Live your passion and relieve your student loans!
Do you desire to follow your heart but fear you have to sell your soul to Corporate America so you can pay off your college loans?
Would you rather live a life aligned with your values AND free yourself from the shackles of student debt?
Windward offers a sanctuary for passionate, environmentally conscious and community-minded people who want to make the world a better place. A 501(c)3 nonprofit and intentional community, Windward provides a holistic platform for individuals to follow their bliss while developing a personal niche and right livelihood in collaboration with the land and like-minded people.
Did you know that if you work for a nonprofit organization your federal education loans can be forgiven?
How? It's called the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Or PSLF.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) encourages college graduates to pursue their passion by working for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that they believe in. If one enrolls in PSLF and meets the specifications (outlined below), any remaining debt will be forgiven after a minimum of 10 years. Here are some key details about PSLF:
- For your debt to be forgiven through PSLF, you will need to make 120 payments toward repaying your student loans while enrolled in the program. This equates to a minimum of 10 years of repayment.
- You must be employed full-time (30 hours/week) by an eligible organization in order to forgive your loans with PSLF.
- Several repayment plans are eligible for PSLF, including income-driven repayment plans, in which your monthly payments are based on your income. You can use the online Repayment Estimator provided by the Dept. of Education to see what the amount of your repayments might be like.
- Your repayments do not need to be made consecutively, meaning you can sustain gaps between months of repayment and maintain enrollment in PSLF.
- You don’t have to work for the same nonprofit organization for the full 10 years (or 120 loan payments); you can commit to the nonprofit of your choosing for any length of time.
How is this different from repaying loans through an income-based plan?
Income-based repayment plans forgive your debt after a minimum of 20 years, whereas PSLF forgives your debt after a minimum of 10 years.
For more details about PSLF:
- See the fact sheet for the various eligible loan types for the PSLF plan.
- Check out the employment certification form.
- Learn more on the PSLF website.
- Another good overview of types of student loans from Money Geek.
Is Windward an eligible “employer” for PSLF?
Yes. The Windward Education and Research Center is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization which meets the eligibility requirement for PSLF.
Can I work at Windward and satisfy requirements for Public Service Loan Forgiveness?
We encourage members of the community to utilize the umbrella nonprofit organization to develop their own program that is compatible with the Center’s mission of research and education and aligns with their personal skills and interests.
PSLF is a relatively new option and Windward has not yet had anyone on this track. However, we are very willing to work with someone who is motivated to see if this plan can fit for them within the Windward context.
The Windward Center functions more like a co-operative than a traditional nonprofit or business.
We encourage members of the community to utilize the umbrella nonprofit organization, along with the land and resources that we collectively steward, to develop their own program that is compatible with the Center’s mission of research and education and aligns with their personal skills and interests.
In other words, Windward offers the opportunity for you to develop your own service program that brings in the funding necessary for you to be a “full-time employee” while serving as your own boss, pursuing your personal passion within the broader Windward mission, and collaborating with other community members.
So, what kind of service programs could I develop at Windward?
- Educational & outreach programs for youth and adults (examples include teaching about permaculture, outdoor ed, primitive skills, homesteading, natural building, or camps focused on the arts in nature, team-building, leadership, and personal development)
- Events that help people engage and connect to each other and the Earth (examples include music and performance arts events, community convergences, celebrations and festivals, etc.)
- Research into appropriate technology & renewable energy such as Biomass2Methanol.
some examples include:
What are some advantages to developing a program at Windward?
- 501(c)(3) nonprofit status;
- 30+ years of experience operating a cooperative nonprofit;
- low administrative overhead costs;
- 120 acre land base, including permaculture gardens & a stewardship forest;
- a forested 40-acre campground for events and camps;
- a plethora of existing renewable energy, appropriate technology, & permaculture projects;
- metal & wood-working workshops.
What are some other advantages of living at Windward?
- supportive community context;
- low costs of living;
- an intimate network of individuals motivated to live worthwhile lives;
- 120 acres of land and integrated animals systems to care for and be nourished by;
- open space to breathe fresh air, stargaze, & enjoy sunrises/sets;
- established infrastructure that provides shelter, warmth, and opportunity;
- access tools, equipment, and workshop space.
Wow, this sounds amazing! How do I get involved?
We’d love to talk to you more and see whether Windward is a good fit for you, and whether it may work into your and our long-term goals, plans, and values. Before you email us, be sure you take a look at the website and see if you feel compelled to reach out.
We take apprentices for 3-month stretches from March through November, which is the ideal way for you to see whether Windward is a place you would want to live and work for a longer period in order to forgive your debt and live a life that feels right.