I found out about the IBR program and Public Service Forgiveness about a year and a half ago ... The process was very streamlined. The Dept. of Education was very helpful. I am very thankful for these financial programs from our great country.
I also am using IBR. My monthly payment dropped to about 1/3 of what it was before I started using it.
Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary is not accredited, so we were not able to use any Federal monies for my husband's education. Thankfully, he graduated in 2000 and due to the support of grants and scholarships (one through UPS & the Siebert Lutheran Foundation)--he graduated from college (MLC) and seminary (WLC) debt free. We currently use the IBR because of educational debt he incurred when getting his MS in Mental Health Counseling. The IBR is a great program and I'm surprised more people aren't using it. Non-ministry related--but if anyone has a family member or friend who is pursuing a career in social work, mental health, medicine, or pharmacy--check out the National Health Service Corps (http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/) for loan forgiveness options. :)
My monthly payment is $0 with IBR. There are some definite benefits to being poor in this country.
How long will it last?
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