Sure, everyone who takes out student loans would love to be awarded complete student loan forgiveness. Just one wave of the magic wand by someone sitting in a federal office, and POOF! The loan is gone. But sadly, most people misunderstand what it takes to get there. Not everyone can apply and the rules are strict.
So, the first thing about getting a student loan is you need to be prepared to spend at least the next decade of your life paying it back. Depending on the amount you owe, monthly payments are about as expensive as a cheap apartment rental. For this reason, a large percentage of people default on their student loans.
In fact, but 2023, it’s estimated that 40% of borrowers will default on their loans. As the amount of debt surpasses $1.5 trillion and climbing, student loan forgiveness is the only hope a lot of Americans have. If that sounds like you, here are four facts you could consider:
1) Student Loan Forgiveness Takes A LOT of Time
Barring a fraudulent case, you’re not going to apply for forgiveness and get it granted within a few months’ time. There are even a lot of stipulations and conditions to receive it. Currently, there are three programs that offer it: PAYE, REPAYE, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
With the Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan, it’s a 10-year process. Therefore, you have to be a federal, state, or local service worker who makes regular (around 120) payments over a ten-year period to qualify.
PAYE (or Pay As You Earn) is a 20-year program for student loan forgiveness. This is more income-driven. There’s a revised (REPAYE) program that can take up to 25 years. These programs help former students pay less each month based upon their income. At the end of the day, they might not be worth the trouble.
2) Good Chance Your Balance Will Increase
Getting on a student loan forgiveness program might be helpful for a lot of students. They can pay lower monthly payments, but there’s a reason why it can take as long as 25 years. Accruing interest is the major killer here. The interest doesn’t stop accumulating and will likely grow your balance.
Every year, you have to re-certify your income. If you get a new job, a raise, or if your income changes under any circumstances, it can boot you out of the repayment program. You can even eventually take longer to repay than you would’ve done if you hadn’t joined the program. There are a lot of different scenarios to consider.
3) Student Loan Forgiveness Dollars Become Tax Debt
At the end of the day, you will have to pay off your debt. Any student loan forgiveness you receive only changes from loan debt to tax debt. That’s because the IRS still counts the amount forgiven as income you’ll have to pay taxes on. If you’re disabled or under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, this doesn’t apply to you.
4) The Future is Wide Open
Here at Financial Helpers, we’ve been regularly offering updates to the student loan forgiveness program. Each administration seems to have a different idea on the best way to offer help to students. The Obama administration created a lot of these programs at the height of the debt crisis, but the Trump administration seems to be more interested in protecting banks.
We recently reported that Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, was in favor of a tiered forgiveness program based on income. A federal judge ruled against her just last week. With this being said, there are a variety of different ways to pay off student loans quicker. There’s refinancing, repayment, and consolidation.
To learn more about your options and what plan works the best for you, call Financial Helpers today. We’ve love to hear from you. Our team of student loan debt experts is ready to assist in creating a plan around your budget and needs. You can call us at: