Illinois private and federal student loan borrowers owe an average balance of $36,531 — sixth-highest in the nation and just below the national average of $36,689.
While some borrowers have received relief from federal payments due to the coronavirus pandemic, suspended payments expire Jan. 31, 2021. That could mean some issues, including for those in Illinois. If you’re dealing with Illinois student loans, here’s what you need to know.
Illinois community colleges can be a go-to option for students looking to keep their loan debt low. The state has around 50 community colleges, including seven in the City Colleges of Chicago system.
Not only can you attend community college, but you can also apply for some of the programs designed to reduce student costs. One of the most prominent programs, the Monetary Award Program, is an Illinois grant based on need. If you’re an Illinois resident attending a state school, you’ll be considered for this grant based on the information submitted in your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There are also grant programs aimed at veterans, National Guard members and dependents of fire and police officers.
Even with these programs — and amid a global coronavirus pandemic — 1.7 million borrowers still rely on student loans to help them pay for higher education.
If you’re looking for help, Illinois has some loan repayment programs, in addition to student loan forgiveness programs. These programs are contingent upon appropriations from the governor, as well as the Illinois General Assembly. Here’s what you need to know.
The Illinois Teachers Loan Repayment Program focuses on teachers who have already received some measure of federal teacher loan forgiveness. You must have a remaining student loan debt balance to qualify. You must also teach for five years at an elementary or secondary school that Illinois considers a low-income school to be eligible for up to $5,000.
With the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program, you must agree to work as a state prosecutor or public defender. As long as you meet various requirements, you could be eligible for up to $4,000 a year, for an aggregate amount of up to $60,000. However, you have to be employed in a qualified manner for at least three years or repay any amount you received.
For the Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program, you must be willing to maintain a nursing educator career in Illinois. You do need to fulfill a requirement of teaching for at least 12 months prior to initially applying for the program. Additionally, you must be a licensed nurse educator and meet other requirements. The annual award is worth up to $5,000, for up to four years.
If you work in a veterans’ home, you might be eligible for the Veterans’ Home Medical Providers’ Loan Repayment Program, which targets different health care providers. Qualified providers can include doctors, nurses, nursing assistants and others. There’s an annual award of up to $5,000 for up to four years.
Illinois federal student loan borrowers younger than 25 owe more than national average — and more comparisons
With more than 8% of borrowers in Illinois owing $100,000 or more in student loans, refinancing could provide significant savings for graduates struggling with their payments. You’re especially likely to see better results if you have a strong credit profile.
Student loan refinancing replaces your old student loans with a new private student loan. Your new student loan servicer pays off your existing federal and/or private student loans and you then make payments on a single student loan.
One main benefit of refinancing Illinois student loans is the lower interest rate, which can reduce what you owe overall. Plus, you only have to worry about one payment.
Realize, though, that once you refinance to a private loan, you’re no longer eligible for federal loan protections, including:
- Income-driven repayment
- Federal loan forgiveness programs
- Deferment and forbearance
If you want to maintain federal loan forgiveness as an option, it’s possible to refinance only your private loans. Some of the best private student loans offer some form of hardship protection and other features. Carefully consider how to move forward, and whether your interest savings are enough to offset losing potential government protections.
- U.S. Department of Education data as of June 30, 2020
- Anonymized My LendingTree June 2020 credit reports
- Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax as of June 2020
Because the latter data is from 2015, researchers estimated the increase in student loan debt per borrower in the state using statewide data from anonymized credit reports.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2021!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.89% – 6.66%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.64%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.43%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 5.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews! |
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of October 1, 2020.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.49% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.34% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of October 26, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 10/26/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of January 4, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
4 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
5 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 01/21/2021 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.99% APR – 5.25% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.95% – APR – 8.28% Fixed APR with AutoPay.