Hi, this is Neil Snyder, ASHA's Director of Federal Advocacy, and I handle education policy issues. I hope I can answer your questions today.

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1 On October 1, 2013, ASHA hosted an online web chat focused on Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Options. ASHA s Director of Federal Advocacy, Neil Snyder, spoke with students and recently graduated SLPs about loan debt issues. Members were asked to submit questions to Neil as he responded in real time. The discussion is presented below in an easy to read format. The original feed can be found at the following web address: Loan Forgiveness.htm Hi, this is Neil Snyder, ASHA's Director of Federal Advocacy, and I handle education policy issues. I hope I can answer your questions today. Q1: I am a recent graduate and have about $130,000 in loans. I understand that there is loan forgiveness for working in the schools, but is there anything for those of us working with the adult population. A: Yes, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program covers any setting as long as it is non profit or governmental, including settings with adult populations. Q1 Follow up: How do you find out if a particular setting is non profit or governmental? A: I would go to the PSLF site at: loans/forgivenesscancellation It spells the setting criteria there. Q2: If I have loans from another major but am a SLP will those loans be forgiven as well? A: Generally, yes. It depends which program you are applying for. There are several federal programs each with its own eligibility criteria. Q3: How long do you have to work in a setting for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program? What happens if you leave the job before the set number of years? A: The PSLF program requires 10 years of continuous fulltime service. You could be an SLP for the first 3 years, a librarian, then a park ranger, as long as it was uninterrupted full time service. Q4: How much does the Loan Forgiveness Program cover of your loans? A: For the PSLF, it will pay off the remainder of your debt after 10 years of service AND 10 years of repayment. Q4 Follow up: So the PSLF repays you for the previous 10 years that you paid in loans? A: No. You pay back you loans for 10 year and if there is a balance left on the first day of year 11 you can apply (if you met all of the other criteria: setting, public service, full time...). Q5: In order for your student loans to be forgiven, do you need to make 120

2 payments first? A: Yes, for the PSLF program. There are other programs with different criteria. Q6: If you work in sparse areas for 2 years, are your loans forgiven? Did that legislation pass? A: If your are referring to H.R.702, the Access to Frontline Health Care Act, introduced by Rep. Bruce Braley, then no, it has not passed yet. Q6 Follow up: Has it passed the House? A: The PSLF program has been law since H.R.702 is just sitting there waiting for consideration. Q7: What are some options for students going into medical fields instead of schools? A: The PLSF program is the only thing I know of that would cover medical settings, as long as it was either non profit or governmental. No for profit settings. Q8: How do you actually go about receiving the loan forgiveness? Are our future employers just going to supply us with the information? A: No, the borrower of the loan is responsible for paying it back. If that includes loan forgiveness that is on you, not your employer. In fact, I would not rely on your employer for any loan support. Q9: Can you participate in more than one loan forgiveness program? A: Yes and no. You can only get relief once per loan that you owe. So if you've consolidated several loans into one loan you only get one bite at the apple, no double dipping. On the other hand if you have multiple different loans you can apply separately. Q10: I am not 100% sure on all of my options for student loan forgiveness. Can you receive the benefits if you work at any nonprofit/ governmental position, or do you need to work in specific cities/with specific populations as well? A: There are several different loan forgiveness programs with different criteria. I suggest reviewing the eligibility criteria here: Q11: Where do we go to find these forgiveness programs? A: Q12: Is there an easy way to find a list of non profit hospitals? I'm having trouble finding it on the PSLF site. A: The PSLF won t list eligible sites by name. You have to verify your employers status with them. There is a form to "certify" your employment for each year of service on the web site. I would STRONGLY recommend checking that out so that at the end of 10 years you are not trying to track down your employer from year one. Q12 Follow up: Is there a way to check if the facility you work for

3 qualifies as a non profit organization? A: /charts/publicservice Q13: I worked full time as an SLP long term substitute while I attended undergrad and graduate school for five years. When would be the start time for the loan forgiveness program? Is it once you have your graduate degree? A: The PSLF law was passed in 2008 and that is when the clock started ticking. So it would be 10 years of service & 10 years of repayment after The first person on the planet won't be eligible until 2018!!!! Q14: Is there any other programs that have a shorter time frame for forgiveness? Also, Is it better to consolidate your loans? Is there any benefit to not consolidate your loans. total 100,000 dollars A: It depends. I would go to the following link and look at your options: Some start repaying after 3 years of service with a 5 year commitment. Generally it is a 5 or 10 year minimum. Regarding consolidation, the benefit there is ease of payment (one instead of multiple). However, if one of your loans WAS eligible for forgiveness and you consolidated it, you can't go back and apply. Consolidation loans are new loans with new conditions. The old loans just disappear. Q15: What if you stopped working to go to school and then returned to work. Can you count the years of loan payments made or years of service before leaving the work force, or would this be considered non continuous service? A: I believe that for most programs, especially the PSLF program, it requires uninterrupted service. I think there may be some exemptions for military service...and of course death. Q16: Are there student loan forgiveness options for people with PhD's? A: PSLF doesn't care what or which degree you have, as long as you worked in a public service setting. So, for example, if you get your AuD and work as a park ranger in Yosemite for 10 years, you are eligible. For PSLF it is the setting that counts, not the degree. Q17: Does your employer have to complete any documentation for PSLF, or is it an application that you complete? A: YOU have to get your employer to certify your full time employment for each year of the 10 under PSLF. You'll find that form at: cancellation/charts/public service Q18: What other loan forgiveness programs exist outside of the PLSF program? A: There are several of them, all are described in detail at: Q19: Does it also apply to the bank student loans or to governmental only?

4 A: private loans are not eligible for loan forgiveness. In fact, I think I misspoke earlier, student debt is not dismissible in personal bankruptcy and your relatives may have to pay it off in the event of your death. All, student debt is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, debt to get out of. Q20: Just to make sure I have this right...i would pay off my loan for 10 years.. lets say I owe 50,000. After 10 years, if 10,000 is left to be paid, that 10,000 remaining is covered by loan forgiveness?? A: technically yes. Q21: What are "direct loans"? A: Direct Loans are loaned directly from the Federal Government and not through a 3rd party such as a bank or Sallie Mae. All student loans, as of 2008, are now Direct Loans. Q22: I started as an SLP in a NYC public school this September. They have a program, which helps repay up to 22,000 in student loans over a 6 year period. However, I have 80,000 in loans. Could I also enroll in the public service loan forgiveness program or any other program to help alleviate the remainder of my loans? A: Maybe. I would check with the PSLF people. Since it is different entities (NY & the Federal) government giving out different relief you may, in this case, get two benefits. Double check first. All, don't wait to graduate or get 5 years into repayment to research your options. You may miss out on certain opportunities Q23: Does the student loan forgiveness program apply to someone who is contracted as a SLP to a school district? A: If the contractor you work for is a for profit company, then you are NOT eligible. Q24: On the PSLF program website it states to qualify: You must make the 120 payments under a "qualifying repayment plan". Could you explain what that means? A: 12 months x 10 years = 120 payments. The Department of Education does have several different "qualifying" repayment plans which can be found here: based repayment everything youneed to know/ Q25: Does the CF year count towards the 10 years? A: If you are full time, the setting is non profit (501 c3) or governmental (local, state or federal). And you have to be in repayment as well. Q26: Are there any programs where you volunteer and in return you receive student loan payment? A: The military is an option. Americorp or Teach for America could be other options to explore. Q27: For the Perkins loan forgiveness, is that only for a special type of loan or any loan?

5 A: Perkins Loan Forgiveness is only for Perkins Loans borrowers, who meet the criteria Q28: Are graduate plus loans eligible for loan forgiveness? A: It depends on the program you are applying for relief from. I don't want to be vague but it depends on the program. Q29: So I had to take out loans through Sallie Mae for my graduate degree, because I was told second degrees were not eligible for any government funding. So any of those loans are ineligible for forgiveness correct? A: Private loans are not eligible for federal loan forgiveness. Many university financial aid office have no clue what they are talking about once you leave the institution. Q30: Do SLPs working in schools qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program? Are we considered teachers? A: This is the most frequent question I get. It depends on how your state, not ASHA, not your degree, credentials you. In most states SLPs are NOT teachers and therefore are NOT eligible for the $17,500 Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. I have heard of a couple of instances where an SLP had or was a teaching certificate and therefore qualified. More info can be found here: Q30 Follow up: We are absolutely not eligible for the teacher loan forgiveness because we aren't teachers, right? Even if we work in a school setting as an SLP? A: In NY State SLPs in their CY year get a temporary "teaching certificate" and qualify. But once they become full on SLPCCC that goes away. Unfair but that is how it works. Q31: If loans are through a 3rd party such as Sallie Mae are these loans not eligible for loan forgiveness after the 10 year public service? A: Private loans are not eligible for Federal loan forgiveness. There may be state, local, or employer based programs out there but I don't know of any. Q32: Neil, are you aware of any bills now up for debate that would allow the government to sell our loans to private companies? If our loan was sold to a private firm during our service period (toward forgiveness) could we lose out? Are we protected from this in the loan agreement? A: No I don't know of any legislation that would do that, though they may be out there. As you can see your Congress is not too efficient in tying their shoes right now. There is also some ideological basis here as well. Republicans feel that the federal government should be in the loan business, while Democrats do. So if there is a change, things may change. Don't know how that change would affect existing loans. Probably only for loans going forward after any change Q33: SLPs should qualify for Teacher Loan Forgiveness: "Teaching Special Education

6 You must have an official at the public or other nonprofit elementary or secondary school certify that you are a full time special education teacher of infants, toddlers, children, or youth with disabilities either on the Federal Perkins Loan deferment/cancellation form or on an official letter from the school bearing the school's seal or letterhead. If you provide one of the following services, you qualify as a teacher only if you are licensed, certified, or registered by the appropriate state education agency for that area in which you are providing related special educational services, and the services you provide are part of the educational curriculum for handicapped children. The services are speech and language pathology and audiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychological and counseling services, and recreational therapy." A Yes. Your employer or hiring entity (the HR dept or your principal) must sign a form certifying that you are a "teacher" as defined in No Child Left Behind = bachelors degree, teaching a core academic subject, in a self contained classroom. Q34: I m a parent of a college age student, what advice do you have for me when financing their education? A: good question. I know that college is expensive but I would highly recommend borrowing as little as possible. Many students borrow the maximum amount allowed and use it for living expenses (which is okay). But after 4, 6, or 7 years of education you can have six figure debt. Q35: Are undergraduate SLP students eligible for loan forgiveness? A: Yes but it depends on the program you are applying for. A student with a CSD undergraduate degree working as an SLPA in a public school for 10 years would qualify for PSLF. Q36: When do you advise consolidating our loans? A: Again trying not to be difficult here but I would check with a certified financial planner. If your top priority is cash flow there may be other debts to address first before dealing with student loans. Maybe not. I'm a policy expert. Q37: Currently I am repaying my government loans under the standard repayment (10 years), so technically at that time my loans would be paid off and there would be nothing left to qualify for PSLF (assuming I am able to continue making my payments). Is that correct? I am just wondering if it would be beneficial to change the repayment terms (consolidate/income based repayment) in order to qualify for PSLF and have some amount forgiven (I work for a non profit). What do you believe are the chances PSLF will still be available 9 years from now? A: ahhh, you have uncovered the scam that the government plays with the PSLF program. Yes, most borrowers won't have any debt left after 10 years of repayment. But, and its a big one, for graduate students with a high debt to income ratio the PSLF may unfairly benefit you. There are several "qualified" repayment plans that can extend your payments from 10 to 20 or more years, therefore pushing your debt beyond the 10 year window. However, if you skip a payment, change from a governmental or non profit employer to a private for profit one, you're done and

7 NOT eligible for PSLF. There are income contingent plans as well, check out this link for more info: based repayment everything youneed to know/

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