Federal Health Professions Student Loan Program
Guide for Student Borrowers
If you received an HPSL loan while attending one of SUNY's state-operated campuses, please review the following information carefully. This guide has been designed to inform you of your privileges and obligations under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Professions Student Loan Program (also referred to as "HPSL"). Full-time students eligible for HPSL loans are those studying to become doctors of dentistry, podiatric medicine, optometry, and veterinary medicine, as well as those pursuing a bachelor or doctor of science degree in pharmacy. Students studying to become doctors of allopathic medicine after July 1, 1993 are eligible to receive Primary Care Loans, which are similar to HPSLs, but require recipients to practice in primary care until the loan is paid in full. (There is a separate student borrower's guide available to Primary Care Loan recipients).
Q: What is the SUNY Student Loan Service Center?
SUNY Student Loan Service Center
5 University Place
Rensselaer, New York 12144-3440
Phone: (518) 525-2626
Fax: (518) 525-2600
The records of the SUNY Student Loan Service Center are assigned loan account numbers. Each borrower is assigned a unique 9 digit student identification number which begins with the numbers 898. It is extremely important to include your loan account number on all payments and correspondence to the SUNY Student Loan Service Center. Unidentified items may result in delayed responses to your inquiries and/or misapplication of payments.
Q: What are the Exit Interview and Repayment Agreement?
All borrowers are required to complete an Exit Interview Questionnaire and Repayment Agreement prior to leaving the campus they attend in order to ensure that they are fully aware of their rights and responsibilities under the HPSL program. Failure to complete the HPSL exit interview process can result in an administrative hold being placed on your diploma, transcripts and registration status.
Q: How can I change my address?
You are required under the terms of the loan agreement to keep the SUNY Student Loan Service Center informed of any change in your name or address. Leaving a forwarding address notice with the Postal Service is not considered official notification of a change in address. Failure to properly notify the SUNY Student Loan Service Center may negatively impact your credit rating if we are unable to locate you and service your account.
Q: When does repayment begin?
Repayment is required to begin at the end of your initial grace period, which is determined by the regulations in effect at the time the loan was granted. Currently, the grace period for Health Professions Student Loans is twelve months following completion or termination of your full-time student status. The grace period immediately follows completion or termination of full-time student status and cannot be postponed to follow deferments for which you may be eligible. For example, you are eligible for a deferment while you are in advanced professional residency training. You must use your one-year grace period for the first year of residency and apply for deferments for each of the remaining years of residency. A discussion of the circumstances in which repayment may be deferred can be found in a later section, entitled "Deferment Benefits." Once your loan account information is established at the SUNY Student Loan Service Center, you will be sent an acknowledgment statement, confirming information that the campus has submitted. You will also receive periodic reminders during the grace period as to when repayment will begin. The SUNY Student Loan Service Center will send a billing statement before the first scheduled payment is due.
Q: What is the length of repayment?
Health Professions Student Loans have a 10-year repayment period, which may be extended up to a maximum of 25 years in extenuating circumstances. You must contact the SUNY Student Loan Service Center to renegotiate a repayment period beyond 10 years. Periods of authorized deferment are not counted as part of the 10-year repayment period. The length of repayment is determined by the total amount borrowed, the interest rate, and the repayment amount. A $40 minimum monthly payment may be required, which may shorten the repayment period to less than 10 years.
Q: Whom do I repay?
Q: How do I accelerate payments?
If you wish to accelerate repayment of your loan (repay ahead of schedule), you may do so by making payments larger than the amount required. Any additional amount remitted on a current account will be applied toward principal. Accelerating repayment shortens the repayment term and reduces the total interest that you will be required to pay over the life of the loan.
Q: Can I make advanced payments?
Q: What are the consequences of delinquency and default?
Allowing your account to become delinquent can seriously affect your personal credit rating. Your campus must withhold services to you if you become a defaulted borrower. Should you default, requests for transcripts will not be honored. Should you attempt to register at a SUNY state-operated campus, your registration will be blocked.
If repayment is not made according to the terms of the contract, regulations also allow for the referral of delinquent accounts to collection agencies and to an attorney for litigation. You will be held responsible for all of the resulting penalty, collection, and litigation costs as provided in the promissory note. Also, under NYS Tax Law, the SUNY Student Loan Service Center is entitled to intercept NYS income tax refunds of defaulted borrowers.
Q: How is bankruptcy handled?
Pursuant to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, education loans, such as Health Professions Loans, are nondischargeable in bankruptcy under petitions filed after October 7, 1998.
Q: What are my deferment benefits?
If you are in a deferrable activity, payments on the loan will be deferred and interest will not accrue. You must apply for a deferment through the SLSC. Deferment forms are available on the SUNY Student Loan Service Center's Website on our borrowers page.
In accordance with Federal law governing your note, you may apply for deferment of repayment during a period in which you are:
- enrolled in a program of advanced professional training ("APT") (unlimited) (See important note below regarding this deferment);
- participating in a training fellowship program, training programs and related educational activities for graduates of health professions schools (limited to 2 years)(See important note below regarding this deferment);
- enrolled in the same or a different health professions school within 12 months of terminating your health professions studies (See important note below regarding this deferment);
- taking a leave of absence from your health professions studies to pursue a related educational activity (limited to 2 years) (See important note below regarding this deferment);
- performing active duty as a member of a uniformed service (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Corps, or the U.S. Public Health Service Commission Corps) (limited to 3 years); or
- a Peace Corps volunteer (limited to 3 years);
Advanced Professional Training: Borrowers qualify for deferment on the basis of advanced professional training for the duration of that training if it is: 1) intended to further the borrower's knowledge and skills in the health professions discipline for which the loan was received; 2) a prerequisite for professional practice; and 3) an internship or residency program or other full-time training beyond the first professional degree.
Fellowship Training Deferment: The fellowship training must be a full-time activity in research, research training or health care policy and must be a formally established fellowship program which was not created solely for the borrower. In addition, a borrower must enter into the fellowship either prior to the end of Advanced Professional Training or not later than 12 months after completing participation in that Advanced Professional Training.
Enrolled in a Health Professions School: If you terminate your health professions studies before graduating, you will receive a 12-month grace period before you must begin repayment. However, if you return to the same or different health professions school within that 12-month period, your repayment will be deferred and you will be entitled to an additional 12-month grace period after graduating or otherwise terminating your studies. Similarly, if you graduate and enroll in a different health professions program at the same or another school, you will be entitled to an additional 12-month grace period after completing or terminating studies in the second program.
Leave of Absence to Pursue Related Educational Activity: The related educational activity must be part of a joint-degree program or a formal program of joint study that is offered in conjunction with the health professions program for which the borrower is preparing and it must enhance the borrower's knowledge and skills in the health profession for which the borrower is preparing as determined by the loan-granting campus. You must request this deferment at least 60 days before beginning the related educational activity. Furthermore, if you do not return to the loan-granting campus, your grace period will be applied retroactively to the beginning of the leave of absence when you terminated your studies. The repayment will begin after that retroactive grace period has expired.