In our current society, it has unfortunately become the norm to graduate from college with a large amount of student loan debt. Then the student struggles to find employment, and if they are lucky enough to do so, the salary is way below the expectation of the degree they earned.
Thankfully, there are a number of options out there to help alleviate this debt that goes beyond the six month grace period after a student graduates. Some people may be qualified without realizing it, since some are pretty new, and haven’t considered getting help with the burden.
The important thing to realize is that this isn’t easy or free. There are extremely specific qualifications that need to be met in many cases, such as: debt to income ratio, specific time frames, length of employment, and consistent payment of existing loans. Also, only certain loans are eligible for these options.
Student Loan Debt Repayment Help and Forgiveness Options
1. Becoming a teacher in a low-income area. If you have a Stafford or Perkins loan, some or all of your debt can be forgiven if you work in a designated school (the government provides a directory of schools that qualify) as a teacher for five complete and consecutive years.
2. Join the military. Each branch has their own student loan debt forgiveness information, so check with the specific branch of the military for options.
3. A Public Service or non-profit job. This Public Service Loan Forgiveness option only applies to a Direct loan. For this loan you must have 120 qualifying payments (keep in mind that these payments will take you at least 10 years) while working full-time in these areas. Since this option came about in 2007, you can apply for this in 2017. “You must be working for a qualified public service organization at the time you submit the application for forgiveness and at the time the remaining balance on your loan is forgiven.”
4. Pay As You Earn. This program caps payments at 10% of discretionary income and forgives remaining loans after 20 years. For this plan, you must be a new borrower as of 2007, and only certain Federal loans apply. You must have at least a partial financial hardship and your payment amount may increase or decrease each year based on your income and family size.
Other Options for Student Loan Debt
These are a few of the most common plans out there, but please research through the government’s website, your loan program, even your employer to see if more options are available to you.
This is an important thing to do, especially if your debt is taking up more than 10% of your income.
Have you applied for, or benefited from any student loan debt forgiveness or help? Do you know of any other student loan debt options?
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© 2014, Sherrian Crumbley. All rights reserved.