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Need Student Loan Help?

Since I’ve had the honor of answering all of the financial questions on the Steve Harvey Morning Radio Show lately, I’ve received literally hundreds of e-mails around student loan debt and default alone.

One thing I can tell you for sure is that no matter where you are in the process, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! This is a battle that many people are facing and fortunately, there are a lot of great (although little known) resources online to help you get through the process.

Here are a list of quick tips and websites to help you navigate your student loan repayment options ASAP:

Help with Loan Repayment Options?

I think the Repayment Estimator over at Federal Student Aid site has a great list of what’s available, but keep in mind that    you may not see all of the same options listed when you go to your lenders site, so pay attention. The site is http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans. You can get details on just about every repayment option available and how they stack up against Standard Loan Repayment which gets you paying the most up front, but out of debt faster.

After you choose a repayment option, listen to my FREE Audio Series HERE. I help you create a realistic plan to really pay your debt off (in half the time) using the money you’re already making PLUS I cover some other pretty important stuff (mindset shifts + profiting from your gifts) you need to know to achieve your financial goals.

Help with Loan Consolidation?

For loan consolidation, check out www.alltuition.com.  They break down the ins and outs of loan consolidation so that everyday people like you and I can understand what it is, the pros and cons and any other pertinent info. You’ll notice that they charge a fee ($59) to help you actually get your loans consolidated, but you don’t have to use them for that. Just learn the terminology and then head to www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov where you can use the official government site to start the process if you qualify.

Help with Loan Forgiveness?

The most common loan forgiveness program is called the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program intended to assist individuals who work full-time in public service jobs.With this program, after you’ve made 120 on-time payments(that’s 10 years) and been employed as:

    • emergency management
    • military service
    • public safety or law enforcement services
    • public health services
    • public education or public library services
    • school library and other school-based services
    • public interest law services
    • early childhood education
    • public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly

If you think you qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, visit studentaid.ed.gov and download the Employee Certification Form. If you haven’t hit your 10 years yet, at least you know what you need to do early and that’s starting with making sure you make every payment on time!

Help with Loan Default?

If your federal loans are already in default, that means you’ve likely gone about 9 months without making a payment or placing your loans in deferment or forbearance. Unfortunately, once you’re in default it’s highly unlikely for your lender to do either courtesy option for you. The best you can do is try to consolidate (see above) or look into Rehabilitation Programs.

To qualify for a rehabilitation program, you’ll have to contact your loan servicing company directly and see what they have available. Once you opt-in, you have to make at least 9-10 qualifying, on-time student loan payments. If you miss any payments, you have to begin the repayment schedule from the beginning.

If you complete the repayment schedule, the guarantor transfers the loan to a normal lender and servicer. Then the loan is considered to be out of default and back into repayment.

*Keep in mind, however, that this is all for FEDERAL loans. If you have a private lender, you’re in default after you miss one payment (yea, just like all your other debt!)

 You Have No Idea What Types of Loans You Have or Where to Start?

Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at www.consumerfinance.gov/paying-for-college/. The mission of this federal agency is to make sure that consumers get the information they need to make the financial decisions they believe are best for themselves and their families—that prices are clear up front, that risks are visible, and that nothing is buried in fine print. Not bad, right? . . . If you take their informal quiz (a bunch of questions you can answer Yes, No or Unsure to), they’ll guide you down the right path to getting the help you need.

If you really – and I mean really – have no idea who your student loan servicing companies are at all, register at the National Student Loan Data System http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/. You’ll have to provide your personal info, but these guys are the nation’s central database for any federal student loans or grants attached to your social security number.

That’s our Q to your A!

Was this info helpful? What else do you need to know about student loans? Tell us so we can add to this post and help others.

Patrice C. Washington

Patrice C. Washington

Known online as the Wisdom & Wealth Money Maven, Patrice C. Washington is author of the personal finance series, Real Money Answers, as well as creator of The Mindset + Money Master Class, a step-by-step formula to help you create the money mindset and skill set necessary for lasting personal finance success.
Patrice C. Washington

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