⌘NOTICE⌘

Yes, blog readers and "A new faculty majority" followers, there is a story behind the popular Facebook page's sudden disappearance—and I will blog it. Until then, I invite you to visit and like the new Facebook page, Precarious Faculty. Finally, neither our overall social media reach nor individual Twitter streams, blogs, G+ and other destinations in the PFR network have been adversely affected by the change. Many experienced more growth than usual.

Adjunct Justice's dramatic increase in traffic is the silver lining to the recent FB disruption. Visitor numbers keep climbing. Next visit, remember to click LIKE and jump those numbers to match too. Make @AnaMFores' AJ the #1 adjunct page on Facebook. PS: don't forget to sign her better pay for adjuncts petition too.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

A guest post by Jen Bills, New Faculty Majority board member: Here's some information to disseminate to our members, other academic labor organizations, and individual adjuncts. Many adjuncts are likely to be eligible for:

Public Service Loan Forgivenessa new program for federal student loan borrowers who work in certain kinds of jobs. It will forgive remaining debt after 10 years of eligible employment and qualifying loan payments. (During those 10 years, the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan can help keep your loan payments affordable.)

Who can get Public Service Loan Forgiveness? This program is for people with federal student loans who work in a wide range of "public service" jobs, including jobs in government and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations.



What are eligible jobs? In most cases, eligibility is based on whether you work for an eligible employer. Your job is eligible if you:
  • are employed by any nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization;
  • are employed by the federal government, a state government, local government, or tribal government (this includes the military and public schools and colleges); or
  • serve in a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position.
If you don't meet these criteria, the Department of Education's regulations create a two-part test of other circumstances under which you may still be eligible:
(1) your employer is not "a business organized for profit, a labor union, a partisan political organization, or an organization engaged in religious activities, unless the qualifying activities are unrelated to religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing;"
and,
(2) your employer provides any of the following public services: emergency management; military service; public safety; law enforcement; public interest law servicesearly childhood education; public service forindividuals with disabilities and the elderly; public health; public education;public library services; and school library or other school-based services.
These definitions of eligible jobs reflect the Department of Education's final regulations for PSLF, as posted in the Federal Register on October 23, 2008.
What kinds of loans does it cover?  It covers federal Stafford, Grad PLUS, or consolidation loans as long as they are in the Direct Loan program. Borrowers with loans in the Guaranteed (or FFEL) loan program must switch to the Direct Loan program to get this benefit.
When does the 10-year clock start, and which payments count? Only payments made after October 1, 2007 count towards the 10 years (120 monthly payments, not necessarily consecutive) required for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Qualifying payments are payments made through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program in any of the following three repayment plans: the Income Contingent Repayment plan, the Standard (10-year) Repayment plan, and the Income-Based Repayment plan.
To count, these payments must be made while you're working full-time in an eligible job. "Full-time," according to the final regulations issued by the Department of Education, means an annual average of 30 hours per week or the standard for full-time used by the employer, whichever is greater. For people working part-time at two or more qualifying jobs, "full-time" means an annual average of 30 hours across all jobs held. In professions such as teaching, annual contracts that include at least eight months of full-time work will be treated as the equivalent of a full year's employment. If you meet all the criteria, the earliest your remaining debt could be forgiven is October 2017.
What if I've already paid off my loans by then? This loan forgiveness program will only benefit people who still owe money on their federal loans after 10 years of eligible payments and employment. If your income is low relative to your debt, and you qualify for reduced payments under IBR (or Income Contingent Repayment) at any time during those 10 years, you will likely have debt left to forgive. (Learn more about IBR.)


11 comments:

  1. Small point: In the para on "when does the 10-year clock start," qualifying payments include those made under FFEL auspices. So if you have Stafford subsidized and unsubsidized, and your consolidation lender now is say, Sallie Mae, you still qualify. You're not punished for having to take on Sallie Mae. And then, of course, these loans still qualify for IBR. - TL

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  2. Thanks for the clarification. I've passed it on. I admit to finding it all very confusing... too bad there isn't a "Coping with Student Debt for Dummies"

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  3. I have several questions please.

    Do you know whether all colleges and universities, private as well as public, are registered under the Internal Revenue Code as 501(c)(3) organizations? And if not, how will contingent faculty at private institutions qualify under this program?
    For many of us, here's the relevant passage:

    "To count, these payments must be made while you're working full-time in an eligible job. ‘Full-time,’ according to the final regulations issued by the Department of Education, means an annual average of 30 hours per week or the standard for full-time used by the employer, whichever is greater. For people working part-time at two or more qualifying jobs, ‘full-time’ means an annual average of 30 hours across all jobs held. In professions such as teaching, annual contracts that include at least eight months of full-time work will be treated as the equivalent of a full year's employment. If you meet all the criteria, the earliest your remaining debt could be forgiven is October 2017."

    Is there a way to make this program equitable? How will faculty appointed to "part-time" positions demonstrate that they qualify? They may work 30 hours a week on two courses but be listed as half-time or less (.50 FTE or 20 hours). Furthermore, Human Resources may have kept no record of their employment, and their own records for the past ten years may be scattered over many campuses in many states.... Whom would we contact, or how could be build a case publicly, that the benefits of this program should be pro rata rather than limited in effect to FT employees?

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  4. I am having a bit of trouble understanding this. Since the normal payment schedule for student loans is 10 years, it would seem that the only people who would qualify are those with reduced payments based on low income when the repayment schedule is stretched beyond 10 years. The amount left is likely to be small in relation to the overall loan.

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  5. Anonymous ~ and I am having a bit of trouble understanding your claim and what you base it on. Could you please cite your sources?

    Normal? Not. Most definitely not, at least not among low paid adjunct carrying large student loan debt from graduate school. Student loans have become the 21st century version of indentured servitude.

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  6. The repayment plans are great if the loans are not in default. Once in default, all bets are off, collection agencies do not have to follow Fair Credit and Collection Practices, they can garnish not only wages, but Social Security and Disability, seize bank account, cars and homes. The test case for garnishing disability was on a 72 year old Viet Nam Vet, sleeping on the floor due to lack of furniture. They took 25%.

    Needless to say, bankrupcy is illegal unless certified 100% disabled and that takes an attorney.

    More information at http://www.studentloanjustice.org

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  7. Thanks for the additional ~ and very sobering (not to mention scary) ~ information. The NFM board has discussed advocating legislation to change the language to make plans more adjunct accessible (as Ross pointed out in his comment).

    From this, however, stronger measures seem in order. Plus, I personally think we need to revisit the student loan debt issue. Adjuncts without grad school debt are far and few between ~ and timely repayment beyond problematic when wages are low and employment uncertain,

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  8. I am confused about the "30 hours" vs. "full time" - whichever is GREATEST. Obviously, an adjunct would only qualify by teaching 30 class hours, which is like a 60-70 hour workweek. That's obviously a huge injustice. But what about full time professors? They are called "full time" but only teach 10-15 class hours. How do they justify qualifying for this program when they can't show any better than an adjunct how many hours they work? How will anyone "prove" that they worked at least 30 hours, since the wording seems to imply that some kind of proof of hours is necessary (otherwise how would they know which is "greatest"")?

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  9. You're confusing work hours and credit hours. Correcting that and factoring in tenured faculty non-teaching responsibilities should answer your question for you. It's still not fair but not confusing either

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  10. "In professions such as teaching, annual contracts that include at least eight months of full-time work will be treated as the equivalent of a full year's employment."

    My question is: What counts as a contract of "full-time" work?

    I am contracted to teach credit hours (12-15 per semester), and I certainly work more than 30 hours per week on these classes.

    Thank you!

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  11. The DOE provides an "Employment Certification” form
    (pdf format)

    The employer checks "full-time" or "part-time” and records the number of hours.

    In its present form, however, part-time faculty in public service may be eligible for PSLF a) only if they work at least 30 hours/week for 8 months a year and b) only if their employers are willing to credit them with the number of hours they actually work.

    In California, at the CSU system, thanks to the CFA, part-time lecturers are credited with eight hours of work per week for every three-credit course. Elsewhere, however, it appears that employers are free to describe a three-credit course as three hours of work per week, or four hours, or five....

    We're getting ready to launch a dedicated website with up to date information and to help users to build a record of their public-service employment from 2007 to 2017. We want to know to what extent colleges and universities are willing to credit part-time faculty with the actual number of hours they have worked, and we’ll use this information to push for legislative and administrative reforms.

    ReplyDelete

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