• Expanded PSLF Eligibility for Physicians in California and Texas: New rule specifically addresses the unique legal barriers in these states that previously excluded many physicians from participating in the PSLF program due to state laws prohibiting direct employment by non-profit hospitals and other healthcare entities.
  • Important Deadlines For Loan Forgiveness: Physicians with older FFEL loans must act by April 30, 2024, to consolidate their loans for eligibility. Additionally, some payments made towards loans before the rule change may now qualify for forgiveness, benefiting those who were previously ineligible under the old regulations.

Doctors in California and Texas were previously prevented from taking advantage of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) due to state laws that prevented direct employment by non-profit hospitals and other healthcare entities.

As a result, thousands of doctors that should have been eligible for loan forgiveness were blocked. However, the U.S. Department of Education has finalized a rule to revamp the PSLF program, providing a pathway to loan forgiveness for these doctors. 

However, for some doctors with older FFEL loans (from before 2007), they must consolidate their student loans by April 30, 2024 in order to be eligible.

PSLF For California And Texas Doctors

Public Service Loan Forgiveness provides student loan forgiveness for individuals who work in public service and meet certain criteria for 10 years or 120 student loan payments. 

The definition of “working in public service” is very broad, and includes anyone who works for Federal, State, or Local government, education, public health, and most non-profits. Since many doctors and healthcare professionals work for non-profits or public health providers, they should be eligible.

However, California and Texas have odd laws that prevent doctors from being directly employed by non-profit hospitals and other public healthcare providers. Instead, they have to be contract workers or work for a provider, in which the provider is directly paid by the hospital. These laws excluded doctors and other healthcare workers from being eligible. 

The updated PSLF rules, which became effective on July 1, 2023, extends PSLF eligibility to a broader group of medical professionals. It recognizes physicians operating under contracts with non-profit hospitals or possessing medical staff privileges as eligible participants, addressing the unique employment structures mandated by state laws in California and Texas.

April 30, 2024 Deadline For Consolidation

Physicians looking to benefit from the updated PSLF program must ensure their loans are Direct student loans. For doctors with older FFEL student loans, you must consolidate your loans by April 30, 2024 in order to be eligible.

If you miss this deadline, you miss the opportunity to take advantage of PSLF for that loan.

Over 8 million Americans still have these older FFEL loans, so it’s important that you check your loans and eligibility for this one-time adjustment.

What Doctors Should Know

PSLF requires that you meet three main criteria for 120 loan payments:

  1. Qualifying Loans
  2. Qualifying Repayment Plan
  3. Qualifying Employment

The qualifying loan type must be a Direct Loan. This is what you must consolidate to by April 30, 2024 if you don’t have a Direct Loan.

Qualifying repayment plans must be an income-driven repayment plan, such as the new SAVE plan.

And qualifying employment is what has been resolved by this new rule. However, when you’re filling out your PSLF application, CA and TX physician borrowers should list the EIN of the nonprofit entity (hospital,
clinic, 1206(l) foundation, or other facility) in which you are providing services, not the EIN of your
direct employer (sole-proprietorship, partnership, medical group or professional corporation).

This is key to ensuring that your employment qualifies. The California Medical Association has a guide for doctors here.

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