The Know Before You Owe Initiative – To ensure that graduates aren’t saddled with excessive monthly payments that would surely put them in the bread line, President Obama committed to offering them the ability to cap monthly student loan payments at just 10% of discretionary income, a move that would save some borrowers hundreds to thousands of dollars per month

1Laurel Road: Laurel Road Bank is a Connecticut banking corporation offering products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Laurel Road has helped thousands of professionals with graduate and undergraduate degrees across the country to refinance and consolidate over $3 billion in federal and private school loans, saving these borrowers thousands of dollars each. Lending services provided by Laurel Road Bank, Member FDIC. APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 4/05/2019. Rates subject to change. Fixed rate options consist of a range from 3.50% per year to 5.55% per year for a 5-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.00% per year for a 7-year term, 4.30% per year to 6.40% per year for a 10-year term, 4.60% per year to 6.80% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.05% per year to 7.02% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. The fixed interest rate will apply until the loan is paid in full (whether before or after default, and whether before or after the scheduled maturity date of the loan). The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.75% per year to 5.80% per year for a 5-year term would be from $183.04 to $192.40. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.25% per year to 6.25% per year for a 7-year term would be from $137.84 to $147.29. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.55% per year to 6.65% per year for a 10-year term would be from $103.88 to $114.31. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.85% per year to 7.05% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.30 to $90.16. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.30% per year to 7.27% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.66 to $79.16. However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account. Variable rate options consist of a range from 2.25% per year to 6.05% per year for a 5-year term, 3.75% per year to 6.10% per year for a 7-year term, 4.00% per year to 6.15% per year for a 10-year term, 4.25% per year to 6.40% per year for a 15-year term, or 4.50% per year to 6.65% 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 0.25% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 1.50% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 1.75% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.00% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.25% to 4.40% 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 2.75% per year to 6.30% per year for a 5-year term would be from $178.58 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. However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account. 


You’ll have to evaluate your situation to decide whether refinancing federal student loans is a wise decision. For example, if you work in the public sector and could qualify for loan forgiveness in the future, you’d typically be better off keeping your federal loans. On the other hand, if you don’t work in the public sector and you’ve had no problems making your loan payments to date, then you may want to go ahead and refinance to save money on interest.
I have two graduate school loans from 2010 to 2013 – Stafford Loan and Grad Plus loan. I am currently enrolled in the pay as you earn program but am confused on the “loan forgiveness” opportunities. If I am not working in a public sector; can I still qualify for the 10 year forgiveness or does that automatically place me in the 25 year category? Also, am I responsible for taxes on the amount that is forgiven after 10 or 25 (whichever is applicable to my situation)?
Here I am 24 years later, have been paying on my loan(s) for 10 years, every month, and I still owe $65,000. I DO NOT want something for nothing but I want to pay what I owe. I have tried negotiating a lower APR, currently paying 21%, but Nelnet says that isn’t possible, basically they refuse. I have also asked to negotiate a lower amount owed, again was told no.
Good Morning Robert, I did an (Obama) forgivness loan agreement with NationalStudentCenter.com 1(866)359-3821. Currently unemployed and said I qualified for my loans to be consolidated and reduced all the way to $0 for the next 20-30 month with the first 3months being $197.33. Paid thru my checking and already one month in. The wierd thing is I had to Esign the App so they can move forward with the process. I received an email from NelNet saying that they received my App. But I never Esigned the App because I started to become skeptical about the loan. With the info that I just provided you, can your expertise tell me if this is a scam? If so how do I get out of it.
You job qualifies you, but the graduated repayment program does not until your graduated payment exceeds your 10-year standard payment (which typically doesn’t happen until the last few years of repayment). You need to switch repayment plans to standard 10-year, IBR, PAYE, RePAYE, or ICR – then you need to see if you’ll even have a balance left after 10 years.
I came across your blog in my pursuit of refinancing my student loans which I consolidated back in 1999. I currently have a consolidated subsidized loan with approximately $25k outstanding, and a consolidated unsubsidized loan with approximately $35k outstanding. Both loans have a fixed rate of 7.25%. If it’s relevant, the owner of both loans is Keybank, and both loans are guaranteed by PHEAA. To my understanding, I have not been paying the loans back pursuant to any specific payment plan (e.g., IBR, PAYE, graduated repayment plan, etc.), but on a regular monthly payment plan amortized over a 30 year period. I took advantage of the deferment option for two (2) years in the past, and at my current interest rate and payment amount, I’m estimated to pay the loans off in 2032. My question to you is “Can my loans be forgiven in the 25 year period that I have read about in your blog?” If so, when would the 25 year period have begun for determining when my loans will be forgiven? If my loans are not able to be forgiven, what are my options if any (other than refinancing the loans to lower the interest rate)?
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 October 1, 2019, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.05%. Variable interest rates range from 2.25% – 9.24% (3.25% – 9.24% 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 cosigner. 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 cosigner. 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. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
Annual Percentage Rates (APR), loan term and monthly payments are estimated based on analysis of information provided by you, data provided by lenders, and publicly available information. All loan information is presented without warranty, and the estimated APR and other terms are not binding in any way. Lenders provide loans with a range of APRs depending on borrowers' credit and other factors. Keep in mind that only borrowers with excellent credit will qualify for the lowest rate available. Your actual APR will depend on factors like credit score, requested loan amount, loan term, and credit history. All loans are subject to credit review and approval.
Forgiveness isn’t an option for defaulted loans. You’ll need to use consolidation or rehabilitation to get defaulted federal student loans in good standing before they’re eligible for forgiveness programs. If your loans won’t qualify for forgiveness, student loan settlement or bankruptcy may reduce your debt in severe cases. Defaulted federal loans are eligible for discharge programs.

Comment Policy: We invite readers to respond with questions or comments. Comments may be held for moderation and are subject to approval. Comments are solely the opinions of their authors'. The responses in the comments below are not provided or commissioned by any advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any company. It is not anyone's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
I had a 47,000 student loan from 1997. In 2008 I was a substitute teacher and was not able to get any kind of loan adjustments to save my home. I have since stayed with various relatives and today I received a letter from a debt collector stating that the loan has been turned over to them. The last time I moved I was able to get work as a substitute teacher again. School has just begun so I am not working yet. The letter says that I now owe almost 90,000. $40,000 has been added to my loan. What should I do and do I qualify for any kind of loan forgiveness. How is it different since, it has been turned over to a debt collector.
To jump off her question a little – I’m a former teacher turned SAHM homeschooling our three children. When applying annually for the REPAYE program, do I have to show that I’ve been searching for employment? Or is it enough to apply jointly with my husband and send in documentation for his income? I do not plan to job search or go back to work anytime soon as I intend to continue homeschooling. I’m just wondering how that choice will affect our eligibility for programs such as REPAYe. (My husband and I both have eligible federal student loans).

If you have several student loans with different interest rates, you can consolidate everything into a single new loan with one interest rate. Juggling multiple loan payments can be difficult to keep up with, especially when you have multiple lenders. Not to mention, some student loan servicers buy and sell loans, so you could wind up paying different lenders than the original servicer that you used.

Hi, Robert. I have two loans, one through Navient that the interest has been paid off on and the principal is down to 16,000. I have another loan for 19,000 through Great Lakes that just went into repayment. Between the two loans my payments are around 350 a month. I’m looking into the IBR but don’t want to start over on a 198-month term since my first loan is from 2003 and I’ve already paid the interest. I also work for a non-profit as an RN so I want to apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Is it worth it to start over with a new term?


I make about 35k (my wife also makes about 38k — my wife and I file married but separate taxes — we have 3 kids.) I feel lost. I don’t know how I got so deep or how this got so out of control. Any help is appreciated. Do you think I qualify for these repayment programs? Which would be best for such an old defaulted loan? Is there a place (other than the collection agency) that can help guide me? Again I sincerely appreciate your article and advice.
I did the same thing. Paid a company to get my student loans into a rehab program. 7 months and almost $500 later, I am still in the same situation and nothing is being done. Its always one excuse after another. Please don’t pay someone to do what you can do for free youself. I just wish there was some way to get back that lost time and money. Good luck!

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!
To answer your specific question about loan forgiveness and retroactive qualification though, no, you would begin making qualifying payments as soon as you enrolled in the right repayment plan. The payments you’ve made up to that point do not count toward your 20 years’ worth of full, scheduled, on-time payments, at least how the law is currently written.
For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.

I owed 160,000 on student’s loans; I qualified for the 10 years forgiveness plan. I have been paying since 2007. My income is not that high, so I have to get a second job in order to be able to make the payments for the student loans. Last year, I found out that none of the payments I made since 2009 qualified for the 10 years forgiveness program, because I was paying under the wrong plan and not the IBR plan, nobody told me that in order to qualified for the 10 year forgiveness program the condition was to be under the IBR payment. Although, the payments before were higher than what I’m paying now under the IBR plan.


I have been working for a non profit public university for the past 4 years and loyally paying on my loans…under a graduated repayment plan 🙁 I thought my payments qualified! Nobody ever told me a graduated repayment plan would disqualify me from loan forgiveness! I feel like I’ve lost 4 years that I desperately needed toward paying these off. What do I do??? Is there any way to make those 4 years count? The plans that do qualify were only $30 a month more than what I’ve been paying, it seems so silly…and now I’m so discouraged…

I came across your blog in my pursuit of refinancing my student loans which I consolidated back in 1999. I currently have a consolidated subsidized loan with approximately $25k outstanding, and a consolidated unsubsidized loan with approximately $35k outstanding. Both loans have a fixed rate of 7.25%. If it’s relevant, the owner of both loans is Keybank, and both loans are guaranteed by PHEAA. To my understanding, I have not been paying the loans back pursuant to any specific payment plan (e.g., IBR, PAYE, graduated repayment plan, etc.), but on a regular monthly payment plan amortized over a 30 year period. I took advantage of the deferment option for two (2) years in the past, and at my current interest rate and payment amount, I’m estimated to pay the loans off in 2032. My question to you is “Can my loans be forgiven in the 25 year period that I have read about in your blog?” If so, when would the 25 year period have begun for determining when my loans will be forgiven? If my loans are not able to be forgiven, what are my options if any (other than refinancing the loans to lower the interest rate)?


Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance,including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.


I believe this is misleading, You mentioned having $50k forgiven at the end of an income-based repayment term, that the tax owed is cheaper than the loan + interest. But the $50K you would owe at that point *is* the remaining loan + interest. If your IBR amount was covering the interest and some of the principle you’d likely have paid a ton more interest than you would have if you stayed on a 10-year term, but if your payments did not cover the interest, then your loan balance would have been increasing over time. That $50k could have represented a $12k original loan… If you qualified to pay nothing — then with a 6.5% interest loan over 25 years you’d end-up paying tax on 5x the original balance… You’d likely be pushed into a much higher tax bracket. I believe this is a dangerous recommendation for you to make. If the tax law change, then great, but there’s no guarantee of that. Can you explain your logic in the light that unpaid interest in accruing in your loan balance?
Perkins Loan Discharges & Loan Cancellation for Nurses – Many people don’t realize it, but the “Teacher Loan Cancellation Program” also applies to Nurses, and allows full-time nurses (and medical technicians!) to write off 100% of their Perkins loans for five years of qualifying employment as a full-time nurse. The limitation on this program is that only Perkins loans are available for it, so you’d have to plan to use this one in advance of taking on debt.
Great information, but I have a question. I had to consolidate my loans since they were not with a federal loan servicer. I am starting to repay my loans, ($200K). I have been working the last 17 years for local governments in my area. Is it true I have to be making payments at the same time I am working for the loan governments or it does not count for loan forgiveness under Public Service Forgiveness program? I am nearing retirement and this could be a problem.
Different lenders have different credit requirements, but for Earnest, a minimum credit score of 650 is necessary for approval. Typically, the better your credit, the lower a rate a lender will be willing to offer. But at Earnest, your credit score isn’t the only factor we consider when evaluating your application. We look at data other lenders don’t (like your savings, education, and earning potential) to offer fair rates that are customized to you.
RePAYE is a modified version of PAYE that has become available to borrowers after December 17, 2015. Unlike PAYE, which was available for loans taken out after 2007, RePAYE is open to all Direct Loan Borrowers, regardless of when the loan was taken out. The repayment plan still caps your payment at 10% of your discretionary income, and the loan will be forgiven after 20 years.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.
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