First, another view of the student loan
debt crisis, then, PSLF.
Donald L. Swanson frames the issue nicely,
especially for high endowment schools.
He goes through the high, no, astronomical, cost of attending Northwestern, even though its endowment is just shy of ten billion dollars, and will exceed that by 20% if its current capital campaign succeeds.
The problem for everyone else is two-fold:
- The U.S. Government is a source of funds for student loans, for the benefit of Northwestern University, to its students and their parents; and
Northwestern University, with its unlimited funds and elite status, sets a standard against which other schools must compete: and that is a standard of luxury, high costs of attendance, and money-is-no-object to the University–never mind the students.
Uh, yeah. Why should middle class taxpayers subsidize those who can attend elite institutions?
Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which the law student quoted in the cited article above would be eligible for, if she worked ten years as a public defender, her avowed choice of careers, lets you off the hook for any balance on some government student loans if you spent the required time in the qualifying areas.
Joshua Cohen covers the just released PSLF application, as the law was effective in 2007, so, the first folks eligible can apply now, 2017.
(link to PSLF application here)
Here is the problem he (and I agree) sees with the application:
Section 5 basically states that you need to submit a PSLF application for EVERY QUALIFYING EMPLOYER YOU WORKED FOR DURING THE 120 MONTHS OF QUALIFICATION. Again I ask, why?! There’s no checkbox asking if your employer has already completed a certification and sent it to FedLoan. Does this mean employer certification forms are irrelevant? I’ve always thought they were, but this to me puts that to bed; they are completely useless.
Let me nitpick some more.
Full time means at least 30 hours per week.
Are each of your past employers going to comb through their records, reviewing each week for years, to verify that you qualify?
Or will they just skip signing the PSLF form altogether?
If you worked a 29 hour week once each month, are all those months thrown out?
Calendar months? That is, you work 31 days in a row, not counting weekends, but over January and February. Will you get one month credit for that???
Hey, lawyers are trained to think like that.
If the government were going to require this after ten years, shouldn’t they have had you collect these forms as you go through each job, or each year?
Oh, wait, they did start doing that in 2012.
In 2012, Dept. of Ed introduced the Employer Certification form. Basically, it’s a form you bring to your employer, they complete it and send it to your servicer. From here, all loans with an employer certification were transferred to FedLoan Servicing, who would verify that the employer qualifies you for PSLF. Many people have been completing this form, once they learn of it. FedLoan has been requiring borrowers to complete the form annually, even if they haven’t changed employers. And this is the problem.
I have every confidence the government will screw this up.