Remember that when you’re refinancing, you can pick exactly which loans you want to refinance. You’re free to refinance only your private student loans and continue paying off the federal loans like normal. You may find that option gives you the best of both worlds, allowing you to save money on your private loans while retaining the perks of your federal loans.
Your best option would be to find a way to qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which offers total forgiveness after just TEN years of payments (instead of the typical 20). To qualify for PSLF, you’ll need to work for the Government, a Non-Profit, or some other position that is included on the eligibility guidelines. See my page on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (linked above) for a breakdown of the details.
Im on SSDI and had my dr fill out paperwork for them to do the forgiveness. My dr. filled out that paperwork 5 times. starting in 2008. They wrote this off about 2 years ago my mom told me I remember you calling and telling me they finally did it. Now they are telling me that only 2 are discharged and 2 are still in 3 year period. Ive been in that 3 year period for ever then. Im not exactly sure what more to do but if they continue this and I start having problems with my heart thats going to be an issue for me. any advise Ive been on disability now for almost 8 years. when this started I had only been on it for 1 year
I just wanted to comment on how dedicated you are to helping people Robert. You have provided prompt clear responses, with impressive information to every single person who commented on your article. I will share this with friends. I was fortunate to be in healthcare/non-profit & have a Perkins loan that was forgiven after 5 years. Thank you for your dedication to your field & being such an amazing person to give your time to answer all these questions. Kudos to you!
my loans are 72k and 3.5%. I am currently enrolled for the last two years under public service loan forgiveness. I do not qualify for IBR and am in the process of applying for PAYE. I have been paying my loans since 2007 but only under the PSLF since 2014. My question is..Is it worth it to stay under PSLF for another 8 years or switch back to a graduated payment plan for another 10 years that will give me lower payments. Which plan will result in the most loan forgiveness.
It depends on where you work today and what type of loans you have. It’s not about your school or what you did or didn’t do. Do you work in public service? Do you have Federal loans? If so, you’ll likely qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. If you have Federal loans, you’ll likely qualify for one of the repayment plans above that includes forgiveness.
I am planning on consolidating my parent plus loans into a direct loan and using PSLF to pay since my income is $45,000 and i work for the state government. Under a possible change to student loan repayment, if i start the ICR plan, and the budget takes it away, am i grandfathered into that plan? Since that is the only one that accepts PLUS consolidation loans i am worried about making 2 or 3 years payments towards PSLF and then having it all thrown away when they change the repayment plans and i dont qualify for the new ones because its a PLUS consolidation loan.
You can refinance one or more federal and/or private student loans, but you must meet a lender’s requirements for credit and income. Most lenders look for a credit score of 650 or higher, along with a steady source of income or an offer of employment. If you can’t meet these criteria on your own, you could qualify by applying with a creditworthy cosigner, such as a parent.

We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.
To request technical assistance while you are signed in and completing the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note online, select the “Contact Us” tab in the top menu bar of StudentLoans.gov. From there, you can either complete and submit the feedback form or select “Additional Information” and contact the Student Loan Support Center at the phone number provided.
My advice for you is to first sign up for one of the Income-Based Student Loan Repayment Plans so that your monthly payments are dropped to an affordable amount, then get on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (I think your status as a Reservist on permanent active duty will qualify, but you’ll have to double check on that), which will allow you to get your loans discharged after making payments for a set number of years, no matter how much debt remains.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program – Nurses have always been able to take advantage of the PSLF program, and for good reason! It was created specifically to help encourage people to take up work in public service positions, and no job defines public service better than that of a Nurse. Any Nurse who holds a full-time, qualifying position will be able to have the entirety of their student loan balance forgiven after they’ve made 10 years worth (120) of monthly payments on their debt, no matter how much is left when that 120th payment is made!

In the year of 1999-2003 i went to school for my A.S.degree in Nursing, after finishing the pre-requisites you have to apply for the program, i applied and i was not accepted. I then realized that i was stuck with student loans. In 2011 i was accepted into another University and finally got in the Nursing Program. In the 3rd semester of being in the program i was released because of Academic issues. I had 3 family deaths in one year and broke my finger within the same time frame. The school believes that if you get more than 2 C’s you are automatically released from the program. I am now further in debt with student loans and of course no degree. I am truly devastated and really need some help, what do i need to do, anyone please.


I am in the same situation as Stephanie, I have made 5 years of consistent payments on a graduated repayment plan. I was counting on PSLF after 10 years, but was told by my FedLoan that none of my graduated payments would count because it is not a “qualifying repayment plan”. I did a lot of research when I first started paying my loans to ensure that I would qualify, and I could have sworn that graduated was listed as a qualifying repayment plan. Everywhere I read now, it says that it is not a qualifying plan. I did fill out a certification form recently, but they said it would take 90 days to process. Please help!
I was on PAYE program for couple of years after grace period ended. Each year I submitted copies of my paystubs. This year, however, instead of paystubs I was only allowed to submit tax returns. Since we filed jointly with my domestic partner (not married, live and have a child together), my “income” has drastically increased. Hence, I was not qualified for PAYE. Although, we live together and file taxes jointly, I think it’s wrong to dismiss my actual income. I work part-time and dont make too much at all, so I’m barely able to meet the standard monthly payments. Is there any way around submitting your taxes to qualify for PAYE?
Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of September 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.14%. Variable interest rates range from 2.34%-9.33%(2.34%-9.33% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower's loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Fixed interest rates range from 3.45%- 9.49% (3.45%- 9.49% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a co-signer. Lowest rates shown are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan...
https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service/questions https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service/temporary-expanded-public-service-loan-forgiveness https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/teacher https://www.disabilitydischarge.com/ https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/disability-discharge https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/death https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/closed-school https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/perkins https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans

I’ve read as many of the above comments as I could in order to avoid a repeat question, but couldn’t find any that directly addressed my situation. I’m scared to contact Direct Loans (all of my considerable undergrad and grad student loans are Federal loans), because I’ve been in default for so long. Just before I completed my Ph.D., two things happened. One: I became a mother with very bad post-partum depression, and Two: I had a nervous breakdown because my graduate advisor stole my work and sabotaged my ethnographic field study due to sheer incompetence. I didn’t fight any of it (see above references to total physical and emotional breakdowns), but instead focused on keeping myself and my children alive and in gradually improving health. It really was a survival situation. My husband has been our sole provider since I left graduate school (ABD), and I have not been employed outside the home since then. I have, however, homeschooled both of our children diligently and well, as well as run a small organic farm on one income. His income is barely enough for us to do this. It is certainly not enough for us to pay 15% of our income to loans, and so I am also exploring ways to use my education for income so that I can pay off loans. Like…write a bestseller. Yeah. (It’s actually not a total pipe dream. I do have one 600 page novel nearly finished, and it’s pretty damned good.) So my question is this: since none of my debt was incurred while married, and since I have not been employed since 2003, and since I DO very much want to repay my debt, but it pretty much seems completely hopeless, what can I do? What’s the best way to go forward here?
Savings calculations are based on refinancing $121,825 in student loans at an existing loan servicer’s interest rate of 7.5% fixed APR with 10 years, 6 months remaining on the loan term. The other lender’s savings and APR (light green line) represent what would happen if those loans were refinanced at the other lender’s best fixed APRs. The Earnest savings and APR (white line) represent refinancing those loans at Earnest’s best fixed APRs.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
I was a teacher for almost 15 years at three different Title I schools which qualified me for the “service related” but I never took advantage of it because I was making good money. I decided to change jobs and to work for New York State in a juvenile detention center as a teacher, and I lost that job. I have been two years with out a job and no unemployment for the past year, so this doesn’t qualify me for the “service related” forgiveness plan. What should I do?
On IBR, your loan balance is forgiven after your repayment term (20 or 25 years). The best thing to do is make the payment you can afford. If you’re on IBR, and your payment is $0, you likely don’t have much income. If you can make extra payments, great – but don’t compromise other financial goals/issues to make extra payments (i.e. don’t get behind on car payments, go into credit card debt, etc.).

Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.
I recently applied for public loan forgivness program and was denied because one of my loans in consolidation was private (from the college). It was $2200 keeping me from being eligible. Is there anything I can do? All of my other loans were public and I met all other requirements. This loan was from 2002 and I consolidated in 2005. My original debt was well over 50K and I still owe 28K after paying on time since 2005. I can’t back out the $2200 loan and I will probably be dead if I refinance for another 25 years. I am a public school teacher (science) in a Title 1 school. Any other programs I can look at??
I have about 325,000 consolidated student loan debt with the fed gov’t once graduated in 2009. I was under the IBR plan but loss of employment and medical bills caused me to go further into debt. I filed Bankruptcy but this did not cover the loans…I have a doctoral degree but have not been able to find anything in my field as a result to make the salary I was previously making. I am working 2 jobs to cover the BK payments plus my normal living expenses. I am wanting to ensure that I am doing everything possible to utilized the forgiveness option at the end of 20-25 years. Any thoughts or recommendations? Am I eligible for PAYE on the 2007??… I never thought I would be in this position and don’t want to be stressed. I have cut my lifestyle down to the bare minimum but it doesn’t seem like I can get ahead…
Your credit score is a barometer of your financial responsibility. Most lenders evaluate your credit score (or its underlying components), and want to ensure that you meet your financial obligations and have a history of on-time payments. Generally, top lenders expect a minimum credit score in the mid to high 600's, while others do not have a minimum.
Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)
Additional info, after registering on studentaid.ed.gov I’ve confirmed my original loans were Stafford subsidized and unsubsidized loans. When I reconsolidated in 2004, they became FFE Consolidated Loans. So, based on this info, I understand that the only way I could take advantage of the public service program is if I reconsolidated my current balance into a Federal Direct consolidation loan and made an additional 10 years of payments. Do you interpret my circumstance in the same way?
Like other forms of debt, you can refinance a student loan (both private student loans and federal student loans are eligible for refinancing). With most lenders, you start with a rate estimate, which doesn’t require a hard credit inquiry. When comparing rates from different lenders, be sure to pay attention to additional key differences, such as fees, before making a final decision (Earnest has no fees, for what it’s worth).
I currently have done 1 year in the Army Reserve after doing 5 years in the Air National Guard. I haven’t received a bonus from the Army because I was not eligible for any. Is there a program like the PSLF for people in the Guard/Reserve since we’re technically federal/DoD employees?? I was in school to be a pilot which ran me up to about $90,000 total…I enlisted to the Air National Guard where they did blood work to find out I have a Sickle Cell Trait and cannot fly unpressurized aircraft(hence cannot go through flight training). I pretty much wasted my time with school. I cannot file bankruptcy either or I’ll be discharged from the Army Reserve. Please Help!!!!
Yes I’m in the process of filing an application for loan forgiveness for a parent plus loan I’ve got all the info and the original denial letter from sallie Mae that said I wasn’t able to get this loan then was given one how in the hell does this happen. My son attended that ITT Tech school back in 2010. Do you think I will get some forgiveness for the institute falsely misrepresented my credit history?

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Next, you can choose what type of interest rate you want when you refinance. Variable-rate student loans can cost you less to start, but there’s the possibility that the interest rate goes up later. As a general rule, a variable-rate loan works well when you only need a couple years to pay off the balance, but you may also want to read more about choosing between fixed and variable student loan refinancing.
Perkins loans would have been a better idea because the benefits are better, but it sounds like you should still absolutely qualify for the BEST Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Program available – the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which offers complete loan forgiveness after 120 monthly payments have been made (that’s 10 years worth of payments).
I am happy that I found your site and thank you for all of the information that you have provided. So, I went to Heald College in Stockton, CA, and graduated with my Associates Degree in Accounting, well at least I thought I did. I walked the stage and never received my diploma in the mail when they said they were. I requested it many time and never got anywhere. I started working at restaurants because I could not find work in Stockton, CA, and Heald College was not a big help when they said they would have job placements. I then moved to Maryland on the East Coast and went back to school. While I was going to school I landed a job at a Law Office as a paralegal. My boss closed down her law practice and I went to apply for schools in the area. The school that I applied to asked me for a copy of my transcript from Heald College. I requested it from a third party because as you already know it closed down. When I received my transcript in the mail, I discovered that I only had 8 credits. I called the third party and said that this is a mistake and that I graduated in 2008. She checked and said no, that is the correct transcript. I then applied for one of the programs to get it discharged and it was denied. I’ve tried calling the lawyers in California that worked on the case and never received a response back. If I go back to school I have to start all over again and still have this debt as well as the new student loans that I would have to take out. I hope you will have some pointers for me!
I have $60,000 in student loan debt from becoming a counselor, I was on the Public service forgiveness program on the IBR plan working at a social service agency, I made 5 years of qualifying payments but I recently left to go into private practice so I wouldn’t have to deal with insurance companies and productivity requirements, but I am assuming now being self employed, although I am doing the same kind off work, that this employment will no longer qualify for public service forgiveness, is this correct? Any suggestions on how to navigate this?
After spending weeks communicating with other companies I had about given up on refinancing my loans. I decided to give one more company a try. Laurel Road (formerly DRB Student Loan) was such an easy online process I almost didn’t believe. I would recommend them to anyone. Student loans are stressful so it’s so nice knowing there’s a company out there to make the process as pain free as possible!
To request technical assistance while you are signed in and completing the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan Application and Promissory Note online, select the “Contact Us” tab in the top menu bar of StudentLoans.gov. From there, you can either complete and submit the feedback form or select “Additional Information” and contact the Student Loan Support Center at the phone number provided.
I have about 325,000 consolidated student loan debt with the fed gov’t once graduated in 2009. I was under the IBR plan but loss of employment and medical bills caused me to go further into debt. I filed Bankruptcy but this did not cover the loans…I have a doctoral degree but have not been able to find anything in my field as a result to make the salary I was previously making. I am working 2 jobs to cover the BK payments plus my normal living expenses. I am wanting to ensure that I am doing everything possible to utilized the forgiveness option at the end of 20-25 years. Any thoughts or recommendations? Am I eligible for PAYE on the 2007??… I never thought I would be in this position and don’t want to be stressed. I have cut my lifestyle down to the bare minimum but it doesn’t seem like I can get ahead…
I have been on the IBR Plan for a few years and due to such low income previously I have barely paid much off of my debt while my interest accrues. After reading your articles I checked studentloans.gov repayment calculator and double-checked with Navient- I am thinking of switching to the RePAYE plan as this would lower my monthly payments and take 10% of my discretionary income as opposed to the 15% that IBR takes.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 2.68% per year to 6.30% per year for a 5-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.35% per year for a 7-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term, 4.50% per year to 6.65% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.75% per year to 6.90% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.54% to 4.16% for the 5-year term loan, 1.86% to 4.21% for the 7-year term loan, 2.11% to 4.26% for the 10-year term loan, 2.36% to 4.51% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.61% to 4.76% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 2.68% per year to 6.30% per year for a 5-year term would be from $178.27 to $194.73. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.00% per year to 6.35% per year for a 7-year term would be from $136.69 to $147.77. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term would be from $102.44 to $113.04. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.50% per year to 6.65% per year for a 15-year term would be from $76.50 to $87.94. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.75% per year to 6.90% per year for a 20-year term would be from $64.62 to $76.93.
The NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program (NHSC) – This program was previously called the Nursing Education Loan Repayment Program (NELRP), and was created to help encourage RN’s to work in underserved hospitals and clinics, by offering them the chance to write off some of their student loans for qualifying service. The way it works is that RN’s will are able to have 60% of their Nursing loans written off for serving 2 years at a qualifying facility, along with 25% more for 1 additional year. That’s a pretty dang good deal, but it means you’d have to be willing to work at an underserved hospital or clinic, which could be a stressful, frustrating experience.
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