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- Before the pandemic, Kevin Nadal paid $1,000 a month in federal student loans.
- He applied for the PSLF and received $125,000 in student loans.
- Now, free from large monthly payments, Nadal will redirect his monthly payments towards building his children’s future.
Kevin Nadal went into a six-figure student loan debt to get his Ph.D. from Columbia University in the early 2000s. “I made this choice when I was 24 because I knew that going into a doctoral program with the majority of faculty in color focused on issues of racial equality through the lens of psychology—it was very rare. But it was the biggest financial risk” , Adel told Insider.
Today, the 44-year-old is a distinguished professor with a successful 12-year career at the City University of New York. His investment has paid off professionally, but Nadal has felt the pressure of years into giving up a percentage of his salary for student loans every month.
According to records seen by Insider, Nadal owed $893 a month on his student loan bill, but rounded it up to pay $1,000 a month. He says, “At some point, I kind of got used to it. It became an accepted part of my life.”
Nadal learned about PSLF early on, but was told he was working on the wrong payment plan
After his second year of teaching at City University of New York, Nadal found out about Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. PSLF waives student loans to public school teachers and other nonprofit workers after 120 “qualifying payments” (about 10 years of consistent payments).
“I got really lucky. I didn’t intentionally seek a position at a nonprofit. When I heard about PSLF, I was like, ‘Great, I’ll do it.'” “
Nadal says he put his loans into forbearance in the first few years after school, then just started paying the bottom line.
In his fifth year of making payments, Nadal contacted the student loan service to make sure he was on the right track. Like many others who have applied for PSLFHe was told he was on the wrong payment plan. None of the payments he’s been making over the past five years count toward the 120 eligible payments needed to cancel his loans.
He switched a qualifying plan afterwards. But he says, “I’ve been devastated, angry, frustrated, and really desperate. As a person of color, as an eccentric person, you never expect systems to work for you.”
After learning of the PSLF temporary waiver, Nadal had no hope
Nadal has been making minimal payments on student loans for years, although he still doesn’t believe the PSLF will actually work for him. In early 2022, he learned about it PSLF Temporary Waiver Which allows more payments to count towards the 120 payments eligible for Student Loan Forgiveness.
Typically, full, timely payments made under an eligible income-based payment plan count toward the 120 eligible payments. under Waiverhowever, expiring on October 31, the following payments are now counted:
- Patients for 12 consecutive months or more, or 36 non-consecutive endurance periods
- Late payments and partial payments
- Payments from ineligible payment plans
- The months he spent on procrastination
Nadal did not feel hopeful or optimistic about the waiver, although he knew he would likely qualify. His husband, Calio Nadal, took care of filling out the papers. “He had already spoken to my maid and had verbal assurance from people that this would work. And even then, I was like, ‘I’m going to believe it when I see him.'” “
Soon, Nadal received emails stating that his request was being processed. “Then I got a message saying, ‘Your application has been accepted.’ And I’m still not celebrating. Until I see all the zeros in my account, I’ll believe it.” Finally, weeks later, his student loan account showed a zero balance and received a letter saying that $124,572 had been forgiven. of his student loans entirely.
Nadal Share a screenshot of his zero student loan credit with his 13,000 followers on Instagram. “I felt so relieved, as if a heavy weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was finally able to breathe. I won’t think about this debt forever,” he says.
Nadal will redirect his monthly payments to invest in his children’s future
During a payment pause due to the pandemic, Nadal got a taste of what it would be like to be forgiven for student loans. “I thought, ‘Where does all this money come from?'” Oh, I don’t subtract $1,000 from my salary every month. I don’t pay off my student loans. ” I felt that.”
Now that he’s freed up $1,000 from his monthly budget, Nadal plans rescue And the investment for his two children. He says, “Before, it was a different feeling because I just had to pay off my student loans, and I couldn’t save money. Now I’m planning for my children’s future, and thinking about ways we can invest and create more financial stability and generational wealth for them that I didn’t really have” .