andrew had $327,000 forgiven through PSLF.