• Friday, May 13, 2011RSS Feed

    Senate Introduces Student Loan Relief Legislation for PTs

    Yesterday, Sens Jon Tester (D-MT) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced legislation that would authorize PTs to participate in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program, which provides up to $30,000 in loan forgiveness per year for 2 years of service in an underserved area.

    Companion legislation to the Physical Therapist Student Loan Repayment Eligibility Act (S 975) was introduced by the House (HR 1426) last month. Both bills have been referred to health committees for debate. APTA will update members via News Now on congressional action taken on S 975 and HR 1426.       


    Comments

    This is great! Our education is very expensive and our services are very valuable to the patients, especially with the increasing aging population. I am glad the cost of our education is finally being acknowledged. Thank you APTA for your support!
    Posted by Emily Fennell on 5/13/2011 2:27 PM
    I fully support any legislation to help with student loan debt for PTs in underserved areas. I live in rural ND and my salary is not that of a larger city. Thank you to Sens Tester and Wicker.
    Posted by Jennifer Jahner on 5/13/2011 2:50 PM
    This is a start but most PT student loans are private and thus do not qualify for this.
    Posted by John on 5/13/2011 2:56 PM
    This legislation is the first step toward the slippery slope of mandatory Government service and the loss of autonomy that PTs have worked for over (at least) the past 35 years, since I entered the profession. If PTs think that the cost of our education is too high and that new grads need "loan forgiveness" then maybe WE, as a profession, ought to provide our own loan plans through either the APTA or Angel Investors. Let's not give the Government any more control over where and how we practice our craft than we must. Don't forget, whoever holds the purse controls the activity.
    Posted by K. Daly-McEver on 5/13/2011 3:36 PM
    As a student looking forward to completing my DPT next year I will have accrued approximately $30,000 in student loans. I am very inspired to participate in this program. Excellent work!
    Posted by Vanessa Farrer on 5/13/2011 3:52 PM
    Great job y'all! Let's get this bill passed!
    Posted by Paul gallant on 5/13/2011 4:11 PM
    When will take into effect?
    Posted by Mario on 5/13/2011 4:22 PM
    It is great that there are incentives for the underserved areas. The loan repayment program also is in effect for government positions such as working for Veterans Affairs (VA). In the case of the VA, the whole package of salary, retirement benefits and very generous loan forgiveness, make it impossible for a small business employer such as myself to compete for these same staff. On top of that, it's my federal taxes and our government hapy to run a deficit that are funding this loan forgiveness! I guess if I were allowed to run my businees at an annual loss, then I could match the governments benefits and be an employer of choice.
    Posted by Sean Daly on 5/13/2011 4:42 PM
    This would be amazing for our profession and much needed, might I add! Is there any specifics on what would qualify as an underserved area?
    Posted by Jason Gardner on 5/13/2011 4:58 PM
    I vote for S 975 and HR 1426
    Posted by Janet K Bruner on 5/13/2011 5:03 PM
    I vote in favor of S 975 and HR 1426
    Posted by Terry Bruner on 5/13/2011 5:05 PM
    I vote in favor of S975 and HR 1426
    Posted by Travis Bruner on 5/13/2011 5:07 PM
    As a graduating DPT student, I know firsthand about the effects of student loan debt. Unfortunately, many students are taking positions immediately out of school that result in loss of skills and mentors because of high demand for loan repayment. Please take the two minutes that it will require to send the letter to your representative to support this bill. This will dramatically improve PT placement in rural areas as well as quality of healthcare delivery.
    Posted by Courtney Britt on 5/13/2011 6:26 PM
    How are they defining "underserved"?
    Posted by Marc Foster on 5/13/2011 6:32 PM
    This would be a great motivation for recent and potential PT candidates to consider working in an under priviledged community in order to help lessen their financial debt. I am in the class of 2002 and still have 100k student loan. If this program would have been in existence i would have considered working in an underpriviledged community. In any case this bill will only help increase those that desire to pursue a higher education and have some assistance with paying off their loans. I do wonder why this has taken so long....physical therapists have to go through just as if not even more rigoruus didactic and clinical training as other professionals such as nursing but dont qualify for health service loan repayment plan? I hope this bill goes through to give current and future PTs an opportunity and an option to work in underpriviledged communities and also to pay off their loans sooner! Thank you to the 2 senators that make this possible.
    Posted by Sue J Lin on 5/13/2011 6:42 PM
    This is a great boost for our profession. Our education is very expensive and serving the underserved areas is vitally important. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has been introduced. It has been in both houses and has never makes it past the health sub-committee. If we really want this to pass then more pressure needs to be put on our law makers from each state. Not until the general public and more PT's make this a bigger issue will anything change.
    Posted by Cole Seppie on 5/13/2011 10:56 PM
    I just graduated last month. If this bill went through would I be able to participate in it too or is it strictly for people that are currently enrolled in school??? This is an awesome idea and we have to push hard to get this approved. If these other health professionals get this then we should have every right to also. Our loans are just as high as dentistry school yet we don't get close to their income.
    Posted by Dustin on 5/13/2011 10:57 PM
    I live in rural Oklahoma and agree that this bill is a much needed incentive for PTs to work in underserved areas. I am a PTA and the managing director of a therapy company that contracts with home health agencies. I decided to go to school for my DPT last year because of the lack of PTs to do my home health evals. Many agencies were turning patients away, not because there was not somebody willing and able to provide treatments - but because there was no therapist available for the evals and supervision requirements. Hopefully this will improve access to rural and homebound clients who are now doing without needed services!
    Posted by Nora Malone on 5/14/2011 7:03 AM
    In response to Sean Daly's comments on VA loan forgiveness. FYI I took a job at the VA with a loss of 12,000.00 annual income, NO CEU reimbursement, and 4 hours of annual leave a pay day. Incidentally, the job description has to dictate that the PT position is classified as hard to retain before reimbursemrnt is considered. Not all PT's get student loan forgiveness and when there is a position that qualifies it can be as little as 2,000.00.
    Posted by Sherry Roberts on 5/14/2011 11:11 AM
    I Agree with this new legislation. My education was very expensive and paying them off will take me a lifetime. This would help me out quite a bit while I serve an underserved area
    Posted by Sentia Weche on 5/14/2011 11:36 AM
    i'm really glad with the new legislation.thank to those who have done lots of homework for that.Since i'm a foreign trained physiotherapist and currently i'm working in nepal, can i be eligible to apply for that loan???i'll be glad if you clear my doubt...
    Posted by Raju Pandey on 5/15/2011 5:09 AM
    I will graduate with my DPT in 2012 and I am super excited about this bill. What some of my fellow peers don't realize is how hard it is to live under the weight of debt. Living with such debt just makes you one step away from being in a financial bind. Lets not forget that on top of our student debt, many of us will be planning on purchasing a house, buying a car, or potentially raising a family. All of these responsibilities also come with a great deal of financial burden. I say that if the government wants to help facilitate physical therapists working in underprivileged communities it is only going to help patients who need our services access them more readily. We must never forget that in the end it is all about our patients and their needs, but a 60,000 perk is not all that bad either!
    Posted by Brian Murphy on 5/15/2011 10:02 AM
    I think this is a great step to recognition of the imbalance between the cost of our schooling and what we are paid. It will also be a push to get PTs where they are needed. However, let's not forget this is for rural -APPROVED- clinics. NHSC decides what clinics in rural areas qualify. I live and work in an area that could be called nothing other than rural, however no PT clinics here qualify for the forgiveness. Though there is much excitement over this legislation, it will truly help only a very small population of PTs. We need to look harder at what we are charging for education vs. what we charge for our services and are paid as professionals. I pay nearly 40% of my monthly income to loans, and I will for many years to come...
    Posted by Tina on 5/15/2011 11:00 PM
    This is already an established program that has been used for years by physicians, dentist, nurses, social workers, etc. If folks are looking for more information, follow the link in teh initial posting. @ K. Daly-McEver: The government does not control the practice of other allied health professions that benefit from this legislation. Why would PTs be any different? More importantly, this legislation would really do a lot to say that we are a valued profession. @ Mario: Since these bills are only in committees currently, there is not even a guarantee that they will be voted on. So contact your representatives and senators to urge them to support the bill. And hope they aren't Tea Party/GOP affiliates as this will make for larger government and not decrease the national debt.
    Posted by Lloyd on 5/16/2011 3:12 PM
    I have been up in arms with this subject for the past 6 years and only feel that it is right that all student loan holders afford some relief in some way. It is fair and it helps the student address the thousands of dollars that they owe. I have attempted to work with my loan holder, Citibank, and found out that I deal with people in other countries who don't what they are doing when offering advise; they did not follow protocol for sending and receiving paperwork and they often were not on the same page with the right info. It was then that I went to the bank itself here in the good ole USA and spoke with a rep who was not as helpful. The fact of this whole fiasco is to work with the student and not put them in a lose, lose situation that in the end, finds the student in default. We all know that this is a plan that targeted students inability to repay loans at the rate that businesses set them at. Congress is to blame as well as they empowered lenders to go after assets, taxes, tax lein and whatever else.
    Posted by Robert L. on 5/20/2011 1:23 PM
    Great Job APTA!!!!!
    Posted by Jamal Randall on 5/21/2011 10:08 AM
    There is already a loan forgiveness program in place for those who work for government or non-profit for 10 years through the Direct Loans student loan department. The Income Based payment plan offers an income based payment plan with forgiveness of all remaining debt at the end of 10 years of service. Student loan debt is a huge problem and is crippling our talented new grads by saddling them with monthly debt in excess of what a house payment might be. But there is more help out there than you might know about. Who should be telling them? Their universities should do it as they are the ones who have priced college coursework through the roof. Sallie Mae won't help those repaying student loans move away from their loan management programs.
    Posted by Rickie Long on 5/23/2011 6:22 PM
    I have just started looking into this and it appears that the bill did not pass? Does anyone know how to lobby for PTs to be included in this program? This is exactly the kind of thing I would like to get into and to couple it with loan forgiveness would be amazing. Thank you.
    Posted by Melana Tysowsky -> BIQcBK on 3/1/2013 6:48 PM
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