President Biden held a town hall on February 16th in which he discussed student loan forgiveness. Here is a quick summary of what you need to know:
- President Biden has doubled down on his position to not forgive $50,000 in debt through an executive order. However, he has left open the door for approving congressional measures.
- President Biden is open to forgiving $10,000 in student debt without Congressional approval. However, it is unclear when this will happen. He may choose to wait to see how Congress fares with the $50,000 option.
- He reiterated his support for making community college free and for allowing free tuition at public state universities for students whose families earn less than $125,000.
- President Biden supports expanding debt forgiveness programs for those going into public service jobs, although it is unclear what this looks like at this point in time.
- He continued to voice support for eliminating interest during the coronavirus pandemic. However, it is unclear whether this measure would continue past the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is still much to be decided on in the coming months. Please feel free to reach out to us for updates, or with any questions you have about how this applies to you. Here are some thoughts that we have regarding this issue:
- While debt forgiveness would certainly help some, for our medical students, $10,000 or even $50,000 of forgiveness is not a substantial amount to make a significant difference.
- Plus, with the debt forgiven being considered as taxable income by the IRS, there could be some hefty tax consequences that our residents on a low salary may not be adequately prepared for. With this in mind, we are hoping that President Biden advocates for a continuation of 0% interest, as well as making debt discharges tax-free.
- For those getting ready for match:
- Post match info
- Apartment info
- Contract reviewed by attorney
- Post match info
Here are some articles you may find interesting.
March – 4th year UME
We are less than a month away from Match Day, 2021. And for some of you, graduation is also quickly approaching. Here are a few things to keep in mind in both instances.
After you Match, be prepared to be asked by your future employers to provide your requested days off. Yes, they really do ask this right after Match. You will likely receive a packet in the mail, or via email, with a lot of forms to sign and questionnaires to fill out.
Welcome to employee onboarding 101.
Read your contract carefully and take note of any geographic restrictions regarding where you can live. Some employers will require you to live no more than “X” many miles (or “X” many minutes) from your hospital. This can be tricky for those who did a couples match and have to find a place to live that is somewhere in the middle.
Your employer will likely have detailed information regarding their COVID protocols as well. Keep in mind that there are hospital protocols and department protocols. As many of you are aware, not every department in a hospital does things the same way.
Your future employers should send you a list of your various benefits and a payroll calendar. Take special note of your payroll calendar so that you can determine when you can expect to receive your first full pay check.
Also, do not be surprised if your onboarding is virtual and that they ask you to complete it before your first day on campus. I have ran into programs that pay for orientation and programs that do not.
For those of you who will be relocating, be sure to get your apartment hunting portfolio together. This should include:
- Credit Report
- A pen (yes, seriously)
Don’t lose anything and keep all of these things securely with you at all times. I am not sure how showings are going to work with COVID, but please be careful with who you wire money to for deposits.
I’ve heard stories of people missing out on apartments because they weren’t fully prepared for the process. Some programs will send you contact information for a real estate agent or apartment complex. Be careful working with anyone who is not directly referred to you. I have had former students swindled out of thousands of dollars by fake apartment brokers.
With regards to loan payments, your payments are still scheduled to start October of 2021 – January of 2022 depending on when you graduated and when your institution reports you as graduated. Some institutions can take a while to do this.
Yes, it is possible that the Biden administration or the Department of Education could extend the pause on payments, but be prepared regardless.
Please feel free to reach out to me to schedule a post-match meeting.
March – GME
If you are expecting to graduate in July of this year, then you are also looking at contracts and reviewing your options. Please keep in mind that the answer is always “No” for a question that is never asked.
With the current focus on student loans in the media today, don’t be shy asking if your future institution has some kind of loan repayment program, or if they are considering making one (I would be more than happy to give my two cents on that matter – shocking I know).
Please complete your employer certification forms before you leave your current institution. It can be incredibly difficult (but not impossible) to get them completed after you leave. A link to the form can be found here.
The Department of Education has been putting together a list of resources to make it easier for people to qualify and find information on how to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Repayment is still many months away for many of you, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start preparing now. Remember that your payments are tied to your income, which means your payments won’t stay low for very much longer. For some it could mean switching repayment plans and for others it might not matter much.
Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions at all regarding any of the above.