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.
Update: President Trump announced a deal Friday to end the partial government shutdown for at least three weeks — good news for those furloughed federal workers mentioned below in this week’s Student Loan News.
Student debt in focus as presidential race looms on distant horizon
While it’s still a little over a year before the Iowa caucuses kick off the race for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination, some of the early entrants are already hitting the stump. And the student debt crisis is among the top topics they’re addressing.
First on the mic this past week was U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who spoke Saturday in Ames, Iowa, about some of the issues she wants to tackle, including the cost of college.
“We have to make access to college, and access to higher education, something that is a real right,” the New York senator said. She also referenced the Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act, a bill she introduced that would have the federal government offer refinancing at a fixed 4% for any student loans above that interest rate. Currently, student loans can only be refinanced through private lenders.
On Monday, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris kicked off her presidential bid with a question-and-answer session at Howard University in Washington, D.C. The California senator said the government needs “to have a commitment around what we need to do around debt-free college and ‘College for All,’” as well as the possibility of federal student loan refinancing.
Harris also touted her work as California attorney general policing predatory practices at for-profit colleges, saying more must be done to protect students.
How it affects YOU: If student debt impacts your life, make sure it impacts your voting, too. As the presidential primaries get closer, Student Loan Hero will be looking at the candidates and their positions on college costs and student loans. In the meantime, you can check out the campaign websites that are starting to pop up and see what these aspiring presidents have to say about the issue.
Student loans borrowers leaving rural America
Federal Reserve data suggest that you’re much more likely to leave your home in rural or small-town America if you have student loans — and the more student debt you have, the greater the chance you’ll move to a big city.
The trend has led to a widening achieve gap: While the percentage of college grads in cities was 5 points higher than in rural areas in 1970, that difference had ballooned to 14 points by 2016, CBS News cites the Fed as saying.
This, the report says, creates a vicious cycle, since as “fewer college-educated young people remain in rural locations, those regions become less attractive to other young grads.”
How it affects YOU: Local governments around the country seem aware of this problem, with some communities — such as Michigan’s St. Clair County and the Ohio town of Hamilton — offering money to eligible college graduates willing to live there. If this intrigues you, keep an eye out for similar opportunities, and check out our database of student loan repayment assistance programs across the U.S.
Also in the news …
- Federal student loan servicing giant Navient is pushing back on allegations made in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ongoing lawsuit against it, the The Washington Times reports. Among Navient’s arguments were that “more than five years after launching its investigation, the CFPB has not … identified a single borrower who supports its allegations of ‘steering’” students to unhelpful financial options.
- Last week, we reported on efforts to help furloughed government workers struggling with their student loan payments. With the shutdown dragging on, more groups are stepping up to help, including several Maryland colleges, according to NPR.
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 2.50% 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 2.49% effective March 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.50% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.81% – 8.79%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.55% – 7.12%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.00% – 9.74%6||Undergrad & Graduate|