My PSLF Testimonial

Paul and Amanda, Social Workers in Mankato, MN

When we met in our MSW program in 1998, we knew we had significant loans, but didn’t comprehended how long we had burdened ourselves. We began paying $500 each month for Amanda’s loans in 1999 and $700 each month for Paul’s in 2001 (after he obtained his Ph.D.). We are both first-generation college graduates in our families. When we got married, we didn’t think we’d ever be able to afford a house or get a mortgage with that kind of debt. We considered National Health Service Corps, but could never find a good match. When PSLF was introduced, we both looked into it, but because we had each consolidated our loans through Sallie Mae to afford a monthly payment, we were immediately told we wouldn’t qualify. We resigned ourselves to 30 years of payments- we chose the schools we went to and signed up for the loans. While we both have good jobs, and graduate school got us where we are today, it felt like taking out those loans was the biggest mistake of our lives. Amanda would be in her 50s and Paul in his 60s before they were paid off.

When the new PSLF waiver was announced, Amanda researched it for hours and days. We didn’t want to get our hopes up, but the more we learned, the more we realized we may just qualify. Our current servicers both told us not to apply as we wouldn’t be eligible. We found a Reddit thread that turned into a support group, which provided explicit directions on what to do and what to expect. We applied in November 2021, checked the website probably 20 times a day, and the forgiveness came through in March 2022. Amanda sat down at my desk and cried before calling Paul.

We have a daughter starting college in 2 years, and we have saved, but not enough. We can now invest more in her education, better prepare her for what taking a loan out means, and more than anything, not be burdened with our loans while supporting her (and her sister two years later) in their college dreams. We have been completely transparent with them about how our education helped us, but our ignorance of the impact of student loans has prevented us from saving as much for their education. Amanda paid twice the original balance of her loans due to the extended repayment plan, and Paul paid just under the original balance. We are now 45 and 53 years old. In 23 years, we have not missed a single payment.

Paul and Amanda had $68,000 of their original amount  forgiven through PSLF.