In pursuit of higher education, Americans have accumulated almost $ 1.3 billion in student loan debts. Some may debate whether this amount represents a crisis. It can certainly be a problem for you personally if you have loans that you cannot pay.
Not paying your loans is simply not an option. However, there are ways to reduce your payments or even eliminate your debt. The federal government and the states are adding new ways to help each year.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will finalize its new program called Return Book for Return on Investment. This should help borrowers to have a clearer idea of how their loans work and their payment options. The office also offers a useful guide to pay off student debt. There are a number of existing programs that can offer help.
There are private companies that say they help eliminate debt from student loans. Let’s start with the official debt relief options offered by the government.
The government offers ways to defer, consolidate or even forgive certain student loans. What is striking is that you must have government loans (private loans are not eligible) and you may have to commit to a career in public service.
Deferment or leniency: If you have problems making payments, the first thing you should do is contact your loan administrator to request a deferment or leniency. While the details differ somewhat, both work by suspending your payments for a period of time.
Deferrals may last longer, and the government can even pay its interest during that time. However, you usually need to be unemployed, in the military or at school to get one. Tolerances may be mandatory or discretionary, and discretionary discrepancies include the general category of “financial difficulties” as a reason for eligibility.
Consolidation of loans: Another option to reduce payments may be to consolidate your loans. If you have several government loans, you can request, at no cost, a consolidation loan. This converts your multiple loans and monthly payments into a single loan and a payment amount (with less luck).
However, keep in mind that, while selecting a longer repayment term may reduce your monthly payments, it could also increase the total amount you are paying in interest during the term of your student loans.
Payment plans based on income: the government’s standard payment plan is 10 years, but that is certainly not your only option. Other payment plans reach up to 20, 25 or, in the case of consolidated loans, 30 years.
All of these plans have monthly payments linked to your income and can be ideal if you are caught in a low-wage job. For some programs, you may need a partial difficulty to qualify, but after 20 to 25 years of repayment, any remaining debt is forgiven.