Applying for Public Service Loan Forgiveness: 3 Tips for Success

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a federal program that could erase your federal student loan debt. This program is designed to support people working in lower-paying, but vitally important public service jobs, like non-profit work, social work, healthcare, and others.

It is important for you to understand that there are requirements you must meet to receive this loan forgiveness – your student loans won’t just be automatically forgiven after a couple of years of public service work. There are several requirements you must meet to receive public service loan forgiveness. You must meet these requirements for a total of 120 monthly payments, so it is important that you are on track early on. Make sure to read all the requirements carefully. After meeting all the requirements, and after you’ve paid 120 monthly payments (that’s at least 10 years of cumulative payments), you will need to submit an application to apply for PSLF to have your debt forgiven. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you receive the loan forgiveness you are expecting.

  1. Have the Right Type of Loan – Federal Direct Loans 
    • Federal Direct Loans are the ONLY type of loan that qualifies for PSLF. If you have a different type of federal loan, for example, Family Federal Education Loans (FFEL) or Perkins, don’t worry! You can consolidate your loan to qualify. Word of caution here – there are many different factors to consider when consolidating a loan as this creates a new loan with new terms. Depending on your circumstance there may be pros and cons to consolidating in order to apply for PSLF.
  2. Have the Right Type of Employer:
    • You must work full-time for a qualifying employer while you are making your 120 monthly payments to be eligible for PSLF. Working full-time means working at least 30 hours per week or meeting your employer’s definition of full-time. This is about who your employer is, not your job title. Many qualifying employers include non-profits, government jobs, and public service work. Check if your employer qualifies by asking your Human Resources Department. 
  3. Be in the Right Type of Repayment Plan – Income-Driven Repayment:
    • To benefit from PSLF, you should repay your federal student loans under an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Income-driven repayment plans require you to update (or “recertify”) your income/family size each year. Income-driven repayment plans can be highly beneficial for borrowers that have lower-incomes. Payments can be as low as $0.00 per month, especially for borrowers facing a loss of income or job, and still, qualify towards the required 120 monthly payments for PSLF.

There are other federal repayment options that do NOT count towards PSLF. These include Extended Repayment, Graduated Repayment, and Extended-Graduated Repayment. Also, you can’t make a qualifying payment while your loans are in any of these statuses: in-school status, the grace period, deferment, forbearance, and default.

You can’t qualify for PSLF faster by making larger payments. In fact, making larger payments can create a domino effect that disqualifies future payments as well. So, you will need to make a payment equal to the exact amount owed for that month to receive credit for a qualifying PSLF payment.

For full PSLF requirements and details go to www.studentaid.gov

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Setting Goals in 2021

Setting Goals in 2021

Setting Goals Being SMART

It’s the beginning of the new year! After 2020 feeling like an eternity, we all carry with us a sense of optimism that 2021 will bring positive change. Although there are external forces beyond our control, as students we can and should still continue planning for the future and setting goals. 

You can set goals for anything! Your goals may regard academics, health, or other personal matters. Regardless of what your goals are, however, you can use a SMART approach to achieve them. Read below for tips on how to set and complete your objectives!

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Thinking through each of these encourages us to think about the aspects of our goals.

Specific

Be as specific as possible with your goal. What exactly do you want to be done? The clearer your objective is, the easier it will be to identify what you need to do.

Let’s say my goal is to be “be healthier,” this year. Health encompasses many aspects! With a goal like this, it may be hard to know where to begin. If I narrow my goal to sleeping more, it may seem more plausible than just “being healthier.”

Measurable

Keep track of your goal. Find a way to measure or quantify your progress so you know whether or not you are moving forward. Remember that everyone and every goal will vary! How much I can achieve and how much I should achieve will depend on my personal capacity and target. 

Going back to sleeping more as a goal, I can start by assessing where I am currently at. If I find that I only sleep 5 hours a night, what are the measurable steps I can take towards sleeping more. Can I start sleeping 6 hours next week, 7 hours the week after that, and then 8 hours after that? My timeline may end up differing, but I know I will have achieved my goal when I finally consistently sleep 8 hours a night. 

Achievable

Be realistic with what can be achieved. Is your goal something that is plausible given your constraints and resources? Of course, always shoot for the stars but take small and possible steps while you get there. 

If I have poor sleeping habits, it may very well be impossible to change the way I sleep in a matter of a few days. I simply cannot go from sleeping 5 hours to a full 8 hours in a span of two days. I need to assess and change habits, get rid of obstacles, and more; therefore, I should step back and think about what actually can be done. 

Relevant

Make sure your goal matters to you. Are you trying to reach your goal because others want you to, or because you feel pressured to do so? As long as you deem your goal important, it is.

When speaking to a friend, I may find that they don’t think of sleeping more as a goal. Remember, it is your life, and you can do with your time what you think is worthwhile.

Timely

Set a timeline. Think about how long you would like to take to achieve your goal. Some timelines may be more flexible than others. Personal goals can be met whenever you want, but other goals like academics may be more restrictive. Whatever it is, make sure you are aware of the time you have available. 

Being SMART helps you think of various aspects of your goals. As you think about goals this year and beyond, use these questions as guidance:

  1. What exactly do I want?
  2. How will I know I am achieving it?
  3. Is my goal within my reach?
  4. Does this goal matter to me?
  5. When do I want or need this goal accomplished?

 

Personal Expenses

Luckily, financial aid covers most tuition and fees. Other expenses that arise from our college education are our personal expenses. Financial aid does not cover these, even though some of these expenses are related to college. Personal expenses include personal items such as laundry, going out to a movie, or eating out. Expenses vary from one student to the next based on their particular needs and lifestyle.

 

To learn more about personal expenses, download this guide Personal Expenses Explained. Guide provided by DecidED

 

 

Everything You Need to Know About Scholarships

Scholarships = free money! There are several scholarships to choose from: local, state, or nationwide scholarships. It is important to ensure that you are applying for all the scholarships available to you. Scholarships are a great way to pay for your turion or tuition related expenses. Books, technology, and even doing laundry on campus can get expensive. You should never pay for scholarship opportunities, be careful that you are not being scammed. 

 

To learn more about scholarships and get access to scholarship opportunities, download this guide You Need to Know About Scholarships. Guide provided by DecidED 

 

 

5 Scholarships for Undergraduate Students: Due December 2020

5 Scholarships for Undergraduate Students: Due December 2020

Has your financial aid been impacted due to the challenges that COVID-19 has presented? Same here! Paying for our education is a challenge. Especially when it comes to navigating scholarships and loans. If your financial aid has been impacted and you are finding ways to pay for your education, check out these 5 scholarships below! Good Luck!

5 Scholarships for Undergraduate Students 

  1. Creative Safety Supply Scholarship
    • Deadline: December 15, 2020
    • Amount: $1,000
    • Eligibility: Citizen or Permanent Resident of the United States. Enrolled in a college, university, or vocational school for the upcoming term. Has a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
    • Region: National
    • Field of Study: Any
    • To Apply: https://www.creativesafetysupply.com/scholarship/
  2. Feldco Windows, Siding and Doors Scholarship
    • Deadline: December 15, 2020
    • Amount: $1,000
    • Eligibility: A legal U.S. resident. Currently enrolled in a college/university or will be enrolled in a college/university in 2020.
    • Region: National
    • Field of Study: Any
    • To Apply: https://www.4feldco.com/scholarship/
  3. Robert J DeBry Scholarship
    • Deadline: December 15, 2020
    • Amount: $2,500
    • Eligibility: All currently enrolled college students who are attending a college in the US are eligible to apply for the scholarship. Winners will be asked to provide proof of enrollment.
    • Region: National
    • Field of Study: Any
    • To Apply: https://robertdebry.com/scholarship/
  4. University Frames Scholarship
    • Deadline: December 15, 2020
    • Amount: $1,000
    • Eligibility: 3rd-year students and above who are enrolled at any U.S. college or university and have a GPA of at least 3.0. High school students are not eligible for this scholarship.
    • Region: National
    • Field of Study: Any
    • To Apply: https://www.universityframes.com/scholarship-program
  5. Aceable Scholarship
    • Deadline: December 20, 2020
    • Amount: $500
    • Eligibility: Applicants must be currently enrolled at or planning to attend a 2-4 year university or community college, graduate school program, or trade school located in the continental US. Upon notice of winning the scholarship, the winner will need to supply a current proof of enrollment or letter of acceptance to receive their scholarship check.*
    • Region: National
    • Field of Study: Any
    • To Apply: https://www.aceableagent.com/scholarships/