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Can My Physicians Assistant Husband Find Any Help for His Student Loans? – Tammy

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

In our case have very low interest rates therefor we are able to pay each of the student loans in full payments every month.

By the way my husband is a physicians assistant which as you know is 6 years of school so therefor we have 6 yrs of debt.

The federal government loans are the ones that are raping us with 8.8% interest.

If we paid what we should, and we pay income based by the way every month, it would be one of my husbands 2 pay checks a month.

I have looked into everything I can get my hands on to find some way to either consolidate etc.

All those avenues still lead to a payment that just cannot afford. We are supposed to be paying the federal loan $2,600.00 a month alone.

I work 3 days a week and am 18 yrs older than my husband, I’m 56, due to health issues that is max I physically can work.

I have always paid my bills, it’s my responsibility and am not trying to get out of these.

That all being said Why does our government penalize its own people for wanting to get a better job with such high interest rates?

We live in a very rural area moved here hoping to get on a program that helps to pay down loans through working it that type of community.

My husband has applied every year for 5 years that he has worked. We live very simple. Have a small home and drive cars that are 10 and 18 yrs old.

Do you know of any other program out there that can get the interest rates down?

To consolidate just the fed loan the payment based on the ten year repayment is more than we can pay, by the way we pay $800 just on that one alone. We pay around now $1,200.00 a month for combined student loans, more than my mortgage.

It would cost us just as much to rent where we live. I read people’s comments bashing others for not being able to pay, but our government makes it very hard to repay with interest rates that are so high. Those loans were for my husband to go to P.A. school. Which by the way you generally have to go where you can to get in. All things are just not as simple as people see them I suppose some people could say why did he go to school then if he could not pay the loans, my husband dreamed of being able to help people, but unless you are rich Feds make it very hard to get ahead. Any ideas on other programs?

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Tammy

Answer:

Dear Tammy,

Don’t let the simplistic view of some and their snarky comments make you feel horrible. It’s easy for people to have a very black and white view of things in a gray world.

Having started my professional life in the medical field, I understand his goal and desire. I applaud him for wanting to take care of people.

I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever met who went to school with the intention of screwing over the lender. The problem is the entire food chain of student loan lending is very perverse and heaps all the responsibility on the shoulders of the student alone. As an example, read this article for a discussion of who plays a role in this.

Your situation sounds very similar to the many people who earn an above average salary but wind up living a functionally poor life. It’s probably the definition of treading financial water.

But things might not be as bleak as you may see them now.

First, when it comes to the interest rates, that’s an issue decided by Congress. The rates might seem high but they are lower now than they will probably be in the future if Congress has it’s way.

And it sounds as if you’ve already consolidated the loans and placed them in an income based repayment program. The payment is high because it is based on his income.

I’m hoping your husband is employed by a non-profit hospital or medical practice. If so he would be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and his reduced loan payments would count towards the 120 required to have all of his federal student loans forgiven, tax free.

This program all all federal student loans to be eliminated when people consolidate their loans according to the program terms. But people who can get the benefit of this program, includes “Any federal, state, local, or tribal government agency, eligible government employers for the PSLF Program include the U.S. military, public elementary and secondary schools, public colleges and universities, public child and family service agencies, and special governmental districts (including entities such as public transportation, water, bridge district, or housing authorities).”

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And jobs in the following categories are include even if the not-for-profit organization is not exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

  • Emergency management
  • Military service
  • Public safety
  • Law enforcement
  • Public interest law services
  • Early childhood education (including licensed or regulated childcare, Head Start, and state-funded pre-kindergarten)
  • Public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly
  • Public health (including nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health care support occupations)
  • Public education
  • Public library services
  • School library or other school-based services

Loans for forgiveness must be consolidated first into a Direct Consolidation Loan. The types of loans that may be consolidated for forgiveness are Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans, which include the following:

  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Federal PLUS Loans—for parents and graduate or professional students
  • Federal Consolidation Loans (excluding joint spousal consolidation loans)
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Certain Health Professions and Nursing Loans
  • To consolidate a Federal Perkins Loan or Health Professions or Nursing Loan into a Direct Consolidation Loan, you also must consolidate at least one FFEL Program loan or Direct Loan.

    For more information on the Public Services Loan Forgiveness Program, click here.

    But there are other possible options for loan help as well for his occupation.

    It sounds like the area where he works might be considered a high-need and underserved area. If so, then you should look at the National Health Service Corps for up to $50,000 towards student loans.

    An often unmentioned great resource is the loan forgiveness and scholarship programs listed by the American Association of Medical Colleges.

    If he worked in a position where he was providing Indian Health Services he could be eligible for up to $40,000.

    Sincerly,
    Steve

    You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.





About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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