'I Don't Want to Retire with Student Loans'
Food and Drug Administration
What do you do?
Well, I'm a management analyst with the federal government, the Food and Drug Administration I've worked closely with a contractor, federal government contractor, and procuring IT equipment and all that other stuff.
How did you first find out about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, and what made you decide to pursue it?
Well, I actually received emails every morning ... I read that article about student loan forgiveness. And I've been monitoring President Biden's decision about actually forgiving some of some student loans. So when you all posted ... on your site, I immediately jumped on it. Because that's something I've been working on. In fact, the letter that I sent to you all I have had. I've had a draft for a while trying to find an address at the Department of Education to send it to them.
Do you think the program and help helps attract people to public service?
Yes, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, as you might know, is for persons working [for the] state government, local government and federal government, and it requires you to consent to pay 10 consecutive years of student loans, and the balance whatever you have left will be forgiven after that. Ten years of consecutive payments.
How did the October streamlining announcement affect your relationship with the program?
Yes, I have not had any problems with the student loan forgiveness program. In fact, I joined that program so that I can help get rid of my student loans. To see my personal situation, I'll be 69 next week, June 15. I would love to retire. But I have over $100,000 worth of student loans remaining balance and it just keeps going up with the interest. I could just never get rid of that loan.
Oh, well, I went to undergraduate school [at] Catholic University, very expensive school. I regret it. I'm saying that to you. Now, because of that I can't get rid of those student loans. And then I decided to go to graduate school. And I did this later in my life after raising my children. That's why I went into the military to go to college. But I found out while being in the military, I was a soldier first, and it was very difficult, maybe good for dependents, but active duty people. It's really difficult. And my first duty assignment was in Germany in a very tactical unit during the Cold War. And it's just there's just no room for education. So I went back to school after raising my children and ending my military career. And of course, I did not go into the military under the old GI Bill. I went in 1981 through '87. That was the new GI bill where every dollar I contributed, say, the military would match that dollar to pay for me but I didn't have the time. I was in a very demanding position working for the general and ...I had a certain type of us security clearance, which meant I had to be there. And that was my job. It just didn't work out on active duty.
With your current loans, are you able to have any of the loans forgiven? If so, how much?
Well, none of my loan amount has been forgiven. I paid something like $747 per month before the COVID. And [with] the loan forgiveness there's a moratorium on the payments. Yeah. So with that 740-something and help from my, my agency, for the last three or four years, I've been able to pay it down. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So 100,000. It's down to 100,000. But remember, once this, the moratorium is lifted on the payments, then the interest is gonna start compounding again. I would like to retire. Now. I don't want to retire with student loans. And my biggest issue is that I have over 30 years. But I came out for a couple of years in the federal government and privately sent my son to the math school trying to educate my kids. So I went private, so I lost some years. I'm 69. There's nothing further I could do with my degree. I had a director who just recently retired in October. Every year, she was giving me $10,000 paid towards my loan as a retention bonus, because I have reached the ceiling of my position. And I think because of age, I'm not being promoted. That's a different story. I know that to be true. I've gone on several details. I recently went on a detail back here in March. And it was supposed to be 120 days with the promotion and high hopes that I would become permanent. But they ended it after about less than 30 days, except that I did thorough work, but they needed me to move faster. And when I revealed to them that I had a hearing impairment, I think that's what happened, ah and, and the disability. So I'm at a point where I just need to retire. It would not benefit me if I got a promotion now. Because I've known I've seen younger people in my office, two people get promoted over me, one was brought in to assist me so that I could do more contract work. But in fact, she's been given a position, and she's been promoted. So that clearly tells me that it's time for me to move on. It's hard to do. I've been a federal servant since 1978.
Is there anything else that we haven't covered that you think we should know?
Yes, I would like the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to consider people who are 60-plus years old, who have 20-plus years or maybe 15-plus years of federal service, which shows that we gave our life and our time as public servants to the federal government. And it's in my particular case, I'm sure that other people like me, we can't move forward. We're at an age now we're being stopped. But the student loans continue. So if the government in my case wants me to go, then help bail me out of my student loans. Yeah, I accomplished my studies while employed at the FDA, hoping it would propel my career but it did not.