Welcome to Student Loan News, a weekly summary of developments and events affecting college debt in the U.S. Join us each Friday for a look at goings-on that could impact your own student loan situation.
Survey looks at the money struggles of younger adults
More than one-third of college grads aged 18-34 with student loans said “the debt wasn’t worth it,” at least according to a recently released survey from investment bank Merrill Lynch and research firm Age Wave.
The survey found that the average student loan borrower in that age group will spend 9% of their pretax income paying off their school debt for a typical 10-year repayment. And those with college debt contribute half as much on average to their retirement compared with their peers with no debt, creating a financial ripple effect far into the future, it said.
Among other findings: About a quarter of 18- to 34-year-olds with a 401(k) accounts have taken an early withdrawal — something you would only want to do as an absolute last resort — and more than half of respondents (58%) said they wouldn’t be able to afford their current lifestyle without the help of their parents.
How it affects YOU: It’s no secret that millennials have it rough, but this doesn’t mean that younger Americans can’t rise to financial success despite the times we live in. You can tap various strategies for getting out of debt quicker, as well as ways to become more financially independent from your parents.
Also note that research generally shows college to be worth the cost, once you account for the difference in earnings between those with and without degrees.
More student loan initiatives sprouting on Capitol Hill
The recent parade of plans to tackle student loan forgiveness and repayment is rolling onward, with a pair of new proposals to help borrowers.
First, a bill introduced earlier this month is sparking debate. The legislation, from Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), would streamline repayment plans into just two: a standard 10-year plan and an income-driven option similar to the current Income-Based Repayment and PAYE programs.
The proposed bill would also seek to end interest capitalization on student loans, limit how much the government can seize in a student-loan wage garnishment and allow those on income-driven repayment to automatically recertify for the program each year.
The proposal was met with pushback this week from the conservative American Enterprise Institute, which said the language in the bill would allow some students to get out of paying most of the interest on their loans and was introducing “a giant new loan forgiveness program” by stealth.
Also this week, U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and a group of fellow Democrats called for adding language to an appropriations bill in order to make Public Service Loan Forgiveness easier to get. This one is different than the “five-year PSLF” proposal we reported on last week — here, it simply wants to ease the rules about counting eligible payments to qualify for forgiveness.
How it affects YOU: As with many of the bills and proposals at the federal level, the chances for passage are low for now, given the divided government and high levels of partisanship in national politics these days. That said, don’t forget to call your senators and your representative and urge them to advocate for rules that ease the burden of student debt. Likewise, keep watching this weekly news report for developments!
Also in the news …
- The Department of Education issued guidelines to schools on Monday, advising them on how to discuss financial aid with students. Recommendations included avoiding the term “award letter” for financial aid offers, making sure those letters include which “critical next steps” recipients need to take and listing different types of aid (grants, loans, work-study, etc.) separately.
- A commission with the nonpartisan American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) is calling for a loosening of the rules on discharging student loan debt through bankruptcy. Currently, federal student loan discharge is extremely difficult, but the ABI wants to return to older rules that allow discharge seven years after the loans are taken out.
News can be useful, but if you want some deeper advice, take a moment to sign up for the Student Loan Hero weekly digest email and get valuable financial knowledge sent straight to your inbox … for free!
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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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 3.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.49% 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 April 17, 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 04/17/2019. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student 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.
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.
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 2.48% effective April 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.49% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 6.65%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.41%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.49% – 7.11%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|