By Christine DeCarlo, AACOM Media and Public Affairs Manager
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program helps incentivize careers in the public service sector. The PSLF Program is particularly important to the osteopathic community. According to preliminary data from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s 2019 – 2020 Graduating Seniors Summary Report, 80 percent of osteopathic medical students graduating in the 2019 – 2020 academic year who reported entering a loan-forgiveness program plan on entering the PSLF Program.
To help connect PSLF job seekers with PSLF positions, Jason DiLorenzo founded PSLFjobs, a Public Service Loan Forgiveness jobs platform and resource.
Jason spoke with ED to MED about the PSLFjobs site, shared his advice for health professions students interested in the PSLF Program, and discussed COVID-19’s impact on PSLF borrowers. Watch our full video interview with Jason and view some key takeaways below (responses edited for length and clarity).
ED to MED: What Motivated You to Launch PSLFjobs?
Jason: In 2015, I founded Doctors Without Quarters to support health professions students as they navigate their federal loan options. Of the thousands of doctors that have come through Doctors Without Quarters, about 80% were PSLF candidates, and still are in many cases. Residency and teaching hospitals are typically 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, so whether or not a physician would be working in the public service sector once they transition to practice, many of them certainly have that option, so I wanted to create a platform to help them more easily find PSLF-qualifying jobs.
ED to MED: How Can PSLFjobs Help Osteopathic Medical Students?
Jason: At Doctors Without Quarters, we’ve seen a strong interest among osteopathic medical students in pursuing primary care, a field that offers abundant PSLF job opportunities. So first and foremost, PSLFjobs will help make it easier for osteopathic physicians to find those PSLF job opportunities. We will also continue to manage individual debt portfolios through Doctors Without Quarters to maximize saving opportunities.
ED to MED: What Advice Would You Give to Health Professions Student Borrowers Who Are Interested in the PSLF Program?
Jason: I would tell every graduate who has meaningful student loan debt to avoid deferment or forbearance and to use an income-driven repayment plan. There is no reason for borrowers today to choose deferment or forbearance when they can enter an income-driven repayment plan that qualifies them for PSLF.
ED to MED: Have You Seen an Increase in Public Service Job Interest Since the COVID-19 Pandemic Began?
Jason: I have not, but what is absolutely true is that the value of PSLF has increased during the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act stimulus period, which has stopped federal student loan payment for everyone. These $0 payments still qualify for PSLF, which increases the value of the program for all who are working toward forgiveness.
ED to MED encourages our community to visit the PSLFjobs resource online at PSLFjobs.com to take advantage of the jobs board and other services. We also strongly urge our advocates to continue speaking out in support of the PSLF Program. Your advocacy is so important not only to ensuring PSLF remains an option for future borrowers, but also to helping improve healthcare access among medically underserved communities. Take action today to support federal student loan debt relief!