Try these affordable ways to repay student loans
There's been a lot of buzz about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's findings that one in every eight federal student loan borrowers is in default to the tune of $89.3 billion.
It's been getting that attention for good reason. Federal student loans are crushing recent graduates and stymieing their financial health. Plus, default rates are about triple what they were 10 years ago.
But the part of the analysis that we found disturbing is that troubled borrowers are not using repayment plans that would tie monthly payments to their income and forgive part of the debt after they make 120 on-time payments.
If you're one of those borrowers, please, please, please look into one of these options:
If you are a new federal loan borrower as of Oct. 1, 2007, and received a payout from a federal loan on or after Oct. 1 2011, look into the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan.
It requires you to pay 10% of what you make that's over the federal poverty line. Your balance will be forgiven after 10 years if you work in the public sector and make 120 on-time payments or after 20 years if you work in the private sector.
You must prove financial hardship to qualify. But if your payments under a standard 10-year repayment plan are higher than what you'd pay here, that's enough. Federal Family Education Loans cannot be paid back through Pay As You Earn.
If your loans date to before Oct. 1, 2011, you can still change your federal loans to an Income-Based Repayment Plan.
Here, you would pay 15% of your discretionary income, which is your income minus the poverty guidelines for your family size. Your balance will be forgiven after 10 years if you work in the public sector and make 120 on-time payments or after 25 years if you work in the private sector.
If your payments under a standard 10-year repayment plan are higher than what you'd pay here, that's enough to qualify. Once again, Federal Family Education Loans cannot be paid back through the Income-Based Repayment Plan.
Defaulting on a student loan will not only ruin your credit, it won't go away.
Signing up for one of these plans will bring that loan out of default and put you on the path to paying it off.