Q. I understand there’s a way to get my student loans forgiven if I work for a non-profit hospital. How does that work?
A. You’re referring to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This federal program allows you to have the remainder of your federal direct student loans forgiven, tax-free, if you make 120 monthly payments under an eligible payment plan while being employed full-time by the military, Veterans Administration, or a 501(c)3 employer (ie, a non-profit employer).
Eligible payment plans include the standard 10-year repayment plan along with three income driven repayment (IDR) programs: Income Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and Revised Pay As You Earn (RePAYE). These IDR plans also have a forgiveness component to them, which doesn’t require you to work for a 501(c)3, but they require 20–25 years of payments, after which most emergency physicians (EPs) would have paid their loans off anyway. The amount forgiven is taxable. Thus, PSLF is really the only federal forgiveness program that most EPs should consider.