How to Get Help Paying Off Student Loans in Texas

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They say everything’s bigger in Texas, but does that include student loan debt? Currently, the student loan burden in Texas is less than the national average, but that doesn’t mean individual Texans couldn’t use some help becoming debt-free.

Luckily, there are some state-sponsored repayment programs to help make student loans in Texas a little easier to take care of. Read on to see if your situation tees you up for one of these programs, as well as some of the other ways you can tackle student loan debt in Texas.

The state of student loans in Texas

Texas, it seems, is kind to its students when it comes to college costs. In a report from 24/7 Wall Street with data from the Student Loan Report, Texas’s large amount of in-state students (91 percent of the class of 2018), are keeping costs low for Texas student loan borrowers. That’s because in-state tuition is almost $15,000 cheaper in Texas than out-of-state tuition.

As far as national averages, the publication ranks Texas as 35th in the country with an average graduation amount of $14,469. But Texas is also ranked 25th lowest for household income, and less than 30 percent of adults in the state have a bachelor’s degree.

Getting help with your Texas student debt

Texas’s low average of student loan debt is a great sign, but its low average income could mean Texas student loan borrowers still might need some help in paying back their loans.

Texas has a good selection of loan repayment assistance programs (or LRAPs) that award funds to help pay off student debt. These programs tend to be career-specific and vary based on the needs of the state.

In Texas, if you’re a nurse, physician, or teacher, you might be able to get some help with an LRAP. Here’s what Texas student loan borrowers currently have available to them.

1. Nursing Faculty Loan Repayment Assistance Program

This program was designed to incentivize nurses to teach at underserved schools. Those who receive it can get up to $7,000 per year for their student loan debt.

Although the program ran out of funding in 2016, the program listing page says to check back this month (September 2017) to see if there’s been an update for this year. It also includes contact details for additional information.

2. Physician Education Loan Repayment Program

If you’re a doctor working in the state of Texas, and especially if you’re working in an officially designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), then you might be able to get quite a bit of loan help from the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program.

This program offers up to $160,000 to put towards your student loan repayment, disbursed over four years of service. This is also available to physicians working in a facility of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department or the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The application deadline for this program was last month (August 2017), but new applications are reviewed quarterly. To be eligible, you must be licensed to practice in Texas. You must provide care to patients on Medicaid and the Texas Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

3. St. David’s Foundation Public Health Corps Loan Repayment Program

Physicians and health care practitioners of a variety of backgrounds can also try to get Texas student loan help through St. David’s Foundation Public Health Corps Loan Repayment Program.

Eligible health care practitioners include physicians, physician assistants, dentists, and nurse practitioners working in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, geriatrics, and psychiatry. Full-time physicians and dentists can receive up to $30,000 per year, and full-time physician assistants and nurse practitioners can get up to $15,000 per year. Part-time recipients are awarded on a prorated basis.

The program is accepting applications through the end of 2017.

4. Texas Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program

What about lawyers working in Texas? If you’re working full-time for a Texas legal aid program, you can get help with the Texas Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program.

This program offers its recipients up to $400 per month (an annual maximum of $4,800) for up to 10 years. The next quarterly deadline for this program is on November 23.

5. See if your alma mater has any loan repayment assistance programs

The programs above aren’t the only way to get help with your Texas student loans. You might find that your school offers an LRAP, such as this one from the law school at the University of Texas at Austin.

You can see what your college or university has to offer by either going to their website and searching via your school or department, or by contacting your school directly.

And if you come up short-handed this year, keep checking back. Your school’s offerings can change on a yearly basis.

Statute of limitations in Texas

Another thing to consider if you’re paying off Texas student loans is the statute of limitations. Debt that falls under the statute of limitations expires after a certain amount of years. That doesn’t mean you no longer owe the debt, but it does mean that collections agencies lose their chance to successfully sue you for it.

Unfortunately, federal student loans are currently exempt from the statute of limitations on debt — but private loans are not.

In Texas, the expiration comes four years after defaulting on a debt. That means the clock doesn’t stop ticking until payments have stopped being made, and it restarts as soon as even one payment is made. Four years after that time, Texas residents can use the statute of limitations to defend themselves in a court case for collection of that debt.

That’s not to say you should stop paying your private student loans just to use the statute of limitations to your advantage. Not only will you still technically owe this debt, but defaulting on it can significantly damage your credit score for years to come.

But if you have defaulted and are having trouble getting back on your feet, this is a law that can potentially help you.

Texas programs for current students

So far we’ve talked a lot about what to do if you’ve already acquired student loans in Texas. But what about current and aspiring students searching for scholarships? There is state-sponsored help available to you.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board offers a large number of resources to point you in the right direction. Here are some shortcuts to keep an eye on each year you’re in school.

And don’t forget to check out sites such as Scholarships.com to find even more help paying for your education in Texas.

Keep an eye out for programs that might renew funding in the future

There are a few programs not listed above because, though they’re still listed as current, they don’t have the funding to help for 2017. But that’s not to say they won’t receive funding in the next two years. You should keep an eye on them to see if anything changes.

Check back on these programs in 2018:

Check back on these programs in August of 2019:

You may also be eligible for assistance with your loans if you’ve been affected by Hurricane Harvey. Recent news reports are advising that you contact your student loan servicer to let them know if the hurricane will render you unable to repay your loans for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Department of Education has an entire page of resources to turn to for help.

The future is bright in Texas

So, yes, everything might be bigger in Texas, but you can ensure that your student loan repayment period isn’t. By finding help through programs like these and developing a solid debt repayment strategy of your own, you can pay off your student loans early and free yourself from the decades-long repayment plan you started with.

What’s more, if you think there should be more programs available to help repay student loans in Texas, you can contact your senators and representatives to tell them. Exercise your rights as a constituent and as a Texas student loan borrower, and you can make sure your future in Texas is bright.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

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1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student Loan RefinanceFixed rates from 3.999% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.480% APR to 7.524% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.480% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 0.91% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.17% (2.72%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.50%-8.69% (3.50% – 8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Average savings based on 18,113 actual customers who refinanced their federal and private student loans through our Education Refinance Loan between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The calculation is derived by averaging the monthly savings of Education Refinance Loan customers whose payments decreased after refinancing, which is calculated by taking the monthly student loan payments prior to refinancing minus the monthly student loan payments after refinancing. The borrower’s savings might vary based on the interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of the loans they are seeking to refinance. The borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if their monthly payments are lower.
2.57% – 5.87%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.38%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 7.52%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 7.99%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.57% – 6.65%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.72% – 8.17%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.