Occupational Therapist Student Loan Forgiveness Options | Student Loan Planner


We’ve been helping a lot of
occupational therapists lately with their student loan debt to figure out exactly what to do when you owe more than a lot of people’s mortgage. Our typical occupational therapist client has about 180,000 of student loan debt, which when you think about
the salaries of an OT maybe being in that 60, 70, $80,000 range, that’s really, really challenging to pay something like that back. What we have typically seen
with occupational therapists is it really spans the gamut. You’ll have people that are
graduating with Master’s Degrees that might only have
$100,000 of student loan debt to people that have their OTD who are leaving with 150,000 or more, and you know, what we’ve
seen with the doctorate is it doesn’t necessarily
enhance income potential a ton to justify the increased tuition. Now contrast occupational therapists, or physical therapists in
the physical therapy world, getting your doctorate is pretty much requirement now to practice at all. In occupational therapy I think that we’re moving towards that direction. Certainly having a doctorate is going to be the preference at some point soon. The concern is I think that
that’s primarily the benefit, honestly, the universities and colleges rather than the actual student. Because if you can talk
about earning money sooner and also not coming out with an additional 30 to $50,000 of student
loan debt, maybe more, then that would work out
really well economically to have less debt for probably
similar amounts of earnings. I’m not saying that doctorates
aren’t better trained. That’s not at all what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that
the extra education is probably not worth the additional cost. Now let’s say, let’s throw
our hands up and say, well you know what, I already have occupational
therapy student loans from a doctorate program or from
some other Master’s Program. And I am struggling to figure
out how to pay it back. Luckily that’s what we’re experts
in at Student Loan Planner is navigating student loan
debt in the six figures, is what our average
client comes to us with. If you’re an occupational therapist, there’s a few things that you could do. You could, if you have a low loan balance relative to your income,
refinance with a private lender, pay it back with a lower interest rate and get outta debt sooner. We love that path for people
that it makes sense for. The problem is is fewer and
fewer occupational therapists are in that boat every year
as tuition continues to rise faster than rhe rate of income growth. Now for occupational therapists who owe maybe over 1.5 times their income in debt, so for example, the occupational
therapist with 60 grand who’s got 180 grand in student
loan debt, what do ya do? Well, the first step is to get
onto a forgiveness strategy where you’re paying maybe 10%
of your discretionary income, and do that for 20 to 25 years. At the end of that period
you’ll have a big tax bomb that you’ll have to
pay because forgiveness in the private sector is taxable income compared to the not-for-profit sector where public service loan
forgiveness wipes it away tax free after just 10 years of payments. So if you were going
to do the PSLF program you are fine, you’re in good shape, just make sure you certify
your credit every year, pay on an income-based option as little as you can and you’ll be okay, but many occupational
therapists are working in these private sector employers and they’re not qualifying
for PSLF in a lot of cases. Maybe you’re not working full time, maybe you are working at
a non qualifying employer, and there’s a lot of reasons. If that’s the case, you
just wanna make sure you pay as little as possible, which the occupational therapists love to throw an additional couple hundred dollars a
month in their student loans, that’s typically a mistake, you wanna pay as little as you can and put a lot of money
away and into investments, an investment account and
into retirement as well. If you do that then the
present value costs, in other words the
costs in today’s dollars in your occupational
therapy student loans, could be drastically lower
than what you would be paying if you tried to full frontal
attack this directly. That’s not necessarily what
you wanna do if you have more than two times your
income in student loan debt from occupational therapy school. If you owe less than that
it’s really kind of a toss up in a lot of cases. If you only owe one times or less, refinancing’s often a good path. So if you have a lot of
occupational therapy student loans we would love to help here
at Student Loan Planner. Just visit our article or
click on the contact us button in the bottom right-hand corner, reach out to us and
let us know your story, or if you’re all ready to book a call, just click on that hire us page read whether or not it’s for you and then just book a consult
with one of our consultants. We would love to make a
low-cost, flat-fee plan that’s gonna be the best plan
that you’re gonna get anywhere on how to get out of student debt from your occupational therapy program. Thanks for watching an let us know if you have questions in the comments.

Paul Whisler

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