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 affect your own student loan situation.
PSLF: Many are called, but few are forgiven
The latest numbers on Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) are out, covering through the end of September, and results are once again disappointing for those hoping to get their student loans discharged.
PSLF may be among the best-known student loan forgiveness programs, allowing people who work in government, nonprofits or other types of public service to have their student loans forgiven after 10 years of consecutive, qualifying payments.
Since the program began in October 2007, the earliest anyone could have qualified was October 2017. But while it’s been more than a year since the first PSLF applicants became eligible to wipe away their remaining loan balances, few have been able to do so.
According to the new Department of Education data, more than 41,000 borrowers had applied for forgiveness as of Sept. 30, but only 206 have had their loans discharged.
The government has said that part of the problem is because PSLF also requires enrollment in an income-driven repayment plan, and those were much rarer in the early years of PSLF.
But at the same time, many would-be participants who learned only too late that they weren’t eligible feel cheated after making education and career choices with PSLF in mind, as a Thursday USA Today report notes.
Some borrowers are taking matters into their own hands. For example, CNBC reports that a Florida psychologist is suing her loan servicer for allegedly assuring her she would qualify, only to tell her years later that her debt wasn’t eligible.
Addressing hunger on campus
As any college student knows, the price of higher education is much more than just tuition. And if you have no income or savings, one cost you’ll need to cover is food. In fact, not having enough to eat has become a big enough issue for students that some schools in New Jersey are opening their own food pantries to help fight food security, the North Jersey Record reports.
There are now more than 20 such pantries in colleges across the state, from Rutgers University to Ramapo College, the report says. And other programs are cropping up, such as one offering food vouchers for use at ShopRite and Stop & Shop. Meanwhile, New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill to help fund food programs for schools dedicated to being “hunger-free campuses.”
Worried about the government shutdown?
A partial government shutdown kicked off last week as the White House and Congress remained locked in a spending impasse. If you’re waiting to get your student loans disbursed, though, breathe easy: The Department of Education is not part of the closures.
If you want to see what is affected — and how it affects you — check out this explainer.
Catching up on student loan news
Remember when the government’s student loan ombudsman quit in protest? Or when details of the Navient audit came out? If the student loan crisis is important to you, or if you just want to keep up with information about your own college debt, check out this roundup of some of the big student loan news stories of 2018.
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|
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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|