By: Jenasa Staples, Staff Writer
In early September, the Government Accountability Office (GOA) reported only 1% of 54,000 people who applied to the Temporary Expanded Personal Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF) program were accepted. This program is temporarily available to help people who have applied and were denied by the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. People were denied because they were on the wrong payment plan. The PSLF is a program that helps people who work in public service or at a non profit organization pay back their student loans after ten years of consistent payments.
Both the Director of Education, Martha Johnston, and Education Program Manager, Jen Lanphear, are employed at Financial Authority of Maine (FAME). According to Johnston and Lanphear, the TEPSLF program will be in effect until the money runs out. Congress approved 700 million dollars for the 2018-2019 federal fiscal year for the TEPSLF program. Currently, only 30.7 million has been rewarded. This means there is still time to apply or reapply. The reason a 71% of people were denied for the TESLF program is because they did not apply for the PSLF first.
Johnston and Lanphear explain that applying for the TEPSLF program requires applying for the PSLF program first. Once applied for PSLF, students can send an email to [email protected] with the subject line: TEPSLF Request. In the body of the email, state your name, date of birth and ask for all information to be reviewed. Johnston and Lanphear suggest applying to the TEPLSF program now while it’s in effect. For people that believe they would qualify for the PSLF program, it’s important to start the process as soon as beginning a career. Send in an employment form certificate every year and make sure to have a correct payment plan to qualify for the PSLF.
Johnston and Lanphear say their biggest piece of advice to students would be to become educated on student loans. Figure out how much money needs to be taken out and how the loans will be paid for after graduation. The most common barrier between knowledge about student loans and the student is the future visualization of their life with student loan debt. They said that students only have to sign one paper at the beginning of their college career and then the rest of the time it’s easy to just click a button and get a student loan, leaving little room to reflect on the potential consequences of taking too much money. It is common for students to have minimal knowledge on how much student debt they have.
The FAME website has a calculator that can help students figure out if the amount they potentially could be making will be enough to pay on the student loans they have out now or plan to take out. FAME is also continually updating their information in hopes to make the knowledge less overwhelming for students.Their most recent updated information that will be helpful for students is “Managing Your Loans in Five Steps”, which can be found on the FAME website famemaine.com