Helpful Student Loan Information
Thank you for visiting us. We hope the following information helps you find student loan debt relief.
Federal or Private?
The student loan debt relief options below are available for federal student loans, only. If you have private student loans, contact an organization that specializes in private student loan debt relief. You can find more information about options for private student loans and companies who help at FinAid.
Income Based Repayment
Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is designed to reduce monthly payments to assist with student loan debt relief. If you need to make lower monthly payments, this plan may be for you.
To qualify for IBR, you must have a partial financial hardship. You have a partial financial hardship if the monthly amount you would be required to pay on your IBR-eligible federal student loans under a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan is higher than the monthly amount you would be required to repay under IBR. Your payment amount may increase or decrease each year based on your income and family size. Once you’ve initially qualified for IBR, you may continue to make payments under the plan even if you later no longer have a partial financial hardship.
Below are payment amounts at varying income levels.
|Annual Income||Your Family Size|
|Less Than $15,000||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0|
Alternate Repayment Plans
There are other repayment plans available which may help you reduce your monthly payment, including graduated, extended, pay-as-you-earn, income contingent, and income sensitive. For more information about these repayment plans and how to qualify, visit the Department of Education’s Repayment Plans page.
Am I eligible for a loan deferment?
During a deferment, you do not need to make payments. What’s more, depending on the type of loan you have, the federal government may pay the interest on your loan during a period of deferment. The following table provides situations that may make you eligible for a deferment of your federal student loan.
|Situations When You May Apply for Deferment||Deferment Available? (and for how long, if applicable)|
|Direct Loans||FFEL loans||Perkins Loans|
|During a period of at least half-time enrollment in college or career school||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|During a period of study in an approved graduate fellowship program or in an approved rehabilitation training program for the disabled||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|During a period of unemployment or inability to find full-time employment||Yes (for up to 3 years)||Yes (for up to 3 years)||Yes (for up to 3 years)|
|During a period of economic hardship (includes Peace Corps service)||Yes (for up to 3 years)||Yes (for up to 3 years)||Yes (for up to 3 years)|
|During a period of service qualifying for Perkins Loan discharge/cancellation||No||No||Yes|
|During a period of active duty military service during a war, military operation, or national emergency||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|During the 13 months following the conclusion of qualifying active duty military service, or until you return to enrollment on at least a half-time basis, whichever is earlier, if||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Am I Eligible for Forbearance?
If you can’t make your scheduled loan payments, but don’t qualify for a deferment, your loan servicer may be able to grant you a forbearance. With forbearance, you may be able to stop making payments or reduce your monthly payment for up to 12 months. Interest will continue to accrue on your subsidized and unsubsidized loans (including all PLUS loans).
There are two types of forbearances:
For discretionary forbearances, your lender decides whether to grant forbearance or not.
You can request a discretionary forbearance for the following reasons:
- Financial hardship
For mandatory forbearances, if you meet the eligibility criteria for the forbearance, your lender is required to grant the forbearance.
You can request a mandatory forbearance for the following reasons:
- You are serving in a medical or dental internship or residency program, and you meet specific requirements.
- The total amount you owe each month for all the student loans you received is 20 percent or more of your total monthly gross income (additional conditions apply).
- You are serving in a national service position for which you received a national service award.
- You are performing teaching service that would qualify for teacher loan forgiveness.
- You qualify for partial repayment of your loans under the U.S. Department of Defense Student Loan Repayment Program.
- You are a member of the National Guard and have been activated by a governor, but you are not eligible for a military deferment.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Did you know that if you work in a public service field (teacher, police officer, firefighter, etc) that you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness after making 10 years of on-time payments in a qualifying repayment plan? To learn more about public service loan forgiveness, visit this Department of Education website.
Help with Credit Card Debt: Credit Counseling
If you’re struggling to make your credit card payments, visit InCharge Debt Solutions, a nonprofit credit counseling organization with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. InCharge Debt Solutions will provide free budget and credit counseling and offer you a debt relief solution that works for your current situation. You may qualify for a debt management plan, where your payments are consolidated into one convenient monthly payment, with lower interest rates. Below are the benefits of debt management program:
- Consolidate credit bills into one easy monthly payment
- Pay off your debt faster
- Lower your interest rates regardless of your credit score
- Stop collection calls
- Eliminate late fees and over-limit charges
- Build a realistic budget and financial plan you can follow
Housing Help: Avoiding Foreclosure
If you are located in the state of Florida, visit the following link for Foreclosure Prevention services provided by HUD-certified non-profit housing counselors:
If you live outside of Florida, visit the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website (below), for a list of HUD-certified housing counseling agencies in your state:
About The Author
In his 40-plus-year newspaper career, George Morris has written about just about everything -- Super Bowls, evangelists, World War II veterans and ordinary people with extraordinary tales. His work has received multiple honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press and the Louisiana Press Association. He avoids debt when he can and pays it off quickly when he can't, and he's only too happy to suggest how you might do the same.