Student loan forgiveness: separating fact from fiction
There is a lot of information out there on student loans – but determining which material is the real deal takes a little bit of work. Luckily, there is plenty of accurate information available, and there are even steps you can take to determine what is legit. And once you are armed with that knowledge, you can move forward on the path of settling your student loans.
Consider the source
You don’t need us to tell you that celebrity magazines, while excellent for comparing who wore which clothing best, are not a good source of information for things like student loan forgiveness. The same goes for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any app that allows you to turn yourself into a cartoon animal in a selfie.
Instead, look for reputable news sites and sites focused on helping people understand financial situations – consider resources like Forbes and Clark Howard, which can help you determine what kinds of resources are the best options.
Look it up
Now that you know which websites and resources are the best for gathering information, it’s time to get to work. Get on your favorite search engine and start reading. Don’t just take the word of the first article you read – look for different sources and the consistencies they each report. You can also consult with your student loan officer to see what they can tell you. But we know you have a lot going on, so we did some research for you:
Watch for scams
Even resources that pass your initial test for legitimacy may still need a second glance to ensure they are a reputable business. It’s not uncommon for scammers to create websites or other marketing materials that look like an agency that can help you, but the truth is that they may wind up costing you a lot of money.
If a company asks for sensitive information, promises that your student loans will be immediately forgiven, or wants payments made upfront before they provide you with services, run, do not walk, to the nearest state attorney general’s office and report the company for the scam.
Find the right people
There is a bright spot in the student loan forgiveness world, and that is those resources that can guide you to actual, real aid when it comes to your loans, whether that means reducing your loan amount or working with you to repay your loan on a schedule that works with your income.
Head to the Federal Student Aid website to submit a request for an income-driven payment plan for your student loans. And while you’re on the website, check out the sections on how federal aid works and the aid estimation calculator to get a better sense of how the process works.
What about possible political changes?
You have probably heard that one of Bernie Sanders’ campaign platforms centers around total student loan forgiveness. His plan is to cancel all current student loans, regardless of how large or old the debt is. Everyone would be eligible, and he has not mentioned any type of limit to the loan amount.
While Bernie may out of contention for 2020, the idea continues to gain momentum in certain political circles. There are still questions remaining in regards to how exactly the $1.6 trillion of student debt could be canceled, such as the timeline and whether it’s feasible for universities to give up those funds.
It’s important to note that cancelling student loans would not mean they would be canceled forever – what people are talking about is current student loan cancellation, which means only those loans that have been currently taken out by students, parents, etc.
If a student needed a loan to continue their education, or decided to go back to school at a future date, they would still be responsible for procuring and paying the funds. There is also no repayment for those who have already paid off their loans.
Yes – just like your budget, you have to have a plan for your student loans. They will not go away because you ignore them. In fact, you are more like to end up in collections and will then have to deal with potential legal repercussions.
None of these steps will help you with your loans if you are not an active participant in making it happen. Start by opening up all that mail your student loan company sends you – they can probably answer a lot of your questions right off the bat.
Student loans aren’t anyone favorite topic to think about, but there are ways you can take control. Look for reputable resources that can guide you through paying off your student loan dent on a schedule that makes financial sense for you.