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Trouble With Student Loans (Also Includes Default, Discharge & Bankruptcy)

Pay Off Your Student Loan Debt Years Faster With Tricks That Anyone Can Do (Consumer-SOS)
Cut your loan repayment period by years even if you're dead broke and making just the minimum payments. Skip this link if you're not making payments.

Can't Repay Your Student Loans? (FFEL & Direct Loan Repayment Plans For Those With Financial Hardship)
Are you on the wrong payment plan? If so, you may be able to change to a better one. Learn the pros and cons of "Pay As You Earn" and "Income Based Repayment Plans". Not everyone qualifies for both. For example: The latter applies only to loans from between Oct 2007 and Oct 2011. Both programs may require you pay taxes on any loan amounts eventually forgiven.

Help With Private Student Loans: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Student Loan Complaint System
The Federal CFPB was created in 2010 to protect borrowers from abusive lenders. This new agency will work with you and your lender for a better payment plan. In a 18 month period from March 2012 through October, 2013, they received  more than 4,300 complaints about problems with private student loans. During this time, the CFPB has helped at least 330 student loan borrowers get compensation and close complaints. Lenders know that unresolved complaints could mean new laws very unfavorable to them; so they have good reason to cooperate at least to some extent.

Help With Federal Loans: The Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Ombudsman
The Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group is where individuals can turn after trying other ways to resolve a federal student aid dispute. Assistance request are generated from phone calls, letters and e-mails, and are classified as either general assistance or research problem assistance.

Delay or Postpone Your Student Loan Repayment If You're Pregnant, Unemployed, Etc.
There are good and bad deferments that can stop your loan payments: In a good deferment, the government pays all the accruing interest, so if you stop paying for 6 months, your debt is the same as when the deferment began. (For example, with federal subsidized Stafford Loans, the federal government pays your interest while you defer.) In a bad deferment, your loan payments stop as well, but you're still responsible for all the accruing interest, which is then tacked on to the rest of your student loan. These deferments should be avoided because this "quick fix" could get you into thousands of dollars of more debt. Please look for better options with the numerous student loan help groups listed here or elsewhere!

Common Situations Where You May Qualify For Some Kind of Deferment

  • When you return to school, or undertake medical residency or internship.
  • If you become unemployed, disabled, or experience a period of economic hardship.
  • While you’re pregnant, or caring for a newborn or have just adopted a young child.
  • If you’re a teacher in a high-need area.
  • If you work in public service.
Income-Based Repayment (IBR) For Federal Loans (1-800-433-3243) Even Fed Loans Consolidated by Private Lender May Qualify So Call Your Lender!!!!
Now Your Monthly Payments can be based on a percentage of your discretionary income, and not on the total amount your owe! Option available for federally-guaranteed student loans and Direct Student Loans. And if your monthly IBR payment does not cover the monthly interest that accrues on the loans, the government will pay your unpaid interest on Subsidized Stafford Loans (either Direct Loan or FFEL) for up to three consecutive years from when you first enter IBR repayment. May not apply to private loans that were not previously Federal Loans.
 
How Do I take Advantage of This Program?
1. Confirm You are not disqualified based on types of loans or other criteria and then re-confirm with your lender.
2. Get Proper Forms and Procedures from Federal Student Aid Information Center 800-433-3243.
    These may include a written letter from you requesting IBR, filling out a form 4506T, and providing proof of income such as your pay stub,
    or a copy of your unemployment check.
3. Find out From Lender or Fed Student Aid Center Where To Send Forms-Expect 10 Business Days To Process.

Help!!! I've Consolidated So Many Times I Don't Know What Types of Loans I Originally Had or If Such Are Excluded From This Program!
1. Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center 1-800-433-3243, key in your SS# and ask to speak to Customer Service
2. Ask "What Loans Are included in my consolidation?" And "Will any of these loans make me IBR ineligible?" (You can also get your lender's name and type of loan through the National Student Loan Database System for Students.)
If All Is OK,
3. ASK Them The Name and # for your Lender or Guarantor (or Google The Name for Their #)
4. Contact Your Lender For more Guidance.

Do I Have Private or Federal Loans And Who Owns Them?
If you aren’t sure what kind of loans you have, visit the National Student Loan Database System for Students and select “Financial Aid Review” for a list of all federal loans made to you. (Enter in your Social Security # and your PIN issued by the Dept of Education) Click each individual loan to see who the servicer is for that loan (this is the company that collects payments from you). It’s very important to know your servicer. This might be a different company from the original lender.

When Your Social Security Benefits Are Taken to Pay Back Money to the Federal Government
What type of benefits can be taken and how much. Applies only to federal agencies and the IRS may be able to take more than other agencies can.

Loan Discharge After 25 Years On Income Contingent Plan (Google)
Only For Certain Loans.

When You Can't Pay: Cancellation, Deferment and Forbearance (Nolo.com)
How to postpone payments--and when you can cancel your loans altogether. 

Student Debt Alert
Student Debt Alert is a national campaign led by and for students. Our two main goals: to educate the public about the growing necessity of student loans to pay for college; and to directly address young people's concerns about the burdens of student debt.


Paying Back Your Student Loan
Describes the deferments and cancellations for teaching in low-income schools or shortage areas and connects you to the Direct Loan Program, where you can consolidate your existing loans.  If your loan is in default, our Guide to Defaulted Student Loans can tell you how to get out of default.

Consolidating Your Defaulted Loans
(Direct Student Loans) 

Guide To Loan Disputes (US Dept. Of Education)

Loan Cancellation & Discharge (US Dept. Of Education)

Discharging Your Student Loans (FAQs)

Discharging Student Loans In Bankruptcy
 

Hardship Discharge & More
(Excellent)



Other Problems

Help! I've Already Paid Off My Student Loan
What to do if the Department of Education demands payment on a loan you've paid off. 

Student Loan Collections (Nolo.com)
What might happen if you fall behind on your payments. 

Getting Out of Default (Nolo.com)
How to rehabilitate your loans and get back on your feet.  

Getting Out Of Default
(US Dept. Of Education)

Guide To Loan Disputes (US Dept. Of Education)

Avoiding Late Payments (Consumer-SOS)

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Financial Aid Resources and Help With Loan Trouble

Student Loan Help Agencies When You're In Trouble
List legal help orgs, where to get assistance from guarantors and lenders and even how to get in touch with your legislators.

Help With Private Student Loans: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Student Loan Complaint System
The Federal CFPB was created in 2010 to protect borrowers from abusive lenders. This new agency will work with you and your lender for a better payment plan. In a 18 month period from March 2012 through October, 2013, they received  more than 4,300 complaints about problems with private student loans. During this time, the CFPB has helped at least 330 student loan borrowers get compensation and close complaints. Lenders know that unresolved complaints could mean new laws very unfavorable to them; so they have good reason to cooperate at least to some extent.

The Federal Student Aid Information Center (800) 433-3243
Provides financial aid applications and helps you fill them out. This agency can refer you to other public and private agencies for aid and scholarships.  Upon request, they will also give out copies of the formula that determines your expected family contribution.  Your expected contribution is the amount you must come up with to meet the gap in your award.  Make sure to ask for a free copy of their "Student Guide" which describes in detail available student grant and loan programs. 

Note, that not all schools qualify for federal loans and grants. Call this organization to find out which schools qualify for federal aid and which do not.  They will also tell you what colleges can and cannot do in regards to loans, grants and work-study programs.  You can even get the applicable regulation so you can quote it to your advisor or financial aid office.  For example, did you know that you are entitled to a copy of your expected award before the financial aid disburses your money?   Such is extremely important if you need to challenge your award or file an appeal.

Contact their consolidation department to find out how to best consolidate your loans.  They even have a borrower tracking service that can locate who is currently serving your loans and whether such are in default.  

www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov
Helps borrowers determine if consolidation is the right move.

Nellie Mae Student Loan Financing Service
(800) 988-4846
                                                           (800) 634-9308 
Call them to order their free book "Be Wise Borrower or booklets such as "An Early Planning Guide For Parents," "Steps to Success: A Comprehensive Guide to Preparing And Paying For College," and "Take The Right Road" (how to manage your student loans).

U.S. Department Of Education
(800) USA-LEARN
This federal agency offers a lot of information about college planning.  The "Think College Early" program encourages students and parents to plan early, with information for middle and high school students.

The Financial Information Page 
is sponsored by the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators.  It contains information on scholarships and grants, as well as warnings about fraudulent search firms. 

The College Board 
Web site contains a database of scholarship sources called Expan Scholarship Search.  A similar database is available in many libraries and guidance counselors' offices through a software program called Fund Finder, also from the College Board.

The Student Loan Marketing Association home page offers information on scholarships, grants and student loans.

The College & Career Center   
has sections on selecting a college, finding loans, careers, and a look at what campus life is at various schools.  The site also has a loan center where you can learn how to qualify for financial aid and get application forms and booklets. 

The National Association Of Student Financial Aid Administrators
Has extensive information on federal, state and private forms of financial aid. 

http://www.petersons.com/
Search here to find the best schools and graduate programs for you as well as information about financial aid. You can also apply to over 1200 schools online using the CollegeQuest eApply feature.

Direct Loans (Lots of Links)

Keenan Links On Financial Aid

Guidestar (800) 421-8656
Guidestar gathers and disseminates information on over one million 501(C)(3) organizations.  Their goal is to change the culture of philanthropy by showing the public who they can give to.  Guidestar's extensive database classifies each organization by subject and can find donor organizations willing to assist you.  


Sallie Mae Student Loan Financing Service

Call their College Answer Program Hotline toll-free for information about college costs and financial aid programs.

Foundation Center (800) 424-9836
They can direct you to funds specifically earmarked for higher education.

The Council On Foundations
Provides contact numbers for local foundations.

Americorps (800) 942-2677
Established under the Clinton Administration, this agency allows students to repay their loans through community service.

College Answer SM (Sponsored By Sallie Mae) (800) 891-4599
This organization offers advice on filling out financial aid applications and information of federal college loan programs.

Toll-Free Directory 1-800-555-1212
Use this free directory service to see if your help agency has a toll-free number.  

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How To Kill Off Your  Student Loan Debt and Pay It Off Years Faster

  1. Lower Your Interest Rates Through Automatic Direct Withdrawals and Ask For Other Discounts  (Your lender may have discounts: for a good credit score, a good payment history or for anything else, You lose nothing by asking: The smallest interest reduction could save you thousands!)
  2. Pay Half The Monthly Amount Every Two Weeks, and make sure your lender immediately applies your payment to the loan and doesn't wait until the payment due date. (See Chart showing how this shaves off 2.5 years from a 20 year loan)
  3. For Consolidated Loans, Get Lender To Pay Off Loan With the Highest Interest Rate With Any Extra Payments You Make - See  Form Letter To Send Lender
  4. Make Slightly Higher Payments (Reverse of Compound Interest-A little extra can help you pay your loan off years faster. Use IBR Program To Free Up Money to Pay Off Your Private Loans That Don't Qualify)
  5. Budget Better And Save Money-Learn Simple Tips To Free Up More $ For Student Loan Debt. A little each month goes a long way over time.
  6. Get Your Loan Forgiven in 10 years Through The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program And Similar Programs. (reduced payments under IBR and ICR programs count as full payments toward your loan forgiveness!)
  7. Law Grads: Find out If You Qualify For A Loan Forgiveness Program.
  8. Get Your Loan Forgiven in 20-25 Years Through IBR,ICR or Pay As You Earn Affordable Payment Programs. (Warning as or 2013: you will still owe taxes on any balance that is forgiven!)
  9. Lobby with Special Interest Groups To Pass Student Loan Laws That Really Matter

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Lower Your Interest Rates Through Automatic Direct Withdrawals and Ask For Other Discounts

4 Ways To Pay Off Student Loans Faster
Lower your interest rates through direct deposit discount or other Discounts  (Ask Your Lender if have discounts: may offer such for good credit score, a good payment history, etc) Make More Frequent Payments-Pay half the amount every two weeks-Ask lender to immediately apply your payment to the loan and not wait until the payment due date.
Make Slightly Higher Payments (Reverse of Compound Interest-A little extra can help you pay your loan off years faster.)
Budget Better And Save Money-Learn Simple Tips to free up more Money for Loan Deb, even if just a little.

Just Who Owns My Loans And What Types Do I Have-Federal or Private? 800-433-3243
If you aren’t sure what kind of loans you have, visit the National Student Loan Database System for Students and select “Financial Aid Review” for a list of all federal loans made to you. (Enter in your Social Security # and your PIN issued by the Dept of Education-you may need to get a new PIN) Click each individual loan to see who the servicer is for that loan (this is the company that collects payments from you). It’s very important to know your servicer. This might be a different company from the original lender. If you can't find this info on line, call their helpline and ask for the name and # for your Lender or Guarantor. Then contact your lender directly for more guidance.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Private Student Loans)
The Federal CFPB was created in 2010 to protect borrowers from abusive lenders. In a 18 month period from March 2012 through October, 2013, they received  more than 4,300 complaints about problems with private student loans. During this time, the CFPB has helped at least 330 student loan borrowers get compensation and close complaints. 

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Pay Half The Monthly Amount Every Two Weeks
Shave off years of payments.  This works for two reasons.
1. By paying early, you're paying off on the principal, which then reduces the accruing interest.
2. You wind up making 26 bi weekly payments instead of 24. (If you get an extra paycheck during the months with 5 weeks, apply such to your student loans)

Paying Off Your Debt Faster Through Bi Weekly Payments And Other Low Cost Tricks
Pay off your loans months or years faster at almost no extra cost. Also has other tips and a chart on the difference it will make.

Prepayments Explained-Why It Reduces Interest And What To Tell Lender
Has charts with the interest you'll save and how it reduces the over all length of your loan repayment period-when you make extra monthly payments periodically for various loans.

Is It OK If Lender Simply Pushes Back The Date For My Next Loan Payment, or Should I Tell Them Something?
Discusses what to do if you make a prepayment.  For example: you don't need to tell the lender anything if you are making these prepayments on your own without the lender prompting you to.  (The lender still applies the payment toward your principal), But it's different if you have the lender direct debit the monthly payments from a bank account at prescheduled monthly intervals. In that case, delaying the next due date might mean that you don't end up accelerating repayment of the debt. So it is best to include a note requesting that the extra payment be applied directly to principal and not treated as early payment of a future installment. 
See Code of Federal Regulations at
 34 CFR 682.209(b) and 34 CFR 685.211(a).

34 CFR 682.209(b)

(b)Payment application and prepayment.
(1) Except in the case of payments made under an income-based repayment plan,
the lender may credit the entire payment amount first to any
late charges accrued or collection costs and then to any outstanding interest
and then to outstanding principal. (2)(i) The borrower may prepay the
whole or any part of a loan at any time without penalty.
(ii) If the prepayment amount equals or exceeds the monthly payment
amount under the repayment schedule established for the loan, the lender
shall apply the prepayment to future installments by advancing the next
payment due date, unless the borrower requests otherwise
. The lender must either
inform the borrower in advance using a prominent statement in the
borrower’s coupon book or billing statement that any additional full pay-
ment amounts submitted without instructions to the lender as to their
handling will be applied to future scheduled payments with the bor-
rower’s next scheduled payment due date advanced consistent with the
number of additional payments received, or provide a notification to the
borrower after the payments are received informing the borrower that the
payments have been so applied and the date of the borrower’s next scheduled
payment due date. Information related to next scheduled payment due date
need not be provided to borrower’s making such prepayments while in an
in-school, grace, deferment, or forbearance period when payments are not
due.

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Direct Your Extra Payments To Student Loans With The Highest Interest Rates-How to Make Sure The Lender Is Doing So (For Consolidated Loans)

Providing Instructions To Your Lender When You Have Consolidated Your Loans
If you direct any extra money to your highest interest rate loan first, you may save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in extra interest payments. Don't assume your lender is doing this automatically. In fact, your loan servicer could be spreading your payments out across all of the loans on your account. The lender is fine with this because it means your high interest loans get no more money than your low interest loans (i.e. they make more money in interest).

Sample Letter to Your Loan Servicer (Consumer-Finance Protection Bureau)
This form letter directs your lender to apply extra payments to the loan with the highest interest rate first.

Just Who Owns My Loans And What Types Do I Have-Federal or Private? 800-433-3243
If you don't know who your lender is or aren’t sure what kind of loans you have, visit the National Student Loan Database System for Students and select “Financial Aid Review” for a list of all federal loans made to you. (Enter in your Social Security # and your PIN issued by the Dept of Education-you may need to get a new PIN) Click each individual loan to see who the servicer is for that loan (this is the company that collects payments from you). It’s very important to know your servicer. This might be a different company from the original lender. If you can't find this info on line, call their helpline and ask for the name and # for your Lender or Guarantor. Then contact your lender directly for more guidance.

Student Loan Complaint Form (US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
Here's where to complain if your student loan payment is not allocated properly.

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Making Slightly Higher Payments
The rate in which a student loan can be paid off more quickly varies depending on the additional amount paid and when it is applied to the account. The earlier a larger extra payment is applied to the loan, the faster it cuts down the principal and saves you thousands of dollars from the compound interest that would otherwise accrue throughout the life of the loan.

Use the loan calculators below to see the real difference it makes to increase your payments early on. Then plan how you can creatively free up your money to make it happen. For example: Put your Federal Loans on the IBR program for three years (during this time you pay very low monthly installments and the Government pays off all the accruing interest) and use the extra money you just freed up to pay down your private loans that don't qualify for IBR.  Because of reverse compound interest, even if you do this for just three years, it could shorten your loan by 6 years!

The Student Loan Calculator
See how much faster your loan disappears when you increase your monthly payment amount.  Also tells prospective borrowers the total cost in interest they will be charged over the life of the loan. Obviously, higher payments over the life of a 20 year loan will cut down the interest dramatically.

Prepayment Calculator-The Difference Extra Payments Can Make Over Lifetime of Student Loan
To see just how much it will shorten the life of your loan, fiddle with interest rates and extra payments for how your loan will be affected by the frequency of your extra payments. (you can choose between extra annual, extra  monthly, extra quarterly, and extra semi annual payments) .

Tips From People with 6 Figure Student Loan Debt
Yes it's depressing, but they offer valuable tips from real people dealing with real debt. Take any small steps you can to free up money and Do Not Despair

How I'm Paying off 120K in Student Loans (Huffington Post Blog)
Smart tips on how to save extra and knock off student loans.

15 Ways To Pay Back Student Loans Faster
Includes IBR and getting help from your employer and public service programs.

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) For Federal Loans (1-800-433-3243) Even Fed Loans Consolidated by Private Lender May Qualify So Call Your Lender!!!!
Now Your Monthly Payments can be based on a percentage of your discretionary income, and not on the total amount your owe! Option available for federally-guaranteed student loans and Direct Student Loans. And if your monthly IBR payment does not cover the monthly interest that accrues on the loans, the government will pay your unpaid interest on Subsidized Stafford Loans (either Direct Loan or FFEL) for up to three consecutive years from when you first enter IBR repayment. May not apply to private loans that were not previously Federal Loans. Use the Income-Based Repayment Calculator to see how much you would have to pay each month based on your income, your loan amount, marital status and family size.
 
How Do I take Advantage of This Program?
1. Confirm You are not disqualified based on types of loans or other criteria and then re-confirm with your lender.
2. Get Proper Forms and Procedures from Federal Student Aid Information Center 800-433-3243.
These may include a written letter from you requesting IBR, filling out a form 4506T, and providing proof of income such as your pay stub, or a copy of your unemployment check.
3. Find out From Lender or Fed Student Aid Center Where To Send Forms-Expect 10 Business Days To Process.

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Budget Better And Save Money-Learn Simple Tips To Free Up More $ For Student Loan Debt

Free Student Loan Counseling Session (Clear Point Credit Counseling 800-675-7601)

  • Which student loan programs you qualify for
  • Strategies for dealing with private loans
  • Ways to manage money better

Tips From People with 6 Figure Student Loan Debt
Yes it's depressing, but they offer valuable tips from real people dealing with real debt. Take any small steps you can to free up money and Do Not Despair

How I'm Paying off 120K in Student Loans (Huffington Post Blog)
Smart tips on how to save extra and knock off student loans.

15 Ways To Pay Back Student Loans Faster
Includes IBR and getting help from your employer and public service programs.

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Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

You may be eligible for loan forgiveness if you are

  1. Employed at least full time in a qualified public service position (Can include certain volunteer work)
  2. Work for either a government organization, a 501(c3) or a private, not for profit organization (that is not a labor union or a partisan political organization)
  3. Have the the type of student loan that qualifies for forgiveness  (Choose The Best Low Payment Option-IBT, ICR,etc. ) and
  4. Have made at least 120 full scheduled monthly payments while in qualified employment.
     

Public Service Guide To Loan Forgiveness (Consumer Finance Protection Gov Website)
Allows certain federal student loans to be forgiven after 10 years of on time, qualifying monthly payments. To
benefit, you need to have a qualifying loan and sign up for a qualifying repayment plan

Which Loan Forgiveness Is Not Taxable?
Generally, student loan forgiveness is excluded from income if the forgiveness is contingent upon the student working for a specific number of years in certain professions.
Loan discharges for closed schools, false certification, unpaid refunds, and death and disability are considered taxable income.
The forgiveness of the remaining balance under income-contingent repayment and income-based repayment after 25 years in repayment is considered taxable income.

Loan Repayment Assistance Available for State and Federal Defenders and State Prosecutors (The John R Justice Repayment Program)
Funds are allocated annually from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and awarded and administered by designated state agencies.  Repayment and awarded benefits cannot exceed $10,000 in any calendar year or an aggregate total of $60,000 per attorney. 

Loan Forgiveness For Teachers
Explains who is a teacher, how long you must teach and how to apply.

Student Loan Payment Tips: Includes Loan Forgiveness
One great way of handling student loan debt is to have it written off once and for all. Thanks to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and similar options, many borrowers can have student loan debt forgiven if they qualify by working in certain professions, including teaching, public-interest law or medicine, or the military. Volunteers for AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps also can receive funds earmarked to pay off student debt, or have loans partially cancelled. Check out this list of resources for more information.

Jobs That Help You Pay Back Student Loans
Here are several occupations that may help you get some of your debt forgiven:

  • Teaching: If you have a federal loan and teach in a low-income area, you may be eligible to have a portion of the loan cancelled. 
  • Dentistry and Medicine: Health care professionals may be able to have their loans forgiven by working with underserved groups or regions. (services.aamc.org) 
  • Law: Law students who work in public interest or non-profit position may be eligible for government grants to pay off student loans. (equaljusticeworks.org)
  • Public service: The U.S. government offers a loan forgiveness program for employees who have made at least 120 qualifying monthly payments. 
  • Volunteering: A number of volunteer programs make you eligible for grants for paying back student loans. These include the AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and the Volunteers in Service to America.

What Types of Public Service Jobs Will Qualify a Borrower for Loan Forgiveness under the PSLF
Program?
(From studentaid.gov)
You must be employed full time (in any position) by a public service organization, or must be serving in a full time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position. Organizations that meet the definition of “public service organization” for purposes of the PSLF Program are listed below.

A government organization (including a federal, state, local, or tribal organization, agency, or entity; a public
child or family service agency; or a tribal college or university).A not for profit, tax exempt organization under section
50\(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, A private, not for profit organization (that is not a labor union or a partisan political organization) that provides one or more of the following public services:

  • Emergency management
  • Military service
  • Public safety
  • Law enforcement
  • Public interest law services
  • Early childhood education (including licensed or regulated health care, Head Start, and state
    funded pre-kindergarten)
  • Public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly
  • Public health (including nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full
    time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health care support occupations)
  • Public education
  • Public library services
  • School library or other school based services

    What is fulltime employment?
    You must meet your employer’s definition of full-time. However, for PSLF purposes, that definition must be at
    least an annual average of 30 hours per week. For purposes of the full-time requirement, your qualifying
    employment at a not for-profit organization does not include time spent participating in religious instruction,
    worship services, or any form of proselytizing.

    If you are a teacher, or other employee of a public service organization, under contract for at least eight out of 12
    months, you meet the full-time standard if you work an average of at least 30 hours per week during the
    contractual period and receive credit by your employer for a full year’s worth of employment.
    If you are employed in more than one qualifying part-time job simultaneously, you may meet the full
    -time employment requirement if you work a combined average of at least 30 hours per week with your employers.

    What is a qualifying repayment plan?
    To maximize your PSLF benefit, repay your loans on the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan, the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan, or the Income Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan, which are three repayment plans that qualify for PSLF. PSLF is best under IBR, Pay As You Earn, or ICR. Other PSLF-qualifying repayment plans are the 10-Year Standard Repayment Plan or any other repayment plan where your monthly payment amount equals or exceeds what you would pay under a 10-Year Standard Repayment
    Plan.

    What are on-time, full, scheduled, monthly payments? 
    On-time payments are those that are received by your federal loan servicer no later than 15 days after the scheduled payment due date. 

    Full payments are payments on your Direct Loan in an amount that equals or exceeds the amount you are required to pay each month under your repayment schedule. If you make a payment for a month that is less than what you are required to pay for that month, that month's payment will not count as one of the required 120 qualifying payments. If you make multiple, partial payments in a month and the total of those partial payments equals or exceeds the required full monthly payment amount, those payments will count as only one qualifying payment. 

    Scheduled payments are those that are made under a qualifying repayment plan after your federal loan servicer has billed you for the month's payment. They do not include payments made while your loans are in an in-school or grace status or in a deferment or forbearance period. 

    You must make separate monthly payments. Lump sum payments or payments you make as advance payments for future months are not qualifying payments. There are special rules on lump sum payments for borrowers whose public service employment is with AmeriCorps or the Peace Corps.

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Law Grads: Find Out About Loan Forgiveness Programs and How To Qualify
Treat it like a research project and get creative. The links below include not only law school programs, but also tap into foundations and not for profit databases where you can search for grants to help attorneys with student loan debt. For example, Guidestar.org lists over 5 million non profits, and you can search for who they give grants to. Once you have the non profit's name, Google it for more info.

Loan Repayment Assistance Available for State and Federal Defenders and State Prosecutors (The John R Justice Repayment Program)
Funds are allocated annually from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and awarded and administered by designated state agencies.  Repayment and awarded benefits cannot exceed $10,000 in any calendar year or an aggregate total of $60,000 per attorney. 

Law School Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAPs)
LRAPs provide financial aid (i.e. loan forgiveness) to law school graduates working in the public interest sector, government or other low-paying legal fields. Use this list to find your law school or other law schools that offer loan repayment assistance programs.  Even if your law school is not listed, Call and ASK them if they have a program.  Do Not Despair.  Move forward and at least ASK.

Law School Public Interest Programs-Loan Forgiveness  For Public Interest Lawyers (American Bar Association Links To School Programs)
Loan repayment assistance programs ("LRAPs") provide financial aid to law school graduates working in the public interest sector, government, or other lower-paying legal fields. In most cases, this aid is given to graduates in the form of a forgivable loan to help them repay their annual educational debt. Upon completion of the required service obligation, the LRAP administrator will forgive or cancel these loans to program participants. Most LRAPs contain limits on the amount of income a recipient can earn while participating in such a program. There are various types of LRAPs, administered by law schools, state bar foundations and federal and state governments, providing debt relief to some law graduates.

Loan Forgiveness Programs (Includes Law School Debt)

Google Searches Worth Looking Into (Includes Guidestar and Foundation Center)

Grants For Lawyers, Public Service, Student Loans (Google)

Foundation Grants For Lawyers-Public Interest (Google)

Foundations, Grants For Lawyers Student Loans (Google)

URL Search Within "Foundation Center" For Grants To Lawyers With Student Loan Debt (Google)

URL Search Within "Guidestar.org" For Grants To Lawyers With Student Loan Debt (Google)
Supposedly searches within their database of over 5 million non profits to see if there are grants for lawyers with student loan debt. Visit Guidestar.org directly and do a search within their website as well.

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Get Your Loan Forgiven in 25 Years Through IBR, ICR and Pay As You Earn Affordable Payment Programs
You may still have to pay the taxes on any loan that's forgiven. To keep track of new legislation or lobbying efforts, See Student Loan Special Interest Groups.

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) For Federal Loans (1-800-433-3243) Even Fed Loans Consolidated by Private Lender May Qualify So Call Your Lender!!!!
Now Your Monthly Payments can be based on a percentage of your discretionary income, and not on the total amount your owe! Option available for federally-guaranteed student loans and Direct Student Loans. And if your monthly IBR payment does not cover the monthly interest that accrues on the loans, the government will pay your unpaid interest on Subsidized Stafford Loans (either Direct Loan or FFEL) for up to three consecutive years from when you first enter IBR repayment. May not apply to private loans that were not previously Federal Loans. Use the Income-Based Repayment Calculator to see how much you would have to pay each month based on your income, your loan amount, marital status and family size.

How Do I take Advantage of This Program?
1. Confirm You are not disqualified based on types of loans or other criteria and then re-confirm with your lender.
2. Get Proper Forms and Procedures from Federal Student Aid Information Center 800-433-3243.
    These may include a written letter from you requesting IBR, filling out a form 4506T, and providing proof of income such as your pay stub, or a copy of your unemployment check.
3. Find out From Lender or Fed Student Aid Center Where To Send Forms-Expect 10 Business Days To Process.

Pay As You Earn Plan
The Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan helps keep your monthly student loan payments affordable, and usually has the lowest monthly payment amount of the repayment plans that are based on your income. Currently can get loan forgiveness (still taxable) after making 20 years of payments.

Income Contingent Repayment Plan
This plan is based on your adjusted gross income, family size, and the total amount of your Direct Loans.

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Student Loan Special Interest Groups
The groups below, are active in lobbying for loan forgiveness, college tuition caps and other means of reducing the student loan debt crisis. Currently there is an effort to provide tax free loan forgiveness to students who have their loans discharged under the IBR and ICR programs.

Other ways to reduce costs could include making higher education more subject to market forces like other businesses, so it's more affordable.  This could mean emphasizing community college for the first two years (require Universities and 4 year colleges that accept federal aid, to also accept x percent credit from cheaper community colleges.  It could also include a freeze on federal aid for universities that have excessive yearly tuition costs beyond that of their region. (Universities could not use federal loans to subsidize their price increase and would either have to lower their tuition, or assist students with grants and private unsubsidized loans.)

Equal Justice
The high cost of education and the burden of student debt prevents many from pursuing and remaining in public interest careers.  Their Educational Debt Relief program is devoted to advocating for student debt relief and spreading the word to make sure those who need relief are taking the right steps to qualify. Resources are available to help prospective students, current students and graduates; school advisors and administrators; and employers. Even has Free Student Debt Webinars!

Project Student Debt (Information & Advocacy)
Search their publications for advice, legislation, tips to cut down debt. Click here for their mission. Find out what they are lobbying for on behalf of students and those with student loan debt. Also has find the average debt per student-state by state-school by school.

Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS)
Works to make higher education more available and affordable for people of all backgrounds by conducting and supporting nonpartisan research, analysis, and advocacy

Student Loan Advocacy Groups Active Within The Last Year (Google Advance Search)

Student Loan Complaint Form (US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

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Student Loan Trouble