As of 6-30-2018, there were 28,913 processed PSLF applications. Of those, only 289 (or just under 1%) had been approved. Pretty lousy, right?
This actually comes as no surprise to us. I wrote several years ago about the PSLF ticking time bomb and, unfortunately, it looks like my prediction is coming true.
Are you one of the hundreds of thousands of borrowers positioning your loans for PSLF? If so, take note. You better have all your ducks in a row. This terrible approval rate doesn’t surprise me because I’ve seen hundreds of student loan transcripts (NSLDS reports) from PSLF candidates and it’s EXTREMELY rare to see someone tracking how they should be.
Make 120 qualified payments on qualified loans while employed by a qualified employer. Seems simple right? Not so much. PSLF approval requires the borrower to meet many small requirements over a very long period of time. Progress checks are available along the way but are optional and rarely utilized.
The borrowers we see have more types of loans than fingers to count them on. They change repayment status regularly — and sometimes without even realizing it. They change jobs multiple times over the 10+ year requirement period. And they don’t have the time to read up on how all of this works. When they opt into progress checks, they’re often confused by the resulting reports.
Think 10 loans with 120 payments all made at 4 different jobs. That’s 4,800 verification points spread out over 10 years. Sprinkle in regular loan servicing errors and confusing progress checks and you have a real mess on your hands.
So what can you do about it?
We’ve had a ton of experience reviewing young physician’s student loans. And it’s not pretty! Nearly all borrowers we meet for an initial consult, even the most confident and educated, are unknowingly missing opportunities and making major mistakes. These issues are extremely widespread and if nothing changes, will continue causing major PSLF approval problems – ultimately costing physicians millions of dollars.
In working through this, we’ve learned how to help our clients be in the 1% that are on track for PSLF. In an effort to help more physicians solve the student loan problem, we’ve wrapped up what we’ve learned into a student loan assessment. And we need your feedback on it before we begin charging for it. For a limited time, we will be offering (free of charge!) our customized student loan report to 4th year medical students and resident physicians.
The assessment will include an organized and simplified visual representation of all your loans. It will also highlight, based on your circumstances, the most important issues and opportunities you should be thinking about.