If you’ve decided to go back to school to become a Medical Assistant, you’re probably excited to start a new chapter of your career. But how you will pay for your education is probably also on your mind. The good news is that if you attend an accredited program, you may qualify for financial aid.* Even better news, if you work in the right field, for the right employer, you may also qualify for some loan forgiveness. But pay attention to the details so you get the benefits you deserve.
Some Basics About Financial Aid
If you borrow federal student loans, you’re also committing to paying them back. But there may be some good news. First, you don’t have to start the repayment process until six months after you graduate, which gives you time to earn before you start paying them back. And once you make enough qualifying payments, you may be entitled to loan forgiveness for the remaining debt.
How Do You Qualify for Loan Forgiveness?
Depending on where you work after you graduate, you could be eligible for student loan forgiveness if you borrow a federal student loan. Through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, the U.S. Department of Education will forgive the remaining balance of your student loan debt after you’ve made 120 qualifying payments. What is a qualifying payment? You must meet the following criteria for your payment to qualify:
- Work full time
- Have a Direct Loan, which is a federal student loan. (Loans from private companies don’t qualify for PSLF.)
- Make payments under an income-based repayment plan
- Work for a qualifying employer
You must work for the federal, state, local, or tribal government or a nonprofit organization. If you join the Peace Corps or the AmeriCorps, you can use your Segal Education Award or your Peace Corps transition payment to make 12 qualifying payments under the PSLF program. If you change employers while you are in the PSLF program, your payments may not count. But if you become employed by another qualifying employer, you can pick up where you left off in the PSLF repayment process by continuing to certify your employment with your student loan servicer.
What Rules Do I Have to Follow?
In addition to working for a qualified employer and making payments under an income-driven repayment plan, there are a few others rules you’ll have to follow to remain eligible for the PSLF program:
- You must submit all payments in full.
- All payments must be submitted no later than 15 days after the due date.
- You can only make payments during the requirement periods, so any voluntary payments made while you are still in school or during the six-month grace period would not count as qualifying payments.
- Any payments made while your loans are in deferment or forbearance would not count as qualifying payments.
How Do I Join the PSLF Program?
How can you start making qualifying payments toward loan forgiveness? You’ll need to submit the PSLF Application to the U.S. Department of Education through the StudentLoan.gov website. Along with this form, you’ll also need to submit an employment certification form that verifies that you work for a qualifying employer. It’s recommended that you submit employer certification annually so the amount of qualifying payments you’ve made can be updated in regular intervals.
Interested in learning more about how to attain—and pay for—Medical Assistant training? At Charter College in Alaska, California, New Mexico, Montana and Washington, we offer a Certificate in Medical Assistant that can you provide you with the administrative and technical skills needed to succeed in the field. As an accredited college, we can help you access many options to help you pay for college including student loans, grants, and scholarships. Fill out the form to learn more.
*Student loan assistance should be free! You should never pay for help with your student loans.