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.
Help is hard to find for furloughed government workers
As we reported just before the shutdown started Dec. 22, the current federal government closure doesn’t affect the Department of Education, which had already received funds for the current fiscal year. As a result, financial aid payments shouldn’t take an immediate hit.
But, of course, if you or someone in your family is an employee or contractor with any of the agencies that ARE closed by the partial government shutdown, then the situation has a huge impact on your student loans.
The Department of Education’s blog, known as Homeroom, has issued tips for federal workers dealing with student debt during the furlough (it suggests income-driven repayment or deferment). Meanwhile, a group of at least 70 members of the House of Representatives has written to the department urging it “do all it can” to proactively help affected employees.
But to date, Student Loan Hero isn’t aware of any direct federal financial assistance for furloughed government workers with student loans.
But others are stepping in to bridge the gap. For example, the Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA), a nonprofit that issues loans in the state, has suspended repayment for federal workers hit by the closure, WPRI reports.
How it affects YOU: Unfortunately, the availability of help for shut-out government workers is hit and miss, at least for now. A good first step would be to contact the office of your congressional representative. The office may have information on available aid, and your call will at least help focus that member of Congress on finding a solution.
And if you happen to have loans with RISLA, call 800-758-7562 or 888-897-4752 to find out about forbearance on your loan. (And check out WPRI’s guide to getting help during the shutdown.)
Natty Light back with more money for college loan repayment
Popular Anheuser-Busch beer brand Natural Light (a.k.a. Natty) plans to help its fans pay back their student loans with a couple of giveaways for borrowers.
First is the return of its college debt relief contest, in which 70 winners will divvy up $1 million, awarded to those with the best stories about why they decided to go to college.
But if writing about your inspiration to pursue higher education is too much, there’s also a Super Bowl sweepstakes that you can enter via social media to become one of 151 winners to receive $351 each (the average monthly student loan payment).
How it affects YOU: Rules and entry details for both Natty giveaways can be found here. Note that although it cites Student Loan Hero data in the news release, we aren’t involved in this contest in any way. (But good luck all the same!)
Also in the news …
- The idea of including student loan repayment assistance as a workplace benefit is starting to take off, with more employers adding the perk, a Washington Post report out Tuesday said. A tighter labor market has spurred more companies to offer help to student loan borrowers among their staff. Check out this list of employers with student loan repayment assistance to see if any are in your field.
- The Federal Reserve has a new report, per CNBC, on how the student loan crisis has hurt the housing market. The study says that between 2005 and 2014, the proportion of heads of household ages 24 to 32 who own their home has dropped by nine percentage points, of which two points are due entirely to the rise in student loan debt.
- A study of complaints submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau involving student loans in 2018 showed that servicer Navient led in the number of issues reported. A full 46% of all student loan complaints for the year were about Navient, one of the nation’s largest college debt services.
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 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|