I have chronicled my student loan journey on this blog for the past couple of years. At first, I wasn’t in favor of doing Public Service Loan Forgiveness (see here, here). Then I finally saw the light and I enrolled. I even created a presentation about it for other folks that needed help (in other words I did a total 180). Mrs. ROB is also enrolled in PSLF even though she teaches part-time at multiple institutions.
So our current problem with PSLF is not mine, but hers and it stems from her part-time work. I won’t rehash it, but as long as you work 30 hours per week you are considered to be full-time for the purposes of PSLF and there is a specific way to calculate adjunct faculty hours.
Every year I certify my employment and I certify hers to make sure that she is accumulating the specific months needed for potential forgiveness. Well, this is what happened. Now mind you Mrs. ROB has been teaching at the same places for the past 4 years. She hasn’t changed. And the past two years there has been no issue with her employment certification.
So this past May I go to re-certify her employment again. On July 10 I get a letter that updates how many months she has gotten credited to the 120 total payments and that was fine. I also got a letter saying there was a problem with one of her employer documents. Not a big deal because this happens. However, yesterday she got a notice that lowered the amount of payments that were certified as counting toward PSLF down to 1. In other words, she lost over 2 years of PAYMENTS! TWO YEARS!
Obviously, there is some kind of SNAFU because we haven’t had any issue with her certification until now. In fact, she was credited additional payments in the July 10 letter, but then they concluded that she should only have 1 payment be certified out of the 120. I don’t know how the Department of Education can make such a mistake, particularly considering we have re-certified her employment every year. It just makes no sense. So now we have to contact the Department of Education and get this figured out. It just a huge pain in the butt and it will waste probably 4-6 hours out of my day to fill out paperwork that was already certified, but now they are discounting and basically telling Mrs. ROB that her past payments didn’t count. If they don’t change it we will sue. I guarantee you of that. This is too important not too.
So that is my rant about PSLF.
Student Loan Face Punches
This morning as I was walking the dog (and I often do this) I was contemplating my life and thinking about things. And this problem with Mrs. ROB’s PSLF made me think of the stupidity I have done with my own student loans. So in the spirit of my stupid tax post on Monday I think I will do a couple of face punches on my own. For me it is cathartic.
First, face punch was me racking up $97000 in student loans when I had my schooling paid for. I should’ve never did it and could have eliminated my student loan debt if I had just budgeted better.
Second, face punch is not enrolling in some kind of income-based plan sooner. If I hadn’t changed my payment plan back in 2007 and just went with an income based plan (even if it would’ve raised my payment) I could be eligible for PSLF in October! I cost myself 8 years.
Third, my thinking on student loan forgiveness was WRONG from the beginning. I wasn’t thinking mathematically. I was thinking more about pride. I wasn’t thinking about the good of my family. I was thinking and wearing my student loan debt as a badge of honor and that it would be horrific if I took student loan forgiveness. I am an IDIOT! If I would’ve enrolled in 2013 like Mrs. ROB did I lost TWO years of payments because of my stupidity. I cost myself thousands of dollars because of my idiocy. Now my loans won’t be paid off until I am over 50.
Finally, I wish I would’ve taught an extra class or 2 in my early days at my current position to pay some of these loans down more. It wouldn’t have been this hard, but I decided not to and again I am paying for it.
Talk about stupid tax huh? Student loan stupid tax definitely. Learn from my mistakes people. Don’t be so damn stubborn. Use math and logic instead of your own pride! I still have so much to learn but I hope to help others not repeat my mistakes.