We get this question all the time, so here's a PSA/Sticky.
Text from /u/betsy514:
There is almost never a reason to pay anyone for help with your student loans. There isn't a person or entity on the planet that can get you a lower payment or forgiveness that you can't get for yourself - for free - by working with your loan holder or the various free resources.
There is usually nothing illegal about these services - unless they are deceptive as to what they are offering. They are simply document processing services. They do not have magic wands or special contacts or intel on the student loan industry.
If it sounds too good to be true it is. If they say they are associated with the feds or your loan servicer - they probably aren't.
Read these things https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/announcements/debt-relief-message
If you have additional resources or comments, please leave them below and I can build a more permanent and comprehensive sticky post.
Edit: Nerdwallet has a list of companies to avoid: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/dont-trust-companies-student-debt/#watchlist
Edit: Also, you may see targeted ads based on the debt relief from schools with fraud issues or closures: https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/student-loan-ranger/articles/2017-07-19/dont-fall-victim-to-debt-relief-companies
Edit: FTC cracking down on some of these companies, with list of names to avoid: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2017/10/ftc-state-law-enforcement-partners-announce-nationwide-crackdown
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) started in October of 2007, and it's now 10 years later, so the question of "has anyone actually gotten their debt discharged with PSLF yet?" has been coming up pretty regularly.
Only borrowers that jumped on the program immediately will be eligible for now, and that number is pretty low.
Rather than making a new thread, please read the threads linked below first. Post any questions in this thread. If you're one of the first to get your loans discharged, we'd love to hear about it.
In December, 3.5 years after graduating, I will be debt free after paying off a whopping $115,000, on an average salary of $68,000 :)
I did a hundred million side jobs (Taskrabbit, tutoring, caring for elderly, furniture assembly). I lived out of my car for nearly a year. I budgeted every single dollar every single day, and I still saved up money to go to the Grand Canyon, Mexico City, Alaska, Hawaii, and South Korea during this time. No secret inheritance or prior savings, just good old fashioned budgeting, mindful saving, and mindful spending. To say I did this entirely without help would be a lie (my dad pays my car insurance and my friends occasionally treat me to a meal or two), but for the most part it has just been hard work and discipline. The loans are currently down to $12,000 (about a tenth of the original amount), and by December they will be gone gone gone!
And soon, it will be time to party. I plan on hosting a big party with all of my friends and a giant banner that says "$115,000" that I'll tear to shreds at some point. And yes, you better BELIEVE after paying nearly $150,000 (if you include interest) that it's gonna be a potluck.
I was hoping for some fun, creative ideas for things to do at the party. Examples... have one of those gender-reveal cakes that you cut into, only instead of pink or blue MnMs it's just Monopoly dollars or a bunch of (boiled and cleaned) coins. Speaking of Monopoly, I could host wearing a Monopoly-man costume. And maybe at one point I could cut up a bunch of fake credit cards or something... I'm losing creativity, help!!! Ha ha ha.
Any ideas? :D
Edit: People are asking for the deets so here we go: I graduated with a mechanical engineering degree, got a job as a quality engineer at 60,000 without a 401K. Worked that job for two years (got a small 3% raise a year in), then got a new job as a Technical Trainer for $75,000. Celebrated pay raise by opening up a 401K at 4% contribution, not a TON but a good start. Worked that job for 1.5 years, boom all paid off.
On weekends, I often worked TaskRabbit jobs, tutoring, or cared for elderly. I tried to make around 100$ extra a week. In total, I earned around $5000 doing side jobs. My dad paid for my car insurance and occasionally helped with minor car maintenance (like oil changes). This does not include gas or major maintenance like tires.
Year 1: I lived with my dad (no rent). 1/3 paycheck went to taxes/health insurance and stuff, a little under 1/3 went to minimum monthly payment for student loans, a little under 1/3 was THROWN at the largest loan. I saved around $2000 a year to go on a trip somewhere (alaska, hawaii, etc), which I saved for at the START of every year. I had the entire year planned out in a budget sheet, broken down into: money I get with my paycheck, weekly expenses, monthly expenses, yearly one-off expenses (vacation, tattoo, etc.). I lived off of $100 a week. $30 of that went to gas, the rest to food. If I had to pay for something else (a new shirt, etc) I found a way to make it work in my budget (usually by stealing leftover food from meetings at my work). One day I had a panic attack because I was hungry and wanted a medium soup, but it was 1$ extra from the small, and my budget was just SO tight that I freaked out and started crying. It was harsh, but since it only lasted 1 year I would say it was worth. I went to Hawaii this year, and camped every night AND brought my own food instead of staying at hotels and eating at restaurants, to save money.
Year 2: Rebudgeted for the new year. I lived in my car. Living with my dad, as much as he loves me, was impossible. I live in Southern California so the weather makes this possible year round, but yes, I did have someone try to break into my car knowing I was in it at 2am one night (might be worth mentioning I'm a girl?). That being said, I'd move into my car again in a HEARTBEAT if I had to, it really wasn't that bad, and that attempted break-in was partly my fault because I stupidly parked 2 blocks away from a bar. If you're smart about it, you'll be fine. Anyway, same plan as Year 1, except, having paid off a couple big loans, I increased my weekly payments (food and gas) to 130$ a week. HUGE life difference when I did this. I went to northern alaska and did a big backpacking trip, planned it all myself, again no hotels and brought my own food. I also started going to therapy every week, which I had to find a way to fit into my budget (but with health insurance this wasn't too bad).
Year 3: This was the year I got the new job. I found an apartment with friends for rent/utilities at $500 a month (for me personally, not split amongst ourselves.). I increased my weekly spending to $160 a week, where it shall remain eternally. I also opened a 401K, and rebudgeted. This year I went to Mexico City (which I paid for on my own, but found great deals with airlines and hostels), but I tagged along with a friend on a business trip to South Korea. Had to pay SOME, but not a lot because his business paid for it. At this point, I did get a lucky break. My dad saw how hard I was working, and how much progress I was making and he decided to help (he got a raise at work that made this possible). In total, he gave me about $3500, which is NOT insignificant, but not game-changing.
Year 3.5: Pretty much the same as year 3.
Important note: I never never consolidated my loans, instead I paid off the highest one with the highest interest rate, then the second highest, then third, etc. I truly believe this was KEY to my success, as consolidating my loans would have made it so much harder. Also, this is getting long as hell, but I cannot stress enough how obsessively I budgeted. I had the entire year planned before it began, including any one-off expenses I wanted to pay for that year (Christmas gifts, trips, tattoo, etc), and I tracked every single goddamn dollar like a madwoman.
Hello all I have a question for you
Recently my parents filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. My dad had recently lost his job and ultimately took a pay cut, making their exorbitant credit card debt impossible. When they filed, they did not include their parent plus student loans in the debt they wished to remove because they believed that student debt was permanent. After there proceedings, my mother checked her credit report to find that the student debt in her name had been marked as fully paid "due to bankruptcy". She contacted their lawyer and the lawyer stated that they included the student debt in the filing and that the loans were taken care of.However, when I recently called the creditor for plus loan they stated that they could not see the balance due to the bankruptcy proceeding but were certain that student debt could not be erased apart from extremely rare conditions were met. While I wait the 60 days for the bankruptcy to finalize, I'm stuck in limbo wondering whether the debt has been erased or not. Who should I believe in this situation?
I’m sorry if this is the wrong place for this, but I needed this off my chest. I let my loans default and got a letter from DoE about it. Pay the collector before we garnish your wages. Fine. I made payment arrangements and followed through on them.
I learn on the last payment that my first payment was reversed and then reapplied to my account. This tiny blunder on the collector’s part prevented the DoE from seeing the first payment at all, so guess what: they are garnishing my wages.
I made the agreement, ponied up all the cash, and now they’re taking the amount of my first payment out of my wages via garnishment even though I never saw that money reversed back to me.
You know, if I had that cash returned, this would be a non issue. I’d pay it right now. But now the DoE can’t see the payment, the collector says they can’t see my account since to them it has been closed, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it until the collector opens again on Monday.
I’m trying to knock this out like a responsible adult, but now I just feel like I’m being taken advantage of. Feels bad man.
Rant over. Advice is welcome.
Deb Erdley, writing for Trib Live, reports that Arianne Gallagher knew attending law school at the University of Pittsburgh would require taking on a lot of debt.
The native of Chicora, a tiny borough in Butler County, already had borrowed for her undergraduate education from Pitt but believed she could handle more debt and tap the federal government's income-based loan repayment plan to repay the money. The plan allows borrowers who work public service jobs to pay a percentage of their income every year and then forgives any remaining debt after a decade.
Like thousands of others, Gallagher counted on student loan payments being akin to paying rent or car payments.
That is not the case.
Today, she is a plaintiff in one of 10 class-action lawsuits filed against the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency that have been bundled in federal court in Philadelphia. The plaintiffs -- borrowers from 10 states -- say they represent tens of thousands who have been saddled with additional debt because PHEAA cannot or will not properly process their payments.
The agency, which conducts its federal loan business as FedLoan Servicing, does not comment on pending litigation, spokesman Keith New said. But he maintains PHEAA is living up to the terms of its contracts with the U.S. Department of Education. The federal agency hired PHEAA to process payments on 7.6 million student loans, which represents about a quarter of the $1.3 trillion in federal student loan debt owed by 44 million Americans.
The consolidated PHEAA suit is the latest sign of trouble in the student loan arena.
I have two loans:
private loan = $23,287 (7.73%) federal loan = $21,430 (6.8%)
My credit score is 820. Currently, I pay $525/mo in student loan payments. I am $1,300 away from paying off a $7,000 credit card debt. I have $0 in savings.
Earnest approved a refinance for both loans and I can select how much I want my payment/interest rate to be. My question is this: is it better to choose a higher monthly payment (which comes with a lower interest rate of 5.25%) or a lower payment (5.66% interest rate) so I can take that extra money and have more liquid funds in savings?
Title. I want to pay off my unsub loan but I dont want to have to start making payments on the subsidized one until I'm out of grad school. Am I safe?
I was laid off this week, and I called up Great Lakes to get an unemployment forbearance on my loans. Right now, I have not signed my offered severance package because I am negotiating a few details, and I do not have unemployment benefits yet, which will take about 2 weeks to go through most likely. The guy on the phone said to apply for an IDR recalculation on my payment plan, because technically I have no income right now from either severance or unemployment benefits, so I would not be lying. Does anyone have any experience on whether or not this is advisable/legal? I will be getting unemployment benefits and I expect to sign my severance offer (2 weeks benefits). I don't want to lie on my application and get into any trouble.
And who should you consolidate it with? I have both federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans (no private loans).
EDIT: I found the answer. You need 30k debt to get a 30 year repayment plan. Will vary depending on your servicer. Most of them max out at 25 years.
I have been enrolled in auto pay for over a year and it just occurred to me that my Great Lakes account doesn't tell me that I'm actually getting the 0.25% interest reduction.
I looked at my National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), which shows a list of all my student loans and the interest rates and it's the same as what's shown in my Great Lakes account. I emailed them and they said the interest rates I see include the 0.25% reduction already. Unless this person is wrong, I've been enrolled with auto pay without actually getting the reduction. Has anyone experienced this before?
TL;DR How do I ensure I'm getting the 0.25% reduction in my interest rate?
tl;dr: I only have 12k in student loans with interest rates 4.2% and lower. I want to pay it all fast before I start saving for retirement/investing. My family is telling me there's no rush, and to start saving now. What should I do?
more details: I agree with the Dave Ramsey plan of use all extra cash to pay off debt, don't go out to eat, spend money frivolously, put every dime toward debt. Then, you can start investing and "become a millionaire." This is what I want to do. I want to put every extra dime I make (fresh out of school, full time job with lowish salary) toward my loans and have them paid off as soon as possible, I'm hoping as little as 3.5 years or less. I can afford a $250/mo payment this way and unbury.me says that will get me out of debt in 4 years, and I'm planning on making extra payments when I can as well.
I also need to get a car in March, so it looks like I will end up getting a car that costs about as much as my loans, and doing the same kind of plan ($250 4yrs). I would also (hopefully) want to pay that down as fast as possible too.
So, I want to pay off ALL debt before I start saving for retirement or investing in any way shape or form. The way I see it (and Dave Ramsey) is that once I'm debt free, I can save way more and end up making more money in the long run. My family disagrees, and keep telling me there's no rush to pay off the loans or car, and that I should start investing and saving now while I'm still paying down debt. They are telling me I can "make more from investing than the 4% I'm saving by paying my student loans off fast." What do you all think?
Thought you would find this,of interest. 96 people have received pslf and thousands have received a borrower defense discharge. https://ifap.ed.gov/eannouncements/091918FSAPostsNewReportstoFSADataCenter.html
Both numbers are higher than I expected. EDIT - it's not 300 for pslf but 96 - which is closer to what i expected. It's all in the spin i guess. Loan count versus borrower count
Last November (2017) my wages started getting garnished by my student loans. After adjusting my cost of living, and adapting to losing a lot from my paycheck, I was okay. I figured it would get them paid off and out of my hair finally.
However, this has began a chain reaction of not being able to make a dent in any of my other debts. I explain that i'm getting garnished, and it falls on deaf ears. Some have even attempted to join in on the garnishment fun.
So this week I contacted Pioneer Credit Recovery to find out if there was a way I could switch to something else. Per them...the department of Education dictates that once i'm in garnishment, i'm stuck in that hell for the remainder of the loan until it's paid off.
I don't buy it. Could this wonderful reddit community help me get myself out of this?
See situation above. I have 30k in federal loans on forbearance and 70k in private, consolidated loans. Right now my payments are about 1000$/mo. I am unable to work or find a job and can no longer make payments. None of my loans have co-signers, because they were re consolidated without them. What is going to happen to me?
Short form ...but still long; Ohioan here.
Both of my cosigners are deceased for over a year now. Both were my Grandfathers.
Got let go (downsizing) from my job last November and had to stop payments for several months. Threatened with default and etc. But I thought correspondence was only coming to me. (I'll spare the sob story but note I had to drain my fledgling 401k to keep my tiny apt & car. Live hours from family, next to no local friends, public transit is a joke. Have some sizable medical bills. Downsized and sold off everything I could. I live very sparsely now)
Notified Navient that they were still trying to contact one of my deceased cosigners back in late December of last year (when I had to stop payment in order to keep my apartment, hoping it would be temporary) and got an email from Navient in late January that they had updated records to show that the co-signers were deceased and they would stop contacting the immediate family and halt mailing things to the address of the cosigner. Along with not reporting to their credit agencies anymore. *Noted that my account would show them as cosigners but put their status as deceased.
Took me until June to find a comparable position to my old one. Even now, it's just a temp gig so I've been sliding toward default while trying to argue a better rate to pay while I hunt for permanent placement somewhere.
Found out Navient began calling one of my grandmothers again and as recently as last week was sending mail to her home asking for my deceased grandfather to pay up in vaguely threatening wording. This has only ever been an issue with one side of the family. The other side has never been contacted since my other grandfather passed.
My Grandmother had my Aunt, who is in charge of her finances and home, call Navient and she told me the rep didn't know why mail was still coming, and that hopefully they could stop it again.
So now I have an aunt and grandmother freaking out over these letters, afraid my grandmother is going to end up homeless, and the attorney they contacted said everything should be fine but they're still freaking out. I'm mad as hell that this is happening. I think it's awful, I feel awful.
I'm fine with them coming after me in the case of a default, which is their current threat. I have nothing more than a tiny apt and used car anymore. But I can't have them putting this stress on my grandmother and threatening her home.
Anyone know anything or have some advice? Their current 'offer' is about 60% of my monthly gross, so it's not happening.
I am a recent graduate. My first payment was due which led me to explore my repayment options.
In August, I requested to consolidate ALL of my loan balances which are all serviced by Great Lakes - I don’t have any private loans or any other type of educational debts. The total was a pretty big $71,000 but an affordable monthly payment for me.
When I was finally notified that my consolidation was approved, I checked in on my first due date to find that a mysterious additional account appeared on my profile - along with one new account for my consolidation balance.
The new account: a balance of $15,000+ that was due after a forbearance period ended on 11/1/2018. The account number matched an existing account I was aware of, but the balance of that was already included in my consolidation loan.
My consolidation account was for the correct amount of to solidify all my debts, but one additional problem I discovered is that my amount owed was about $70 more than what I selected through my repayment plan.
I finally got through to Great Lakes via telephone and I was told that they JUST realized that anybody requesting a consolidation recently has this issue on their account and they’re working quickly to resolve it. I also inquired about my payment amount; which the rep told me must have somehow changed arbitrarily because she couldn’t see any record of me changing it on my end (which she said happens accidentally with plenty of students).
So basically guys - check your accounts and loan records very well. My first thought was that I somehow missed these $15,000 loans and to submit an “additional loans to consolidate” form. Glad I didn’t.
TL;DR After consolidating my $71,000 student debt I noticed a new separate account “in forbearance” on my Great Lakes profile and a difference in my selected repayment amount (which is fixed). This changed what I thought was owed $71,000 to a whopping $86,000 and an additional separate loan payment due date. A Great Lakes rep told me they knew about the situation and it could be 10 business days to resolve. They confirmed they haven’t sent out a single communication about this.
Bottom line: make sure you look at your quarterly statement and ensure there isn’t some extraordinary charges and also make sure your monthly payment amount hasn’t somehow changed and you’re “underpaying”
38k is in private Navient loans. The remainder is in Federal loans. Can I pay these off in 10 years or less? Right now I’m living with my folks and I have to get a new (used) car. I would really like to get my own place in a year or so. Right now I’ve got no side hustles going.
Among the additions are support for same-day payments, payment by check, and paying from multiple accounts online. Going away are the ability to make bi-weekly auto payments, the ability to self-service change your due date in the dashboard, and viewing your payment history from before the switchover. Other changes include that a loan will be reported to all three credit bureaus, and monthly statements will be available. Dashboard and iOS app updates are planned too.
I have to start repaying my loans next month after 10 years of grad school. I am a little confused about applying for the IBR plan and could use some help please.
I have 16k in direct and 17k in FFEL. Do I still qualify even though it's not over 30k in either category?
For claiming income, I just started a full-time job in May and my current income is much higher than it was from my most recent tax return. Do I just use my tax return AGI and then update it next year?
Long time listener, first time caller here. I wanted to share something that happened to me recently that got in the way of me paying back my loans as quickly as possible. My hope is that anyone reading this in a similar situation can avoid this from happening to them.
Last weekend I moved from San Jose to San Francisco. I rented a 20' U-Haul truck to move all of my stuff. The ride from SJ to SF was smooth sailing up until the point when I pulled up to my new apartment. As I turned the final corner, I side-swiped a Porsche that was parked on the street, causing some pretty severe damage. I left a note for the driver with my info, and waited to hear from the owner.
I reached out to my insurance provider to find out if I had coverage, to my disappointment, I did not. Basically, my liability insurance policy only extends to rental trucks with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of 10,000 lbs or less. My truck had a GVW of 14,500 lbs. I purchased the insurance offered by Uhaul, but not the option that covered damage to other people's property. The credit card I used didn't cover my screw-up either. So I was out of luck.
The owner of the vehicle was very understanding, and took the car to a shop to get a quote. The damage is going to cost me $3,800 out of pocket to fix. I expected more, but this is still detrimental to my plan of paying off my loans within the year.
So, as a warning, make sure you are covered when renting a moving truck. For both the truck and third party damage.
TL;DR: Typical car insurance doesn't cover most U-hauls. When moving, make sure you have liability insurance!
They said within two weeks of disbursement (which was the 7th), and still no sign of it. Just a bill. Any experience with this?
So I was helping my stepmom out to check out how much is left on her student loan. She started with $16,000 nearly 6 years ago and has since paid around $20,000 with still around $6000 left. I know this is how loans work but was wondering is there any options she has in getting the loan reduced or forgiven at this point? She works at a retirement home, not sure if that qualifies for anything.
Any information would be appreciated, thank you!