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Student Debt Relief Workshop

Location: Online
Date: September 19
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Many of your clergy colleagues are on the cusp of receiving student loan forgiveness. We want you want to be one of them.
 It is essential to stay up to date with the recent Student Loan Debt Relief Plan and changes in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). Clergy are eligible for the PSLF program. A time-limited opportunity is still available until October 31, 2022 to apply for PSLF that could improve your chance to obtain forgiveness sooner. Previously ineligible borrowers may now be eligible under the limited PSLF waiver.

The Dakotas-Minnesota Area Clergy Well-being Initiative has contracted with LSS Financial Counseling to lead a workshop open to clergy, church employees, and all those working in the public sector. You will:

  • Determine if the limited PSLF waiver is beneficial 
  • Understand your options and demystify the process of applying for PSLF
  • Stay up-to-date with recent Student Loan Debt Relief Plan announcements
  • Avoid common student loan scams 

Two workshop options:

  • Monday, Sept. 19, 1– 2:15 p.m. CT. Register in advance for this meeting.
  • Monday, Oct. 3, 1– 2:15 p.m. CT Register in advance for this meeting

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

If you cannot attend the presentation, call 800.528.2926 to schedule a free appointment with a LSS student loan counselors or visit the LSS Sense & Centsibility Blog  for additional information. These certified student loan counselors understand what people are going through and can help you explore if PSLF is right for you. We have arranged for up to six free sessions for you.

Register here
If you have general questions, please reach out to Diane Owen by e-mail.

More info and testimonies

Many clergy have educational debt. Debt that some of you have been carrying a long time. Higher education and seminary are extremely expensive. Following your ministry calling has wonderful benefits, but the unintended financial consequences are challenging. Please continue reading if you still have educational debt!
 
The Biden administration has announced the student loan debt relief plan, which will:

  • Extend the repayment pause until the end of 2022 
  • Intends to offer $10,000 in forgiveness for those under a specific income level. ($125,000 individual or $250,000 household). An additional $10,000 will be forgiven for those who received Pell grants. We know that for some this may mean completing a simple form. For others, the forgiveness will be automatic. Those details have not been provided. Forgiveness will take several months to occur.
  • For those with outstanding undergraduate loans:
    •  the income driven repayment amounts will be cut in half – using 5% of discretionary income instead of 10%.
    • The $0 payment income requirement is increased to 225% of the poverty level for those in the income drive repayment plan.
    • For loan balances under $12,000 enrolled in an income driven repayment plan, the balance will be forgiven after 10 years.
    • The unpaid monthly interest will not be added to the loan balance.

Yet, the details are still unclear. If this raises more questions than answers for you, you are not alone. You may be wondering.

  • How do I apply for the forgiveness through the Student Loan Debt Relief Plan?
  • Am I ready to start my loan repayment in January?
  • What do I do if my loans are in default?
  • What is going on with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and should I still apply?


 Is it all even worth the effort? Hear from a couple of your clergy colleagues:

     The PSLF application process was a life-changer for me. The Conference made a great resource available with Lutheran Social Services to learn about the limited PSLF waiver as clergy could apply for the first time. I received word in late July that all of my loans were forgiven. As I read the letter, gratitude and relief brought tears to my eyes. With various life circumstances, even after years of payments, there was still $131,000 remaining. To have these loans forgiven frees me up to achieve my financial goals much sooner than anticipated. I can save more, give more and plan for my future with a freedom I could never have imagined. 
–Anonymous Pastor, Minnesota Annual Conference
 
     Does it take some work? Yes. Is it confusing? Yes, very!  But is it worth all the effort? I had carried my student loan for more than 22 years and it never seemed to get smaller since it’s the interest that takes all your payments.  When the realization finally came that it now actually been forgiven it was huge weight of my shoulders.  It was a weight that I had been carrying for so long I never thought I would be rid of it and would be carrying it long into my retirement, which is not so far away.  In fact, taking a student loan into retirement would mean that I couldn’t actually ever retire.  So, the timing of this forgiveness has come just in time and one less thing I need to be concerned about for my future financial well-being.
-Anonymous Clergy
 
     Yes! It is well worth the effort and the wait. Attending the workshop with LSS about the PSLF is the first step I highly recommend. I wouldn’t have able to navigate much of the process without it, including the multiple times I called the people at LSS to work my way through the forms. These people are very patient and knowledgeable and will explain the confusing language of the PSLF, as well as its confusing process.  It took a few months before I heard anything from them, sometimes telling me I qualified, then telling me I didn’t, then congratulating me that I did!  It was frustrating, but then anything to do with the government is!  So, I highly encourage you to attend the workshop, contact LSS for help if you need it and do everything the PSLF form tells you to do. Take the time. Do the work. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from LSS.
– Pastor Karen Ashton, Forbes UMC, Proctor, MN
 

Sponsor: The Dakotas-Minnesota Area Clergy Well-Being Initiative

UMC

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