Health

Student loan forgiveness for healthcare IT workers

If you work full-time for a government entity or non-profit, and received any student loan under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, you may qualify for the Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). 

After you make 120 payments, the loan is forgiven. However, the payments do not have to be consecutive.

And for a short time, you can get closer to your student loan forgiveness for public service by completing a waiver to credit payments you have already made.

How to get past student loan payments credited toward loan forgiveness

Borrowers have until October 31 to ask DOE to count past payments toward the 10-year payment requirement by completing the waiver, submitting their employers for eligibility review or consolidating into the Direct Loan Program, according to the PSLF waiver information page on the federal student aid website.

“Under the new time-limited rules, any prior period of repayment will count as a qualifying payment, regardless of loan program, repayment plan or whether you made the payment in full or on time. But you do continue to need qualifying employment,” says the DOE. 

To be eligible for federal student loan forgiveness, you must also be repaying under one of four types of income-driven repayment plans, which are granted based on a debt-to-income ratio.

Note that some other rules apply and Parent PLUS loans are not eligible under the limited PSLF waiver.

First, check if your employer qualifies with a search on the Federal Student Aid website. 

Once you are deemed eligible for forgiveness, you will receive a count of the number of qualifying payments you have made, according to DOE.

Attracting public health IT workers

More affordable student loan payments may help to better attract and retain talent in public health IT.

Cultivating a robust, sustainable public health IT workforce has been a goal for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

Last year, the agency awarded $73 million in American Rescue Plan funds through its Public Health Informatics and Technology Workforce Development Program to enable institutions of higher education to form a consortium and train more than 4,000 individuals over a four-year period in order to build up the U.S. public health IT workforce

As a result of the recent student loan relief decisions made to make federal student loan repayment more manageable for current and future borrowers, monthly payments for undergraduate loans will also be cut in half, according to the August 24 White House fact sheet.

“The Department of Education is proposing a new income-driven repayment plan that protects more low-income borrowers from making any payments and caps monthly payments for undergraduate loans at 5% of a borrower’s discretionary income — half of the rate that borrowers must pay now under most existing plans,” the White House says.

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: afox@himss.org

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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