Justin Berry |

What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program?

To earn PSLF you must make 120 monthly payments on a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer. PSLF is only for Direct Loans, but other types of federal loans can be consolidated into a Direct Loan to become eligible for PSLF.

Does PSLF work? I have heard colleagues say they do not believe the government will follow through on their promise.

Yes, despite much negative media attention, PSLF absolutely works. You must follow the rules and do your paperwork properly, but I have had many clients receive total forgiveness of their Direct Loans through PSLF. I cannot venture an accurate guess at the number of times I have heard a physician tell me that a family member, friend, or colleague told them not to trust the PSLF program. That can easily end up being a mistake that costs some physicians hundreds of thousands of dollars. I understand people’s skepticism about the program, but I have seen millions of dollars of loans forgiven through PSLF. I encourage physicians to not take student loan advice from people who are not licensed and qualified to give student loan advice.

What are my repayment options as a resident or fellow?

With federal Direct Loans, most residents and fellows will select an income-driven repayment (IDR) option. Think of IDR as the category and then there are four options inside of the category to choose from: income-contingent repayment (ICR), income-based repayment (IBR), pay as you earn (PAYE), and revised pay as you earn (REPAYE). There is not a plan that is best for everyone. The right decision depends on a physician’s loan balance, likely post-training employer, marital situation, year in training, post-training income potential, and several other factors.

If I want to make sure I find the most efficient student loan repayment strategy for my situation, how do I do that?

Email me at Justin.Berry@northstarfinancial.com. My student loan coaching process is available as a resource for all physicians in training at OHSU, Providence, and Legacy. There is no cost or obligation to you for this service. I have assisted over 1,000 physicians with their student loans, and I am always happy to help!