My Favorite Benefit: Savi
Student loans are more than a headache. For many social workers, they can be financial burdens that impact years of their lives. That’s because many roles within the profession require advanced degrees, leading social work students to borrow higher amounts of money than the average student. Upon graduation they land in jobs with salaries that do not measure up with the amount they spent to earn the degree, making loan repayment very difficult.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program introduced in 2007 was meant to address this problem by allowing anyone employed by a state, local, federal or tribal government agency or 501c3 nonprofit organization to have loan balances forgiven. However, due to technicalities—only certain loan types and repayment plans qualified—the program hasn’t helped as many people as it could.
Then, last October, the government issued a limited waiver that grants borrowers retroactive eligibility into the program—eliminating those technicalities—but only for one year. The waiver expires October 31, 2022.
Easing the Burden
NASW offers members an essential benefit that can help address this burden: Savi. This technology platform and service helps borrowers navigate the loan repayment process and access student debt forgiveness.
Through Savi, NASW members can establish a free account to see their best options for loan repayment and determine their eligibility for the PSLF program. Because NASW has a partnership with Savi, members can also opt for a reduced rate of just $30 per year on Savi’s premium service.
“To determine eligibility for loan forgiveness, borrowers have to certify their employment by signing a document and then collecting signatures on those documents from their current and past qualifying HR departments,” explained Lindsay Clark, director of external affairs at Savi. “This can be like a full-time job for some borrowers, so our premium service manages all of that and submits the forms on your behalf and monitors the results.”
Student loan payments, which have been paused since March 2020, are set to resume in September 2022.
“Within PSLF, borrowers who qualify need 120 credits for forgiveness,” said Clark. “They are awarded credit for one payment per month; however, these 30 months when payments have been paused count as 30 credits without payments having been made.”
Approximately 2,000 NASW members have already taken advantage of the Savi benefit.
“To date, we’ve managed $55 million in debt, and we project about $25 million of that to be forgiven,” said Katie Mogul, a member of Savi’s partnership team who works directly with NASW’s benefits team.
“On average, we’ve seen about $58,000 in debt forgiveness per member,” she added.
Clark and Mogul say even if you’ve been rejected from the PSLF program before because of your loan type or repayment plan, you should definitely apply again right away, before the October 31, 2022 deadline.
“The waiver removes those technicalities, but they will go back into effect after the deadline, so it’s really important that everyone who wants to explore their eligibility do it now,” Clark said.
Beyond participation in PSLF, Savi helps borrowers understand all their options for loan repayment so that they can make the most informed decisions for paying down their student debt the way they want to, such as the method that works most quickly or with the lowest monthly payments.
To learn more about this NASW member benefit, visit our student loan information page or https://nasw.bysavi.com/.