Serve Your Country While Tackling Student Loan Debt — Here’s How

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Serve Your Country While Tackling Student Loan Debt — Here’s How
If you’re looking for an easy way out of your student loan debt… this isn’t it. But if you’re ready to make a commitment to protecting and defending your country, you may find relief through a debt forgiveness program.  And you’d have plenty of company in your… company, since approximately 200,000 active duty members owe a collective $2.9 billion in student loan debt.  But as a service member, you have a few more options for wiping out your student loan debt than your civilian counterparts. So pay attention.  Military Student Loan Forgiveness If you’re ready to serve your country after graduating college, you have options for attacking your student loan debt. Although you can also qualify for other programs unrelated to your service, such as teacher student loan forgiveness or nursing school loan forgiveness, we’ll focus on the options that depend on your work in the military. National Defense Student Loan Discharge (aka Perkins Loan Forgiveness) If you served in a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area, you qualify for the National Defense Student Loan Discharge, which is part of the Perkins loan cancelation program (the Perkins loan program ended on Sept. 30, 2017).   Loans are discharged according to the following classifications: Up to 50% for four years for borrowers whose active duty service ended before Aug. 14, 2008. Up to 100% for five years for borrowers whose active duty service includes or began on or after Aug. 14, 2008. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) This is probably the most well-known forgiveness option — although “notorious” might be a better adjective for it. Out of the approximately 76,000 PSLF applications that were processed by March 2019, only 518 applications were approved. For those who didn’t major in math, that’s less than 1%.  Pro Tip If you make too much to qualify for an income-driven repayment plan, don’t bother with PSLF since the standard payment plan will leave you with nothing to forgive after 10 years. And the program that was supposed to fix the problem — Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF)? Yeah, it turns out the acceptance rate for that one nearly matches the original. Be prepared for a long wait — it takes a minimum of 10 years to qualify — and to follow a lot of rules in regards to the type of loan, repayment program and employment eligibility. To help you navigate the process, check out these seven essential questions to ask about Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Total and Permanent Disability Discharge If you become totally and permanently disabled during your service, you’ll automatically have your student loan debt discharged. (Your student loans also get canceled if you die, but let’s not consider that as an option, OK?) Prior to August 2019, you still had to fill out the TPD Discharge application, but now the discharge is automatic for veterans. Veteran Affairs will alert the Federal Student Aid office as to your eligibility. The office will then notify you, at which point you will have 60 days to decide if you want to decline the loan relief.  Pro Tip If you think you may go back to school again some day, understand that accepting the disability discharge could make it more difficult to take out future student loans. Why would you decline? Although the discharge isn’t subject to federal taxes, the discharged amount may still be considered income for state tax purposes.  If you don’t decline, your remaining student loan balance will be discharged and you’ll be reimbursed for any payments made following the date of the discharge. Get more details about the total and permanent disability discharge (TPD) program here. Repayment Programs for Service Members As a service member, you’ll find multiple programs that will repay some of your debts, but none of these programs forgives the loan and interest in its entirety — and all of the forgiven amounts are taxable. Armed Forces Education Loan Repayment Program Following a complete year of active-duty service, you’ll become eligible for benefits available through most branches of the service (sorry, Marines).  Depending on which branch you choose, you’ll see the loan repayment programs referred to as College Loan Repayment Programs (CLRP) or Student Loan Repayment Programs (SLRP). Pro Tip If you’re rehabilitating a student loan in default, you’re allowed an interruption in the consecutive pay period until after your qualified military service is completed. All of the programs repay direct federal loans (subsidized and unsubsidized); other federal loans may be eligible, depending on the specific program. And each come with enlistment and/or testing qualifications, so ask your recruiter about specific requirements for your program: Air Force: Soaring with the Air Force Reserve for up to six years could really pay off. Annual payments will be $500 per each qualifying loan or 15% of the outstanding balance, whichever is greater, for up to $3,500 for each year of satisfactory service. Maximum amount: $20,000. If you’re taking the legal eagle route, the Air Force has a three-year student loan repayment program for you. You can qualify after completing your first year as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer. Maximum amount: $60,000 Army: The Army has multiple loan repayment programs to choose from, depending on your status. For active duty members, the maximum annual benefit is a third of the current principal balance or $1,500, whichever is greater, for each year of service up to three years. Maximum amount: $65,000. Navy: For active duty members, the maximum annual benefit is one-third of the current principal balance or $1,500, whichever is greater, for each year of service up to three years. Applicants must be approved before shipping to RTC, according to Terrina Driscoll with Navy Recruiting Command. Note: To be eligible for the loan repayment program and 100% of your Montgomery GI Bill benefits, you must reenlist for additional three years  or have a 6 year Active contract. Maximum amount: $65,000. Coast Guard: For six years of service, you’ll receive up to $10,000 per year to repay loans at qualified minority-serving institutions. Maximum amount: $60,000. National Guard: You’ll need to enlist for at least six years for annual disbursements through the National Guard repayment program. Maximum amount: $50,000. Health Professions Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP) If you’re a health professional with student loans to repay, providing your services to the military could help you out of debt.  Both Active and Reserve members of the Army can receive assistance through separate programs. For example, nurses in the Army Reserve are eligible for up to $50,000 toward student loan repayment over three years of service. For the Navy, you must be a commissioned officer enrolled in the final year of an approved residency program leading to specialty qualification in medicine, dentistry or osteopathic medicine. The maximum award is $40,000. And if you’re Air Force, you’ll receive up to $40,000 to cover your health profession education in exchange for at least two years of service. Additional Student Loan Benefits for Service Members Even if you don’t receive forgiveness of your loans, you can deploy these reduced interest and deferment programs as a member of the military. Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Interest Rate Cap: Interest on student loans you took out prior to your military service is capped at 6% during periods of active duty. Military Service Deferment: You can postpone loan repayment during certain periods of active duty and while you prepare to go back to school following your active duty. 0% Interest: If you serve in a qualifying hostile area, you don’t have to pay interest for up to 60 months. HEROES Act Waiver: The Education Department waives many documentation requirements — think: updating your family size and income f [...]
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Can You Transfer Private Student Loans to Federal Loans?

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Can You Transfer Private Student Loans to Federal Loans?
Federal student loans can become private loans via refinancing. But there’s no way to transfer private student loans to federal. Borrowers who refinance federal student loans into private loans cannot undo this move and should understand its risks. Can you combine federal and private student loans? You can combine federal and private student loans, but... Ryan Lane is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rlane@nerdwallet.com. The article Can You Transfer Private Student Loans to Federal Loans? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Overwhelmed by Student Loans? Find Some Relief With Debt Forgiveness

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Overwhelmed by Student Loans? Find Some Relief With Debt Forgiveness
Ever wonder what life would be like if you could make your student loans disappear? It’s possible, but it isn’t magic.  Or immediate. Or easy. Or likely. (Sorry.) But considering the mounting pile of outstanding student debt in U.S. — at $1.5 trillion, student loans were the largest non-mortgage source of household debt in 2018 — we should at least consider every option for wiping it out, right? If your student loans have become more than you can handle, seeking forgiveness or discharge of your debt could be an option. Check out this Penny Hoarder guide to student loan forgiveness so you’ll know all your options. Understanding Student Loan Forgiveness, Cancelation and Discharge Before we dig into individual programs, let’s cover the ground rules. First, a word about words: Forgiveness, discharge and cancellation essentially mean the same thing when you’re thinking about your student debt — they mean you no longer have to pay the remaining balance on your loan — but the terms are usually applied in different circumstances: Forgiveness is usually used in cases where you qualify because of your job or employer.  Discharge typically refers to other reasons for not paying the debt, such as your financial situation.  Cancellation is a more general term that often covers both. All of the programs covered here are only available for federal student loans, not private student loans. And depending on the program, there are requirements for which types of federal loans qualify. Additionally, these programs typically take years to qualify for — sometimes as much as 25 years. There’s one exception to this rule, but it’s probably the least desirable way for getting rid of your debt. (Spoiler alert: It’s death.) Many of the options depend on your job. If you work in public service or choose a specific profession, you can receive forgiveness for a loan after a specified amount of time, during which you must document your employment. If you don’t have a job through which you can receive loan forgiveness, your other choices for forgiveness or discharge become limited to income-driven options or extreme circumstances, like becoming permanently disabled or your school closing. Additionally, although you might celebrate wiping out your student loans, understand that you might be trading your student loan debt for a big tax bill, depending on the program.  Pro Tip If you borrowed before July of 2010, you’ll need to consolidate your loans to qualify Public Service Loan Forgiveness and some income-driven repayment plans. In general, if your loan is wiped out because you worked in public service, you won’t owe federal taxes. And if you die or are permanently disabled, you don’t owe taxes on the forgiven amount (and neither do your survivors). Pretty much everyone else can expect to get a bill from Uncle Sam. But even if your forgiveness isn’t subject to federal taxes, you could still be on the hook at the state level, so find out beforehand whether you’ll be liable for taxes and plan accordingly. We’ve broken down the programs by work and non-work qualifications. We’ve also included “scam alerts” throughout since, unfortunately, there are plenty of unscrupulous individuals and companies out there who prey on the unsuspecting and often desperate people overwhelmed by student loan debt.  With that in mind, let’s dive in. Student Loan Forgiveness Based on Your Job If you’re committed to a life of helping others, whether it’s by working for the government or a non-profit or by choosing a public service profession, you could qualify for student loan forgiveness. This is not a commitment to be taken lightly, as it means you’ll have to ensure that your loans qualify, stay current on your payments throughout the process and stick with a job that qualifies for forgiveness.  And while you may graduate ready to give back through a career in public service, a lot can change over those qualifying years — whether it’s adding family responsibilities to the mix or simply realizing you don’t like your job. Pro Tip Scam alert! It’s illegal for anyone — including companies that offer to “help” you repay your student loans — to ask for your federal student aid user name and id. Never give that info out. “There is danger and risk with that because you don’t know what is necessarily going to occur,” said Melinda Opperman, executive vice president at Credit.org. “What if you change professions halfway through and you don’t do the whole 10 years? Circumstances change.” If you do change your mind and switch to a non-qualifying job, you’ll be responsible for paying the remaining amount you owe. Public Service Loan Forgiveness The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is probably the most well known, but for all the wrong reasons. Out of the approximately 76,000 PSLF applications that were processed by March 2019, 518 applications were approved. For those who didn’t major in math, that’s less than 1%.  And the program that was supposed to fix the problem — Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF)? Yeah, it turns out the acceptance rate for that one nearly matches the original. Pro Tip Scam alert! When it comes to federal student loan repayment applications, there’s nothing a company can do for you that you can’t do for free on your own. But if you have your heart set on serving the public at a government or non-profit entity and are facing a mountain of student loans, then the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program may be the way to wipe out your debt. Be prepared for a long wait — it takes a minimum of 10 years to qualify — and to follow a lot of rules in regards to your loan and employment eligibility. To help you navigate the process, check out these seven essential questions to ask about Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness No one goes into teaching for the money. But when student loans leave you thousands of dollars in debt, scraping out the payments on a teacher’s salary can be downright overwhelming. Fortunately, there’s a specific Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness program for those who work in underserved communities and/or subject areas.  Forgiveness will be dependent upon where you teach, what you teach and how long you teach, and the maximum amount you can receive is $17,500. But you can discover additional options for graduating from student debt with these teacher student loan forgiveness programs. Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Medical debt can be an additional burden for students, so nursing student loan forgiveness offer some help with the debt.  In addition to a couple of specific loan-forgiveness programs for nurses, you can also find debt relief through programs at some hospitals. Eligibility requirements can include holding an advanced degree, having a specific loan type or working in a specialized department.  Other medical professionals, including doctors, can find student loan relief at the national and local level through the Association of American Medical Colleges. Perkins Loan Forgiveness The Perkins loan program program ended on Sept. 30, 2017, but you’re still on the hook for paying off any of the Perkins loans you took out. That said, if you work in public service — including teaching, law enforcement and the military — you could qualify for a partial or total discharge of your Perkins loan.   Depending on your career, you could receive 100% loan cancellation for five years of service, which is distributed in annual increments. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Student loans!! 8/9/19 @ 1:07 PM J My debt 9/23/19 @ 12:05 PM [...]
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Amazon Prime Student | FREE 6-Month Trial!

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Amazon Prime Student | FREE 6-Month Trial!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Are you a college student? Check out this deal to get a FREE 6-month Amazon Prime Student membership! {Psst! Looking for other ways to save on college expenses? Check out our posts on 9 Ways to Stretch College Savings and How to Save BIG on College Textbooks.} FREE 6-Month Prime Trial for Students Amazon is currently offering a FREE 6-month membership of Amazon Prime Student to college students who have a valid .edu email address! As a student, you get access to all the regular perks of Prime! That includes FREE 2-day shipping, video streaming, Kindle Lending Library, and more. You’ll also get access to exclusive deals and promotions for college students. And after your 6-month trial is up, you can continue with a Prime membership at a 50% discount off the regular price!! Note: If you don’t want to continue after the free trial, be sure to cancel before your trial is up so that you don’t get auto-charged. Go here to sign up for FREE. [...]
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Nurses: Check Out These Student Loan Forgiveness Options Just for You

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Nurses: Check Out These Student Loan Forgiveness Options Just for You
Nursing requires patience. (Get it? Patients? Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) But besides patience, it also requires a lot of money to complete a degree. The average cost of tuition for an 18-month Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program is about $10,000 to $15,000 nationally. Registered Nurses (RN) who get an associate’s degree typically take two to three years at an average cost of $31,000. Those who get a bachelor of science or beyond can expect to reach six-digit price tags, depending on their school.   The good news is that there are options for student loan forgiveness for nurses. Here’s what you need to know. Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Nurses Consider this a lesson in supply and demand: The best option for receiving loan forgiveness is to work in an area where there’s a shortage of nurses.  Some programs are relegated to only registered nurses or those with an advanced degree, so know the requirements before you apply. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) administers two loan repayment assistance programs specifically for nurses: the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program and Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program (NCLRP) The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program is designed to help nurses who can commit to two to three years of work where there is a critical shortage of nurses in the U.S. Depending on your level of need and where you work, you can get up to 85% of your U.S. nursing education debt paid by this program. The biggest downside to this loan: The award is taxable; however, federal taxes can be deducted from the amount.  Who’s Eligible for the Loan? You’ll need to be a licensed registered nurse, advanced practice registered nurse or nurse faculty to qualify.  The awards are tier-based, categorized by where there is the greatest shortage of nurses, and preference is given to those in most financial need. For an initial two-year commitment to working in a Critical Shortage Facility or serving as nurse faculty in an eligible school of nursing, you can receive an award of up to 60% of your loan balance.  Depending on availability, you’ll have the option to extend to a third year to receive an additional 25% of your original balance.  Which Loans Are Eligible? All federal loans and private commercial loans that covered tuition and reasonable expenses for your nursing education are eligible, so long as none has been in default. You must be a U.S. resident and have attended an accredited school of nursing in a U.S. state or territory to be eligible for this program.  How to Apply Submit your application through the Bureau of Health Workforce portal.  National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program The NHSC Loan Repayment Program offers two big benefits that the NCLRP doesn’t: The award is not taxable. You’re eligible for the program if you work full time or part time. However, the program’s eligibility requirements are fairly steep and employment is restricted to NHSC-approved service sites. Who’s Eligible for the Loan? For nurses, the program is limited to nurse practitioners, psychiatric nurse specialists and certified nurse mid-wives.  Like the Nurse Corps, this program is tier-based according to areas where there is a shortage of nurses. Working full-time at the highest tier can earn you up to $50,000 for two years of service, while part-timers can receive up to $25,000. You must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national to be eligible for this program.  Which Loans Are Eligible? Outstanding government (federal, state or local) and private student loans for undergraduate or graduate education are eligible. How to Apply The 2019 deadline has closed, but you can sign up to receive notification when the next application cycle begins.  Alternative Nursing Loan Forgiveness Options Beyond the feds, other loan forgiveness options are available specifically to nurses. But again, these programs have restrictions and often require you to serve where there’s a shortage. State- and School- Forgiveness Programs Almost every state has at least one type of student loan forgiveness program that’s designed for those in public service fields, and most have loan forgiveness options specifically for nurses who are willing to work in underserved areas. How to Apply Check your state’s Department of Health website for eligibility and application requirements. You can also contact your college’s financial aid or alumni office to find out about forgiveness program options in your state and at your school.  FROM THE DEBT FORUM The Snowball Method for Paying Off Debt 1/11/19 @ 12:58 PM Guide to on-line debt consolidation 7/24/19 @ 11:19 PM Debt Reduction Plans? 7/31/19 @ 1:05 PM Student loans!! 8/9/19 @ 1:07 PM J See more in Debt or ask a money question Employer-Driven Loan Forgiveness Programs Some hospitals offer loan forgiveness awards to nurses, but eligibility requirements can include holding an advanced degree, having a specific loan type or working in a specialized department.  For instance, Duke University Health System’s Nursing School Student Loan Forgiveness Program awards full-time registered nurses up to $25,000 if they work in procedural areas. How to Apply In addition to asking the HR department at your hospital, you can check out this directory of hospitals with loan forgiveness programs. Other Loan Forgiveness Programs for Public Service Some of these programs aren’t restricted to nurses, but they are typically reserved for those in some type of service profession (like teachers or firefighters). Perkins Loan Cancellation The Perkins Loan Program ended on Sept. 30, 2017, but nurses and medical technicians with outstanding Perkins loans may still qualify for cancellation.  A visit to your tax accountant is worth the investment if you’re considering loan forgiveness, since your net worth is typically the deciding factor as to whether the forgiven amount is taxable. As a nurse you can qualify for up to 100% for five years of eligible service, depending on the type of loan you have and the date of the loan. How to Apply Contact the school where you obtained the Perkins Loan to learn its specific rules and application process.  Public Service Loan Forgiveness The Public Service Loan Forgiveness has gotten a lot of press lately because many of the early applicants found out they didn’t actually meet the requirements — the acceptance rate is hovering around 1%, according to a recent NPR report. However, we’ve covered which questions you need to ask to make sure you qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. And the good news is that the Public program does not restrict nurses to a specific program or area — you will need to be employed by a government or non-profit organization, though.  The terms “forgiveness” and “cancellation” essentially mean the same thing: You are no longer required to make payments on your loan because of your job.  You’re eligible to qualify for loan forgiveness after 120 payments, and you’ll need verification from your employer for each year of qualification. How to Apply Login to the Federal Student Aid site and use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness tool to determ [...]
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How to Wipe Out Student Loans You Took Out Before You Became Disabled

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How to Wipe Out Student Loans You Took Out Before You Became Disabled
Tackling student loans is tough enough, but doing it when you have a disability adds another element of stress to an already difficult situation. However, if you develop a total and permanent disability after taking out federal student loans, you are eligible to have your debts forgiven.  The process for getting forgiveness isn’t easy and can take years to finalize, unless you’re disabled veteran (more about that later). But if you’re struggling to pay, the discharge of your student debt could be worth your effort. Here’s what you need to know before you apply. How to Get a Student Loan Disability Discharge The government isn’t going to wipe out your student loan for a minor car accident — and maybe not even a major one, according to Melissa Opperman, executive vice president at Credit.org. “If you have a significant disability that can be documented — and I mean documented — sometimes federal student loans can be forgiven,” said Opperman, who noted that you’ll be responsible for providing updated documentation throughout the monitoring period.  “If somehow you miraculously heal, then it’s not forgiven.” Which Loans Are Eligible? The total and permanent disability discharge (TPD) program is available for the following loans: Direct Loans (aka William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program) Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) Federal Perkins Loans If any of your loans are in default and the government is garnishing your wages, the garnishment will continue until your TPD discharge is approved. Additionally, you can apply for the TPD program to forgive a Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education TEACH Grant service obligation. Who’s Eligible for Disability Discharge? To qualify for the TPD discharge, you must provide official proof that you are totally and permanently disabled. There are three ways:  Veteran Affairs  Veterans who become totally and permanently disabled during their service automatically have their student loan debt discharged. Prior to August 2019, veterans still had to fill out the TPD Discharge application, but the process recently changed. Veteran Affairs will alert the Federal Student Aid office as to who are eligible veterans. The office will then notify eligible veterans, who will have 60 days if to decide if they want to decline the loan relief.  Why would you decline? Although the discharge isn’t subject to federal taxes, the discharged amount may still be considered income for state tax purposes. Additionally, accepting the disability discharge could make is more difficult to take future student loans. If you do not opt out of the program, your remaining student loan balance will be discharged and you’ll be reimbursed for payments made following the date of the discharge. Social Security Administration If you qualify for a discharge based on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) requirements, the agency will notify the Federal Student Aid office.  The office will then send you the determination letter indicating your eligibility as well as a discharge application.  Along with your application, you’ll need to provide a copy of your SSA notice of award or your Benefits Planning Query indicating that your next scheduled disability review is within five to seven years from the date of your most recent disability determination. Physician’s certification A doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy/osteopathic medicine who is licensed to practice in the U.S. can certify that you are permanently physically or mentally unable to earn money in any field of work. How to Apply To apply for a TPD discharge, you’ll need to submit an application with accompanying documentation to Nelnet, the servicer that assists the U.S. Department of Education with the discharge process. After you contact Nelnet to request an application, the company will reach out to your loan holders to stop collections for up to 120 days.  This is considered your grace period to give you time to fill out and submit your application and supporting documentation, but if you do not submit your paperwork in the allotted time frame, your lender can resume collection activity. Pro Tip You only need to submit one TPD application to apply for a discharge of all your federal student loans and TEACH Grant service obligations. You can download a PDF of the application or you may request a TPD discharge application by email at disabilityinformation@nelnet.net or by phone at (888) 303-7818 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Although the application is eight pages, the form that you are required to fill out is only about half a page, asking questions like your name, date of birth, contact info and Social Security number. The remainder of the application depends on how you received your proof of disability: If your determination came from the SSA, you’ll need to attach a copy of that documentation. You also do not need to provide a physician’s certification. If you are submitting a physician’s certification, your doctor must complete and sign Section 4 of the form. What If You Need Help Filling Out the Application? Dealing with all the paperwork can be an overwhelming burden to someone with a disability, so you can assign someone to help with the application. If you want to designate another person or an organization to represent you, you’ll need to complete the Applicant Representative Designation: Total and Permanent Disability form. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Guide to on-line debt consolidation 7/24/19 @ 11:19 PM Debt Reduction Plans? 7/31/19 @ 1:05 PM Student loans!! 8/9/19 @ 1:07 PM J STUDENT LOAN DEBT 8/5/19 @ 1:32 PM See more in Debt or ask a money question If you don’t have someone you can trust, reach out to a reputable source for professional assistance — and be aware of offers that allow the organization to profit off your misfortune, advised Heather Jarvis, a North Carolina attorney who specializes in student loans. “There are people who are professional financial advisers or attorneys or who work for non-profit counseling companies who might be able to help,” she said. “They aren’t in the business of trying to make money on people who owe money.” Once you submit your application via the website, email address, fax number or mailing address listed on the form, Nelnet begins the review process. What Happens After You Submit Your TPD Application? Three things will happen after Nelnet receives your application: Nelnet will tell the holders of your federal student loans or TEACH Grant service obligation to suspend collection activity; you will not be required to make payments at this time. However, if your loans are in default and your wages are being garnished, that will continue until your TPD discharge is approved. It will review the application and supporting documents. If you meet the eligibility requirements, Nelnet will forward your request to the U.S. Department of Education for a final decision. If your application is approved, Nelent will notify you that your loans and/or TEACH Grant service obligation have been discharged.  It will also instruct your lenders to return any loan payments received after the date Nelnet received the SSA docume [...]
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What Is a Student Loan Grace Period?

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What Is a Student Loan Grace Period?
A student loan grace period is a stretch of time, after you’ve graduated or left school, when you’re not required to make payments. Here’s what to know about your student loan grace period and how to make the best use of this time. » MORE: How to pay off student loans fast How long is... Brianna McGurran is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: bmcgurran@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @briannamcscribe. Ryan Lane is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rlane@nerdwallet.com. The article What Is a Student Loan Grace Period? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Here’s How to Pay Off Student Loans 5 Years Faster Without Getting a Second Job

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Here’s How to Pay Off Student Loans 5 Years Faster Without Getting a Second Job
Let’s be honest with ourselves. We’re so ready to fire off an angry Tweet at Netflix every time our bill goes up a buck. So why is that so many of us won’t take a mere seven minutes right now to chop thousands of dollars off our student loans. Here’s the thing: You’ve probably had the same student loan company since you had acne and were eating ramen in the dorm room. And we get it. It’s easy to just let these things slide. But chances are, your student loan company is overcharging you. And something as simple as switching loan companies could help you shave hundreds of dollars off your monthly payments. The best way to find a better deal is to use Credible. It’s sort of like Kayak — but for student loans. It looks at your options from up to eight companies to make sure you have a loan that will give you the lowest monthly payment and the fastest payoff time. If you’re even a little curious, it only takes two minutes to see if Credible can help you pay off your student loans faster. Chances are, you’re going to find a better deal than what you originally signed up for. And that could mean saving as much as $350 a month — and paying your loans off five years faster. How She Shaved $350/Month From Her Student Loan Payments Sarah Ann Stanley, a 32-year-old product manager in Minnesota, was forking over $500 a month in student loan payments. Plus, she was paying close to 8% interest on multiple loans. Then, about two years ago, she looked into other options and decided to refinance — or replace her multiple loans with a single new one. Her interest rate was now 6.22%. Yes, that’s less than a 2% difference, but it shaved $350 a month from her monthly bills. Oh, and now she only had to manage one bill — not several. “I didn’t want to be 45 and still paying student loans,” Stanley says. “Now that won’t happen.” After a second refinance, Stanley is now able to pay off her loans five years ahead of schedule and save even more on interest. “Because so much of our money goes to this, it’s worth pushing the envelope and fighting for yourself and finding a better deal,” she says. Luckily, Credible makes it easy to fight for yourself — and who doesn’t want to get out of student loan debt a few years sooner? This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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What Is Student Loan Refinancing, Really?

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What Is Student Loan Refinancing, Really?
It’s understandable if your student loans are taking a backseat to other, more pressing matters, like finding a roommate, saving up for a car or meeting work deadlines. But taking the time to refinance your student loans can potentially save you a bundle on interest over time. If you qualify, refinancing can be a safe... Valerie Lai is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: vlai@nerdwallet.com. The article What Is Student Loan Refinancing, Really? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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If You Really Need a Private Student Loan, Here’s How to Do It Responsibly

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If You Really Need a Private Student Loan, Here’s How to Do It Responsibly
If you need to borrow money for college, you’ll want to start with federal student loans instead of private student loans. What’s the difference? Private loans typically come from lenders like banks or credit unions and tend to be more expensive, while federal loans come from the government and offer flexibility, with options like income-based repayment and loan forgiveness. However, you might need a private student loan if you can’t borrow enough in federal loans to cover your tuition and other college costs. If that’s the case, make sure to shop around for a good interest rate. One quick and easy way to do that is through Credible. Credible is a private-student-loan marketplace where multiple lenders will compete for your business. Whether you’re a student or a parent who’s co-signing a student’s loan, you can type in some basic information and see multiple loan offers within minutes. You can compare loan terms and interest rates, which start at 3.99% APR for variable-rate loans and 4.50% APR for fixed-rate loans.  It’s important to get the best interest rate you can find, because interest rates for private student loans can rise as high as 14%. A lower interest rate could save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Checking out these competing loan offers won’t hurt your credit score because Credible only does a soft credit pull to find you your pre-qualified rates. If you find a loan you like, you can apply directly on the site. Plus, none of your info is shared with the lenders until you’ve chosen a lender and loan option that’s right for you. So you really have nothing to lose by shopping around. Comparison-shopping is always a good idea, whether you’re looking for a new car, a new phone or a student loan. Credible makes it easy. Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Chase Launches Student Credit Card in Branches Only

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Chase Launches Student Credit Card in Branches Only
If you’re a college student who isn’t ready to throw a graduation cap into the air just yet, take a look at the hat Chase just tossed into the ring. A few months ahead of the new semester, the issuer has launched Chase Freedom Student, a credit card designed for those still in school. As of June 9,... Melissa Lambarena is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: mlambarena@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @LissaLambarena. The article Chase Launches Student Credit Card in Branches Only originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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8 Ways to Pay for College Without Student Loans or Your Parents’ Help

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8 Ways to Pay for College Without Student Loans or Your Parents’ Help
Parents aren’t perfect. Shocking, I know. So even though you may have been planning out your college career, your family’s financial situation may not have kept up with your dreams of campus life. On average, 34% of college costs were paid from parents’ income and savings, according to a national study by Sallie Mae. But families who have a limited income and haven’t been saving may not be able to help cover a higher education price tag. Including tuition and applicable fees, the cost per credit hour at a four-year institution is $301.23, according to a Penny Hoarder analysis of National Center for Education statistics. If an average bachelor’s degree requires 120 credit hours, the total price comes to $36,148 — not including room and board. Whether it’s by necessity or by choice, your parents could end up saying you’re on your own if you want to go to college. But that doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to a mountain of student loan debt or to skipping college altogether. But you do need a plan of attack, which is where we come in. How to Pay for College Without Your Parents’ Help You may not want to hear this right now, but paying for your own college education can actually be good for you (just like brussels sprouts or liver). Taking on the responsibility can teach you budgeting techniques and saving strategies that you might not have learned if your parents were picking up the tab. You can start saving on college by choosing a less-expensive school — here’s our list of the best college bargains by state. Once you’ve narrowed your choices, check out these eight ways to pay for college without money from your parents — or student loans. 1. Scholarships and Grants From Your School Already have a college in mind? Then the first place to start looking for scholarship money is the school’s financial aid office. If you’re still in high school, ask your guidance counselor for their help reaching out to the college. It’s important to know what money is available, so ask the financial aid officials about deadlines for applications, opportunities for need- vs. merit-based funding and options for renewable scholarships and grants. Pro Tip Some schools won’t consider you for any of their scholarships until you’ve submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Transferring from another college? Whether you started at another four-year institution or you’re continuing your education after completing your associate’s degree at a community college (a great way to save money, BTW), transfer scholarships offer a niche option. Here are 25 transfer scholarships we’ve found. 2. Federal Pell Grant Federal Pell Grants are need-based awards that are awarded on an annual basis (meaning you need to reapply every year). Use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply — here’s a step-by-step guide for filling out FAFSA. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,195 for the 2019–20 award year (July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020). The amount you get will depend on the four following factors, according to the Federal Student Aid office: Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The cost of attendance at your school and your specific program. Whether you’re a full-time or part-time student. If you plan to attend school for a full academic year or less. Filling out FAFSA requires your tax information, and unless you’re no longer a dependent, that means you’ll need your parents’ most recent tax returns. Providing this information doesn’t leave them on the hook for your college bill, but it could affect your financial aid package. Pro Tip To avoid debt, don’t take more money than you need. Accept free money (scholarships and grants) and earned money (work-study) in your financial aid package first, then student loans only as needed. If your parents won’t provide these details, there are a few options that you can explore. One option is to claim yourself as an independent, but that’s typically only allowed if you are over 24 years old, are married, have kids, are a veteran or can claim special circumstances. 3. Grants From Your State States use your FAFSA to determine your eligibility for state financial aid, so you get a two-for-one with that application (actually, it’s more like a three-for-one, since your school will probably use it, too). But some states require additional documentation, and their deadlines are not always the same as the federal ones. Note that most state grants are only applicable for in-state schools, but there are some state grants and scholarships you can use for out-of-state tuition. Check out your state’s FAFSA requirements for rules and deadlines. 4. Work-Study Program Federal aid doesn’t stop with scholarships and grants. If you’re able to work on campus part time while attending classes, you can apply for federal work-study (FWS), which is essentially federal aid you receive for working. Pro Tip IRS Publication 970 outlines 10 tax benefits that students can claim to reduce the income tax they owe. Read more about it on irs.gov. Work-study jobs typically allow you to earn extra money without having to leave campus — that’s helpful if you’re without a car or if making the hike from campus to a job would be cost prohibitive. But don’t expect a work-study program to cover all your costs. Under the FWS program, students typically work no more than 20 hours a week during a semester. And you won’t be allowed to exceed the allotted hours from your financial aid award, so don’t bank on overtime to cover extra costs. Learn more about on-campus job opportunities here. 5. Other Scholarships After you’ve talked to your college’s financial aid office and filled out your FAFSA, it’s time to get a little creative in your scholarship search. Start with your intended career. Corporations and professional associations often offer grants and scholarships for students pursuing degrees in related fields. As a bonus, researching and contacting these organizations early in your college career will help you make connections that can come in handy when you’re applying for jobs when you graduate. Pro Tip Some scholarship deadlines are as early as a year before college starts, so start applying during the summer between your junior and senior years. Also check out nationwide databases like Career One Stop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, and The Penny Hoarder, which has its own compilations of awesome scholarships — and weird scholarships. 6. Part-Time Job On-campus work isn’t the only way to make extra cash — and off-campus jobs don’t require you to qualify for federal work-study.   Among the other benefits of an off-campus job is the potential to earn more money than at a FWS job since you can work more hours and keep the job year-round. Additionally, you can potentially turn a part-time gig into a job upon graduation. Here are six tips to help you move from part-time to full-time employee. And if you don’t want to leave campus but still want to earn part-time or full-time money, check out our handy work-from-home portal for legit ways to make money from your dorm. 7. Paid Internship Internships provide on-the-job experience, which can help bolster your resume as your college career draws to a close. Not only does a paid internship offer the same potential experience as an unpaid version, it could actually improve your chances of finding a post-graduation job. Among the 2019 graduates who had an internship, 66.4% of paid interns received a job offer, while just 43.7% of unpaid interns were offered a job, according to the survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. You can start your internship search at your own college, whether it’s contacting the career services department, attending on-campus career fairs, reaching out to your alumni network or asking professors within your o [...]
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