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Public Service Loan Forgiveness is Real! Federal Loans Are Included

 

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Yes! Public service loan forgiveness is real and could be a great option for lowering your student loan payments. You can select any servicer to process your forgiveness paperwork, but make sure you choose a trustworthy company. Student Loans FAQ provides top notch customer service. Our support reps are skilled in answering any and all questions you have related to student loans. We know how stressful it is to be in financial duress, burdened by loans. Our goal is to help you!

Federal loans are forgiven, but if you have private loans you may qualify for a loan consolidation. This is a great option if you have taken out multiple loans and want to break it down to one monthly payment. If you are interested in learning about your options, fill out the short form below:

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top 10 student loan tips for recent grads

The Top 10 Student Loan Tips for Recent Graduates

Whether you just graduated, are taking a break from school, or have already started repaying your student loans, these tips will help you keep your student loan debt under control. That means avoiding fees and extra interest costs, keeping your payments affordable, and protecting your credit rating. If you’re having trouble finding a job or keeping up with your payments, there’s important information here for you, too.

1. Know Your Loans: It’s important to keep track of the lender, balance, and repayment status for each of your student loans. These details determine your options for loan repayment and forgiveness. If you’re not sure, ask your lender or contact studentloansfaqs. You can also log in and see the loan amounts, lender(s), and repayment status for all of your federal loans. If some of your loans aren’t listed, they’re probably private (non-federal) loans.  For those, try to find a recent billing statement and/or the original paperwork that you signed. Contact your school if you can’t locate any records.

2. Know Your Grace Period: Different loans have different grace periods. A grace period is how long you can wait after leaving school before you have to make your first payment. It’s six months for federal Stafford loans (sometimes called Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans), but nine months for federal Perkins loans. For federal PLUS loans, you probably have access to a six-month deferment. The grace periods for private student loans vary, so consult your paperwork or contact your lender to find out. Don’t miss your first payment!

3. Stay in Touch with Your Lender: Whenever you move or change your phone number or email address, tell your lender right away. If your lender needs to contact you and your information isn’t current, it can end up costing you a bundle. Open and read every piece of mail – paper or electronic – that you receive about your student loans. If you’re getting unwanted calls from your lender or a collection agency, don’t stick your head in the sand – talk to your lender! Lenders are supposed to work with borrowers to resolve problems, and collection agencies have to follow certain rules. Ignoring bills or serious problems can lead to default, which has severe, long-term consequences (see tip 6 for more about default.)

4. Pick the Right Repayment Option: When your federal loans come due, your loan payments will automatically be based on a standard 10-year repayment plan. If the standard payment is going to be hard for you to cover, there are other options, and you can change plans down the line if you want or need to. Extending your repayment period beyond 10 years can lower your monthly payments, but you’ll end up paying more interest – often a lot more – over the life of the loan. Some important options for student loan borrowers are income-driven repayment plans such as Income-Based Repayment and Revised Pay As You Earn which cap your monthly payments at a reasonable percentage of your income each year, and forgive any debt remaining after no more than 25 years (depending on the plan) of affordable payments. Forgiveness may be available after just 10 years of these payments for borrowers in the public and nonprofit sectors (see tip 10 below). To find out more about Income-Based Repayment and related programs and how they might work for you, contact one of our student loan specialists to create (or edit) your repayment plan.

Private loans are not eligible for IBR or the other federal loan payment plans, deferments, forbearances, or forgiveness programs.  However, the lender may offer some type of forbearance, typically for a fee, or you may be able to make interest-only payments for some period of time. Read your original private loan paperwork carefully and then talk to the lender about what repayment options you may have.

5. Don’t Panic: If you’re having trouble making payments because of unemployment, health problems, or other unexpected financial challenges, remember that you have options for managing your federal student loans. There are legitimate ways to temporarily postpone your federal loan payments, such as deferments and forbearance. For example, an unemployment deferment might be the right choice for you if you’re having trouble finding work right now. But beware: interest accrues on all types of loans during forbearances, and on some types of loans during deferment, increasing your total debt, so ask your lender about making interest-only payments if you can afford it.

If you expect your income to be lower than you’d hoped for more than a few months, check out Income-Based Repayment. Your required payment in IBR can be as little as $0 when your income is very low. See tip 4 for more about IBR and other repayment options.

6. Stay out of Trouble! Ignoring your student loans has serious consequences that can last a lifetime. Not paying can lead to delinquency and default. For federal loans, default kicks in after nine months of non-payment. When you default, your total loan balance becomes due, your credit score is ruined, the total amount you owe increases dramatically, and the government can garnish your wages and seize your tax refunds if you default on a federal loan. For private loans, default can happen much more quickly and can put anyone who co-signed for your loan at risk as well. Talk to your lender right away if you’re in danger of default.

7. Prepay If You Can: If you can afford to pay more than your required monthly payment – every time or now and then – you can lower the amount of interest you have to pay over the life of the loan. To pay down your loan more quickly, make sure to include a written request to your lender specifying that the extra amount be applied to your loan balance, and continue making payments each month. Otherwise, your prepayment may automatically be credited to a future payment and you may not be billed for the next month.

8. Pay Off the Most Expensive Loans First: If you’re considering paying off one or more of your loans ahead of schedule, start with the one that has the highest interest rate. If you have private loans in addition to federal loans, start with your private loans, since they almost always have higher interest rates and lack the flexible repayment options and other protections of federal loans.

9. To Consolidate or Not to Consolidate: A consolidation loan combines multiple loans into one for a single monthly payment and one fixed interest rate. You can consolidate your federal student loans through the Direct Loan program,. For private consolidation loans, shop around carefully for a low or fixed interest rate if you can find one, and read all the fine print. Never consolidate federal loans into a private student loan, or you’ll lose all the repayment options and borrower benefits – like unemployment deferments and loan forgiveness programs – that come with federal loans!

10. Loan Forgiveness: There are various programs that will forgive all or some of your federal student loans if you work in certain fields or for certain types of employers. Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a federal program that forgives any student debt remaining after 10 years of qualifying payments for people in government, nonprofit, and other public service jobs. Find out more at studentloansfaqs.net. There are other federal loan forgiveness options available for teachers, nurses, AmeriCorps and PeaceCorps volunteers, and other professions, as well as some state, school, and private programs.

One of our experienced loan specialists will review your student loans. There is no credit card or payment required. Just fill out the form below.

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What the Navient Lawsuit(s) Means For Your Student Loans

Two lawsuits against the country’s largest student loan servicer, Navient, could have an impact on your loans.

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Orginally posted on Genprogress. 

BY SENYA MERCHANT | FEBRUARY 15, 2017 AT 5:29 PM

In the aftermath of the the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) lawsuit against Navient, the largest student loan servicer in the country, we wanted to get in touch with our readers about what this could mean for their own student loans.

“Navient–formerly known as Sallie Mae–allegedly cheated consumers at every stage of the repayment process,” student loan expert Rohit Chopra told Generation Progress. “If you believe you were a victim of shortcuts or deception, you should file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to get immediate help.”

It’s worth noting that a separate consumer class action lawsuit was filed days after the CFPB announced their lawsuit for borrowers that attempted to pay off their loans earlier by making larger payments than their monthly payment plan required them to. You can read more about whether you qualify for restitution under the Florida consumer class action lawsuit here.

Read on even if Navient is not your student loan servicer. We think this lawsuit serves as a warning shot to other servicers who may be getting away with the same practices that put financial interests above consumers’ interests.

 

If Navient is your loan servicer:

Compensation for injury is not guaranteed: The CFPB is requesting that the court order Navient to pay restitution to affected borrowers in addition to a financial penalty. But because CFPB is a government agency and this lawsuit is not a class action lawsuit you should not expect redress at this particular point in time.
You may be able to fire Navient: For borrowers with older federal student loans (under the FFEL program), you can consolidate your loans into Direct Loans and choose your servicer. You’ll also be able to enroll in more generous income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
You should keep making your monthly payments on time: If you can afford to keep making your monthly payments on normal schedule you should absolutely do so. If you can no longer make your monthly payments, visit studentloans.gov to enroll in an Income-Driven-Repayment (IDR) plan. This can help you even if you are currently unemployed.
You can follow us to view the progress of the CFPB lawsuit.

 

If Navient is not your loan servicer:

Find out who your lender and servicer are: You can find out who your loan servicer is and get their contact info by logging onto your Federal Student Aid profile with your Federal Student Aid ID. Create an FSA ID if you don’t already have one.
Know your rights as a borrower: You can find the full extent of your rights as a student loan borrower here.
Understand all of your repayment options: Your loan servicer is supposed to help you navigate the many ways you can successfully repay your student loans but, as history shows us, these companies don’t always have consumers’ best interests in mind. That’s why it’s so important to educate yourself on the many repayment options for your unique financial situation. Find out about student loan refinancing, income-driven repayment, federal student loan consolidation and student loan forgiveness.
Additional hot tips:
If you’ve made payment decisions with your loan-servicer over the phone make sure you also confirm any changes in writing.
Enroll in automatic monthly payments, which may reduce your interest rate and also guarantees your loan-servicer is always receiving your payments.
File a complaint: If you’ve had a bad experience with your loan servicer or you think it is committing some of the same acts that Navient was sued over, you should file a complaint with:
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
U.S. Department of Education
Your lender
Your servicer
Senya Merchant is an Organizing Associate for Generation Progress.

 

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