Question: “I’m 65 and I have $80K in student loans that’s keeping me from being able to retire. I just found out that my student loan provider is Navient, which is going out of servicing. And I Keep hearing about forgiveness programs. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do.”
answer: Many of us think of the student loan crisis as a young person’s issue, but in fact about 9 million Americans age 50 and older have student loan debt. Moreover, the loan amount owed to this group is rising faster than other age groups, data from the Department of Education shows. And experts say it’s common to postpone retirement because of debt. In short, your problem is going to affect a lot of people. Here’s what experts have to say about what you should do before considering refinancing — Some student loan refinance rates now start below 2% For some borrowers – for loan forgiveness.
Facing student loan debt or any other money struggle?
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First, note that servicing transfers can happen at any time, but there’s a lot of flux in the system right now, explains student loan specialist Anna Helhosky at NerdWallet. “Navient is going out of loan service, but all loans in its portfolio are being transferred to a servicer called Maximus. You won’t lose access to your log-in, account data or payment history when this happens, according to the Department of Education ,” Helhosky says. Adds Andrew Pentis, education finance specialist and certified student loan counselor at Student Loan Hero: “Make sure Navient has your most updated contact information.” Just because the servicer is changing doesn’t mean you don’t suddenly pay back all the debt — nothing changes about what you owe.
If borrowers want to have their federal loans forgiven, it is possible, but it may not be that easy. Existing forgiveness programs are being reformed such as leave for public service or if a student is betrayed by their school, but Helhosky says: “Don’t count on having a comprehensive apology.” Adds Pentis: “Forgiveness or relief has not yet been targeted for senior citizens or parents in debt on behalf of their children – although these would appear to be among the groups queuing up for help.” If you are employed by the government or non-profit organization, a Public Service Loan Forgiveness program can forgive the balance on a direct loan after you make 120 eligible monthly payments. Similarly, teachers who have taught full-time at some schools for five consecutive academic years may qualify for teacher loan forgiveness of up to $17,500. student aid.gov Take an even more in-depth look at these and many other loan forgiveness and discharge programs that can relieve you of your obligation to pay off student loans.
If you don’t deserve forgiveness, you’ll need to figure out how to pay off this debt. Is there any way to reduce your expenses, or increase your income, so that you can pay off loans faster? If debt seems like a huge burden each month, Pentis says, “Work with your new hire as soon as possible to confirm that you’re on the right repayment plan for your finances.” Helhosky recommends seeing if you may qualify for an income-based repayment plan that links your payments to your earnings. Helhosky says, “Keeping current may mean enrolling in an income contingency repayment that will set your payout at 20% of your discretionary income and extend the repayment for 25 years, after which the remaining balance will be forgiven. ” This can mean delayed retirement, but defaulting on student loan payments can result in loss of your Social Security payments, credit damage and fees.
Another option may be refinancing. Together Some student loan rates are now approaching record lowsRefinancing is an option that can save a huge amount of money, although it is important to note that there are risks, as you can see from our guide here. And unlike mortgage refinancing, student loan refinancing usually doesn’t have an origination or application fee attached. To get the lowest possible rates on refinancing, experts recommend that you improve your credit, streamline your finances, apply with a cosigner, get quotes from multiple lenders, shorten your loan tenure and Ask how to get more discount on your rate.