Between stagnant wages and low employment, college graduates can have a hard time climbing that socioeconomic ladder.
And with the high price tag associated with a college education these days, many borrowers are seeking out student loan forgiveness programs to bail them out of student loan debt.
What many don’t know is that these programs often come with conditions borrowers need to be aware of before signing up.
While there are several student loan forgiveness programs that can benefit borrowers, many of them don’t make much financial sense in the long-run.
Here are a few reasons why applying for student loan forgiveness programs may not be the best idea for your financial situation.
1. Uncertain career-based forgiveness
One of the most popular programs offered for federal student loan borrowers is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
It gives government and nonprofit employees the chance to apply for student loan forgiveness after ten years of steady repayment.
Before banking on this forgiveness program, though, check out our new Public Service Loan Forgiveness calculator to see if you qualify and how much you would actually save with it.
There’s also an extensive list of student loan forgiveness programs for teachers, lawyers, and doctors. That’s assuming you can stick to a certain field or job for the amount of time required.
However, keep in mind that it may not be the best student loan repayment strategy to go into a career field just for the forgiveness benefits.
2. Increased tax burden and interest
With income-based repayment plans, a certain amount is forgiven after 20 to 25 years of successful, on-time repayment.
The amount that is forgiven, however, still has to be claimed as taxable income by the borrower. This could send a borrow into a different tax bracket, leaving them to owe the government thousands of dollars out of pocket when tax returns are due.
Although income based repayment plans help borrowers to make their monthly payments more affordable, payments could be too low. Not to mention that in order to qualify, you usually have to make well below the average salary.
Essentially, if the interest rate on the loan is too high and the payment is too low, the new monthly payment offered may not be able to keep up with escalating interest on the loans.
After 25 years accruing interest, the borrower may end up paying more in interest dollars than in principle with an income-based repayment plan than if they’d initially stuck with the original loan.
Run the numbers with our income-based repayment calculator and see for yourself if one of those plans works financially for you.
3. Private student loan forgiveness
So there aren’t any formal student loan forgiveness programs for private student loans.
There are, however, a handful of options you can pursue to make your student loan payments easier to handle within your current budget.
You can talk to your private student loan lender about the following:
- Lowering your monthly student loan payment
- Pursuing deferment or forbearance on your student loans for a certain amount of time
- Refinancing your student loans to get a lower interest rate
Just remember that when it comes to private lenders, it is always best to remain in communication with them.
Ultimately, private lenders want to receive your student loan payments. So they’re most likely willing to create a custom plan that works for you both.
Like any financial solution, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to student loan forgiveness programs. And all eligibility and rewards attached to federal student loan forgiveness programs are subject to change at any moment.
For many, these student loan forgiveness programs may be a viable option or a chance to get ahead financially. For others, maybe not.
Be sure to do your homework on all the benefits and possible pitfalls for any refinancing or forgiveness options available for your student loan debt.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
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 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.54% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% 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 March 18, 2019, 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 0318/2019. 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@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 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
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
4 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.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.5% effective February 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.54% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.54% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.67% – 8.96%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.23% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.43%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|