Updated: Aug 4, 2020
Look, I'm not saying that Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) isn't a great option for people who qualify; it's just not a great option for me. I have put plenty of thought into my decision to not go this route. I have come up with 4 reasons why I feel that PSLF wasn't the right route for me.
1. It limits what career advancement opportunities I take
I currently work in higher education. While I thoroughly enjoy working with college students, I do not want to limit where my career path will take me. If an amazing opportunity with a for-profit company comes my way I don't want to be held back by the PSLF. It gives me a sense of freedom to be able to decide what is best for me and my career goals.
So, if I stay in my public service career for 8 years then decide to take a different job that doesn't qualify then I would be on the hook for the rest of the loans without any hope of the remaining balance being forgiven.
2. It takes 10 years before the loans are forgiven
10 years is a LONG time and I would rather not be in debt for that long. Especially because my current minimum payment schedule is on track to have my Federal Student Loans paid off in 10 years anyways. All of the headaches and hoops to jump through to stay qualified for that length of time doesn't make sense for me.
I graduated in 2017 and have already paid off a third of my federal loans as of August 2020. My goal is to have the remainder of my student loans paid off by June 2021 and right now I am on track to beat that goal. I'd take 3 and a half years of paying on student loans over 10 years ANY day.
3. PSLF is a program that can be cut at any moment
I do not want to leave the fate of my PSLF in the hands of any politician that's in office. I like to be in control of my own finances and do not want to leave my debt in the hands of anyone who is running for office.
Since I graduated, there has been rumoring threats of the PSLF program being cut. Unfortunately, I still haven't gained the super power of seeing into the future and I do not want to be in a constant state of worry that the program will be eliminated before my 10 years are up.
4. PSLF has a 1.8% success rate
I have read some unsettling statistics about the success rate for people who apply for the PSLF programs. A recent Forbes article shares that 98.2% of PSLF applications are rejected! I have never really been a lucky person so I definitely don't want to test the odds of my application being approved.
I once thought that loan forgiveness was a magical thing...like poof your debt is gone! I quickly learned it wasn't as magical as it sounded to be. These 4 reasons were enough for me to decide not to go down the PSLF path. Just like every big decision in your life, I hope you thoroughly think through all aspects of a student loan forgiveness program before deciding to do it.
If you decided to take advantage of a student loan forgiveness program, comment below with your reasons why.