Navigate Student Loans:
How is Navigate different from financial and tax advisors?
We specialize in student loan repayment. This means that we know all the nuances of repayment programs, consolidation, refinance options, deadlines, and regulations. We don’t offer any other financial or tax services, but we will happily work with your financial professionals or introduce you to one.
Another way we’re different is that we specialize in helping physicians, pharmacists, and other healthcare practitioners. We know that you’re overwhelmed by more student debt than any other professionals. We know that your career trajectories and finances are unique. We know that you’re busy and need data-driven, straight answers. In short, we know physicians better than anyone.
How is Navigate different from loan servicers?
We are independent advisors, so we offer unbiased opinions. We show borrowers all their options. We use a custom-built calculator to compare a variety of scenarios—even various job offers—and the results clearly lay out which repayment plan is the best option.
In contrast, loan servicers earn money on your decisions. In one case, we saw a loan servicer add long delays when processing a borrower’s application, which cost him over $10K. In another case, we saw a loan servicer advise a borrower to select a certain repayment plan, even though a different repayment plan would lower her monthly payments significantly.
Navigate will always be on your side. We will help you understand what to expect, advise you on the various options, and help you resolve any issues that arise—including when that means jumping on the phone with you and the loan servicer to resolve an issue.
What is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)?
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program is a free, federal program that allows certain federal student loans to be forgiven after 120 on-time, monthly, qualifying payments. These monthly payments are often lower than in other repayment programs. The program was created in 2007 in an effort to promote employment in the nonprofit sector. In order to qualify for PSLF, you must meet three qualifying factors:
- You must make 120 on-time monthly payments on your Direct Loans starting after October 1, 2007.
- You must make all payments through a qualified repayment plan.
- You must work full-time for a nonprofit or public employer while making each payment.
Is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program a good fit for my situation?
Answer three quick questions:
- Do you have federal student loans?
- Is your student loan balance higher than your salary?
- Do you work for a nonprofit hospital or government institution?
If you answered yes to all three questions, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is worth exploring.
How can I see what I owe in student loans?
Visit the National Student Loan Data System to view a list of your federal loans. Have your Federal Student Aid (FSA) PIN ready. If necessary, you can reset your PIN on this website.
Which loans qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program?
Only two types of loans are eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program: Direct Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans.
Any of the Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL)—including Stafford Loans, Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, PLUS Loans, and Consolidation Loans—do not qualify. However, borrowers with these older federal loans may consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan to qualify for PSLF. (Tip: MyFedLoan.org has a handy quiz to help determine if consolidation is worth exploring.)
But be careful: Consolidating certain loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan may limit PSLF’s impact on your finances. So before consolidating, check with your advisor or loan servicer and explain that you are pursuing PSLF. We’re a phone call away if you need any guidance or support.
Which repayment plans qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program?
The 10-Year Standard Repayment Plan or an income-driven repayment plan qualifies for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. Income-driven repayment plans include the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan, the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Plan, and the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan.
But be careful: The extended 25-year or 30-year repayment plans do not qualify for PSLF.
Many physicians mistakenly believe that because of their above-average incomes, an income-driven repayment plan will create a high loan payment or disqualify them altogether. But the income-driven formula takes into account loan balance, income, and family size. With PSLF, many physicians find relief in their monthly loan payment and save thousands of dollars on their student loans after 10 years.
What kinds of employment qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program?
To qualify for the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, you must be employed by:
- A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt organization
- A federal, state, or local governmental agency
- A tribal agency
Many hospitals, clinics, and health systems qualify for PSLF. But be careful: Many private, physician-owned groups do not qualify.
(Tip: To determine whether your employer qualifies, enter your employer’s EIN number—which can be found on your W-2 form—into the search bar of the national nonprofit database at Guidestar.org. Or email us, and we can check for you.)
When you have solid data, a decision should become clear.
Do you want help to crunch your numbers or have more questions about student loan repayment?
You can schedule an appointment with the student loan experts at Navigate to find answers for all your questions about managing your student loans, free of charge. We’re committed to supporting you as you manage your student loans.