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  • PSLF "full time" definition.

    Hopefully this question wasn't already answered (did a search and couldn't find anything). I wanted to address a question I'm commonly getting in regards to how the government defines "Full Time" in terms of PSLF.

    On the government website, to qualify for PSLF, it says the following…

    For PSLF, you are generally considered to work full-time if you meet your employer’s definition of full-time or work at least 30 hours per week, whichever is greater.

    The last part (underlined) is what is throwing some people off.  For instance, I just met with someone who is going to be working .8 FTE at their hospital.  In terms of actual hours worked, he said this would equate to about 40 or more (definitely more than 30).  Usually, 40 hours a week is sufficient for a full time in a general sense, but not sure about a legal sense in this case as his employer defines 1.0 FTE as full-time.  They said someone working 1.0 FTE typically actually works 50-60 hours.  It would appear that they wouldn’t qualify.  Is that accurate?

    I’ve also heard that the government really doesn’t have anyone actually checking this stuff and if the employer signs it, they just take that as face value.  Not sure what to think. We just want to be able to know for sure and not have any surprises down the road.

     

  • #2
    In reality, the government wont be looking at the details. However, even if they did I find it hard for any one to say 40h/wk is not full time regardless of the phrasing.

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    • #3
      I thought about this a lot when I was considering PSLF.  If I had chosen to work for a non-profit I was going to ask for the wording in my contract to indicate, "30 patient contact hours with 10 hours admin time" or something to that effect to indicate how many hours I was working even if I was technically "0.8 FTE". That way you could always have that to back you up if anyone did ask any questions.

      Looking at another government agency, the NHSC, they indicate:

      "Full-time service for Physicians, Dentists, Mental Health Providers, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants is defined as a minimum of 40 hours per week, of which 32 hours is spent providing direct patient care and up to eight hours in practice-related activities (e.g., precepting, chart review, meetings, Continuing Medical Education, etc.) Full-time service for Obstetricians/Gynecologists and Certified Nurse-Midwives is defined as a minimum of 21 hours per week providing direct patient care, with the remaining hours providing inpatient care to patients, and/or in practice-related activities. Other practice-related activities (e.g., precepting, chart review, meetings, Continuing Medical Education, etc.) cannot exceed eight hours per week. Time spent “on-call” cannot be counted toward the 40-hour week." http://www.nhsc.hrsa.gov/currentmembers/stateloanrepaymentprogram/faq/index.html#fulltime

      What I find interesting is how you define "patient hours".  If you choose to get paid less but have longer visits and therefore can chart while in the room that would count at "direct patient care".  I ultimately chose a a position that was not eligible for PSLF.

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      • #4




        In reality, the government wont be looking at the details. However, even if they did I find it hard for any one to say 40h/wk is not full time regardless of the phrasing.
        Click to expand...


        I agree. This is a good opportunity to remind folks about the Employee Certification Form. Would recommending filling that out annually during the PSLF process so that you have a documented up to date log of the months earned toward forgiveness and "proof" that you are getting credit for your time as you work towards forgiveness.

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        • #5
          Might have missed it, but I don't recall seeing this posted elsewhere on the forum. This seems as good a place as anywhere... in the November 2016 Newsletter, WCI posted a link to this article from The Brookings Institute about PSLF from a policy perspective:

           

          https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-coming-public-service-loan-forgiveness-bonanza/

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          • #6




            Might have missed it, but I don’t recall seeing this posted elsewhere on the forum. This seems as good a place as anywhere… in the November 2016 Newsletter, WCI posted a link to this article from The Brookings Institute about PSLF from a policy perspective:

             

            https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-coming-public-service-loan-forgiveness-bonanza/
            Click to expand...


            They don't seem to address the taxability of income-driven (non-PSLF) forgiveness.  They talk about how great it would be for people made so little so as not even to be able to cover their accruing interest to have their loan forgiven, but they don't mention the large tax bill they'd have for such forgiveness.

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            • #7
              Good point. I also thought the author held some punches. I was amazed he wrote the whole piece without singling out physicians (i.e. the surgeon who makes 500k/year, accumulated 300k+ in student loans, goes through 8 years of graduate medical education on IBR getting paid on a PGY scale and then is in the work force for two years before that debt is forgiven). I'm glad he didn't focus on docs which unfortunately seems to be where this conversation often leads... like this guy: http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-student-loan-program-proves-costly-1448042862

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              • #8




                Good point. I also thought the author held some punches. I was amazed he wrote the whole piece without singling out physicians (i.e. the surgeon who makes 500k/year, accumulated 300k+ in student loans, goes through 8 years of graduate medical education on IBR getting paid on a PGY scale and then is in the work force for two years before that debt is forgiven). I’m glad he didn’t focus on docs which unfortunately seems to be where this conversation often leads… like this guy: http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-student-loan-program-proves-costly-1448042862
                Click to expand...


                Yeah, that WSJ author was a real ******************.  Must have had a huge chip on his shoulder, imo.  We're not the enemy, the rigged financial system is.  And hey, if they make back their principal at least, then they didn't so much lose money, just didn't gouge as much...am I right?

                I mean, $200,000 at nearly 7% is freaking robbery for a job which is a public necessity...

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                • #9
                  A lot of employers consider 0.8 FTE and even 0.75 FTE as "full time." Folks who work these FTEs also tend to get full benefits, which may be the defining characteristic for some/most employers?

                  My employer defines work hours as patient contact hours. 0.8 FTE for a clinic job with my employer is 28.8 patient contact hours and thus is less than the required 30 hours despite the fact that a 0.8 FTE position works out to be 40 hours a week realistically with documentation, phone calls/results, etc. I know colleagues working 0.8 FTE who had their contracts amended to state 30 hours (not sure if they called it "patient contact hours" or what) just for PSLF consideration, and my employer was happy to oblige.

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