I’m grateful I found this page via Pinterest but I’m also angry I didn’t know it before. I’ve been deferring my $40000 consolidation loans for 8 years because I could never afford even the minimum payment. My current balance is now $63000. If I understand correctly, I could’ve been on IBR for 8 years now, probably with a payment of $0 since my income is usually right at poverty level?? I had checked into this before on Sallie Mae/Navient’s website, but it always said that the minimum payment is $208 for IBR (even with an income of $17k 2 person family)…I had no clue I had to go to a separate website (Studentloans.gov) to get a different answer. So frustrating that SM/Navient seems to NOT want people to know this information. I feel like I could’ve been 8 years closer to forgiveness.
Hi, Thank you for compiling all of this valuable info into one place. Your website has answered a lot of my questions. I am 90 days past due & was advised to apply for an IBR by my borrower. My question is I should be approved for an $0 payment due to being unemployed. Should I file taxes at all, with my husband as a dependent or how can we handle the tax aspect so we can keep our heads above water?

You’re mixing up two different things. Graduated Repayment is a repayment plan that DOESN’T have forgiveness, but you can qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) anyway. As long as you can certify your last 4 years of employment (might take you tracking down some HR people), you can qualify. Simply fill out the certification form here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service
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Hi, Thank you for compiling all of this valuable info into one place. Your website has answered a lot of my questions. I am 90 days past due & was advised to apply for an IBR by my borrower. My question is I should be approved for an $0 payment due to being unemployed. Should I file taxes at all, with my husband as a dependent or how can we handle the tax aspect so we can keep our heads above water?
My father was a policeman, killed in the line of duty, when I was fifteen years old. I am the oldest of six children. We have not had the help of a faher or mother to make things easier through my husband’s layoffs, etc. With three children I got tired of our financial sinking so, unfortunately, decided to go to college to make things better. At age 50 I received my bachelor’s degree, and graduated Magna Cum Laude. After being used and abused as a substitute for over 10 years, I could see I was too old and didn’t have a “rich” name to get in. Finally, I decided they could not stop me from making more income, so I drove 110 miles a day into a snow belt to college and worked two part time jobs, as I suffered through the stress of getting a Master’s Degree in Education. I worked for awhile as an adjunct professor and am now retired at 70. I still owe about $11,000 at the ridiculous rate of 6.25%. I have had deferments, but paid ahead when I could, to stay in good grace with Nelnet. Is there any chance of a loan forgiveness now that my retirement is only $380.00 a month, plus monthly social security of $700.00??? Could I get a forgiveness since I have been paying since 1998 and/or because my father was a policeman killed in the line of duty(and an army veteran)? (The original two loans were serviced through the bank and then given to Nelnet [which I did not authorize??]. I paid off my Master’s degree loan first because the loan was less, but the interest was higher.)
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. 

I have loans before 2007. My lender advised that I go through REPAYE. Because I’m getting married in 2016, I’d rather go under PAYE (in order to file married but seperate). If I consolidate my loans (which I’ve also been advised to do perhaps because some are Stafford and REPAYE doesn’t cover those???), would I then qualify for PAYE? What other benefits/consquences are there to consolidating loans?
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.

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.
Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).

Second, typically any changes made to repayment plans will keep you grandfathered in. Congress can’t phase out PSLF simply by de-funding it. They actually have to pass legislation to change it, and any retroactive changes will likely fail (both to pass, and if it does pass, will likely die in court). We can’t guarantee that, but it’s what will likely happen in our opinion.
Ran across your site and then this posting while searching. My loans are currently in an IBR plan but I would love to not have the $14,000+ looming over my head. Unfortunately there does not seem to be any option other than to remain in the IBR and update/reapply every Fall until I die! I do see that you state that it is forgiven after 25 years of payments for a loan taken before July 2014, however, I pay nothing since my income is zero. Prior to having no income I was working in the public service field working with low income children in early childhood education but not long enough to qualify for that type of forgiveness. I am currently a full time and unpaid caregiver for my disabled 5-year-old. We get no public assistance in regards to his care. Qualify based on income but we refuse to liquidate the savings account meant to be used to get us in to a home that will suit our son’s needs and safety better. So I guess my best bet is to keep things as they are with the IBR. Just wish I could be rid of it all-together!
I have student loan for about $25000. I wanted to become a teacher. Online college assured me that once i finish my teaching degree and work in the field for 5 years my loan will be completely waived off. I have about year and a 1/2 left over to finish this degree but I had a medical emergency. While the Dentist was examining my mouth his hand slipped and the sharp needle went under my tongue. I filed a lawsuit but he claims that never happened since then my nerve that was connected to my head from my mouth was pressed in. I had plenty of medical bill which I paid off and now I’m left with sharp shooting pain from my mouth to my head because of which I have difficulty continuing my education and becoming a teacher. What should I do?
The sooner you refinance, the more you could save. The longer you hold your loan at a higher rate, the more interest you are accruing—even if you are in a grace period. That being said, you must be employed or possess a job offer to be eligible to refinance with Earnest. The more your financial situation has improved since you took out the loans originally, the better your refinancing offer will be.
Yes, you should rehabilitate your loans and get on an income-based repayment plan again. When on the plan, you might consider filing your taxes married filing separately. You need to talk to a tax professional and see if it makes sense, but if you do, they will only count your income for your loans (which is $0). That will make your payments $0. However, your husband will pay much more in taxes as a result, so it might not be worth it – you have to do the math. Here’s an article about that: IBR and Married Filing Separately.
I have two loans outstanding : 1) original in Jan 1997 from Sallie Mae and 2) original 2012 from Navy Federal. I am a nurse practitioner and cannot figure out how middle class people are supposed to qualify for these federal loan dismissal programs. I have been in graduate school for past 3 years paying as I go along. What is left for me to do to get these paid off or forgiven? Very frustrating to say the least.
If you are certifying and still have some time left to hit 120 payments – your loans will transfer to Fedloan Servicing (Federal Student Aid is simply a program name, not a loan servicer). FedLoan handles all PSLF requests for the Department of Education. Nothing with your loans change (payment, amount, etc), simply who you make payment to changes.
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.).
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% (2.25%-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 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 One 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.
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.
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.
This program is relatively easy to qualify for, and it can provide a great deal of value (at $4,000 per year, if it takes you 4 years to complete your undergraduate degree, then you could stand to receive $16,000 in TEACH Grant loans just for your undergraduate education), so it’s more than worth looking into if you’re interested in becoming a teacher.

GREAT Article and it gave me hope. I’m a Graphic Designer and many programs do not offer assistance to Creatives. It’s tough! My Federal Loans are $50,000 + I have Private loans as well. The payments continue, but my balance has barely moved in 10yrs. Question, I checked out Ameritech Financial, the company you suggest, but they DO NOT service Colorado. I’ve exhausted my efforts and need HELP! Does Anyone have suggestions for Companies/Institution that assist with Federal Student Loan Evaluation in Colorado? Do want to get scammed!!
Moving your loans to a private lender or grouping your government debt with a new federal loan servicer could be the turning point of your repayment. If you’re unsure which route to take, consider scenarios when refinancing makes sense or whether consolidation would be wise in your case. In the end, the best decision is the one that’s best for you.

I was hoping you could clear up some terminology for me. I have two types of loans (“FFEL Stafford Subsidized” and “FFEL Stafford unsubsidized”) which have been consolidated in to two “FFEL consolidated” loans. Is it true that any time I see the term FFEL that means it’s not direct and does not qualify for PSLF? I thought I understood this, but on the studentaid.ed.gov in the glossary it says: “Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans are sometimes called “’Stafford Loans’.” That makes it sound like any Stafford loan is a direct loan.
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