Repayments for federal student loans have resumed and are now accruing interest. If you have concerns about making monthly payments, there are additional debt relief options available.
From his 2020 presidential campaign, President Joe Biden has promised federal student loan forgiveness for hundreds of thousands of borrowers. However, Biden’s big loan relief plan to erase between $10,000 and $20,000 of student loan debt for most borrowers continues to be struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Now, after a three-and-half-year pause (due to the COVID pandemic), federal student loans have once again started to accrue interest. On September 1, 2023, millions of borrowers were required to start making payments. But as the second biggest consumer debt category, repaying student loans can have a major impact on many borrowers’ financial stability. Therefore, thousands of individuals are now concerned about how they will be able to make monthly repayments. If you are struggling to fit student loan payments back into your budget, keep reading. You may be eligible for additional debt relief options.
Student loan repayment options
The best thing you can do if you owe on your student loans is to educate yourself on what kind of student loan repayment options exist. Understand what is available to you and figure out how to pay the least amount over time. Don’t get caught up in the possibility of student loan forgiveness, as Biden’s plans for this program will likely not pass. Therefore, try to make payments so you can avoid accruing even more interest. Below, we’ve listed some tools and resources to help you better manage your student loan repayments.
Use the federal loan simulator tool
When using the simulator tool, you will find out if you qualify for the Biden Administration’s Saving on a Valuable Education, or SAVE plan, a new income-based repayment plan that addresses income disparities among borrowers. While different types of income-based repayment plans have existed for roughly 30 years, SAVE is considered to be the most generous, cutting payment prices almost in half for undergraduate borrowers and providing zero-dollar payment plans for lower income borrowers who qualify.
Are you eligible for income-driven repayment forgiveness?
Most federal student loans are eligible for at least one income-driven repayment plan. Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans cap your monthly payments based on your income and family size. If your income is low enough, your payment could be as low as $0 per month.
Depending on the IDR plan, the remaining balance on your loans may be forgiven after 20 or 25 years of repayment.
Do you work in public service?
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) allows qualifying federal student loans to be forgiven after 120 qualifying payments (10 years), while working for a qualifying public service employer.
If you work or have worked in public service such as government (federal, U.S. Military, state, local, or tribal) or certain non-profit organizations, you might be eligible for the PSLF Program. Visit the Department of Education’s website for the latest PSLF guidance.
Are you a teacher?
If you are a teacher, you may be eligible for Teacher Loan Forgiveness for up to $17,500. However, you must meet the following criteria:
- You teach full time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income elementary school, secondary school, or educational service agency, and;
- You have a Direct Loan or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan.
Do you have a disability?
If you have a total or permanent disability, you may be eligible for a total and permanent disability discharge of your federal student loans and/or your Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant* service obligation. Learn more here.
Have you applied for Social Security Disability or Veterans Disability and were denied? Contact our experienced Social Security Disability attorneys today at 866-930-6435. We can help you appeal the decision so you get the benefits you need.
Apply for state assistance to help repay your student loan
Florida has several state assistance programs to help you repay your student loans. For example, Florida has a program specifically for nurses that helps eliminate debt incurred during nursing school. You can learn more about Florida’s programs here.
Find out if your employer offers tuition reimbursement
Some employers offer tuition reimbursement to help employees pay for school. Even better, some companies are now offering employees student loan repayment programs, where the company pays off portions of an employee’s student loan debt. Ask your employer if they offer any student loan assistance.
Discharge your student loan debt by filing for bankruptcy
This option is intended for individuals who are struggling to pay all financial debts—not just student loans. Filing for bankruptcy lets you erase or “discharge” many types of debt, such as credit card balances, medical bills, personal loans, and late rent payments. While student loans are not typically included in bankruptcy discharges, they can be.
To do so, you must first file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Then, you must file for an adversary proceeding to prove in bankruptcy court that your student loans are causing undue hardship and you cannot repay them. Proving undue hardship as it relates to repaying student loans is extremely difficult.
That’s why, if you are considering filing for bankruptcy and are struggling to repay your student loans, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney to represent you. Having good counsel on your side gives you the best possible chance of a favorable outcome.
Bottomline: Don’t ignore your student loan repayments
If you have federal student loans, your payments are due now. If you ignore your student loans, you will continue to rack up significant interest and debt. This means your student loan balance will continue growing while you’re not making payments.
Understandable, times are tough. We are currently in an economic crisis where inflation is making the cost of living extremely high. For most, money is tight right now. But try to make your minimum student loan payment each month. It is the only way to help make sure your debt does not get out of control or unmanageable. If you rack up serious debt, it could impact your ability to open a new credit card, buy a car or rent or buy a house.
Overwhelmed with debt? We can help.
Speak to our bankruptcy attorneys today at 866-930-6435
If you are overwhelmed with debt, whether that includes student loan repayments or not, the best thing to do is speak with an experienced and local bankruptcy attorney.
At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, our experienced bankruptcy attorneys understand how stressful filing for bankruptcy can be. If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy or regarding your current legal matter, don’t hesitate to contact our office. We provide free, no-obligation consultations so you can know the facts.