Student Loan Debt Assistance
Sami Thalji, Esq., Student Loan Attorney
Student loan debt is the biggest debt problem facing Americans today. Two out of every three college students graduate owing student loan debt. The average student has $27,000 in student loan debt upon graduation. More than 10% of students owe more than $40,000 of student loan debt. Student loan debt is $1.2 trillion nationwide.
Are you behind on Student Loan payments? You’re not alone.
Are your student loan debt payments breaking you? Are your student loan debt payments as much as your car payments? Do you make $36,000 per year but your student loan debt payments are between $300-$400 per month? More than 11% of student loan debt is at least 90 days late on payments. Did you know that nearly 50% of all outstanding student loan debt are in deferment or have not begun payments. More people are behind on student loan debt payments than credit card or mortgage payments.
Are you behind on student loan payments?
Student loan debt is considered in default when you are 270 days late. Defaulting on student loan debt carries severe consequences, including:
- Entire unpaid balance of your loan and any interest is immediately due and payable.
- Lose eligibility for deferment, forbearance, and repayment plans.
- Lose eligibility for more federal student aid.
- Student loan account assigned to collection agency.
- Student loan debt reported delinquent on credit reports, damaging credit score.
- Increases the cost of credit via lower credit score.
- IRS can take your tax returns to collect your defaulted student loans.
- Student loan debt increases with additional fees, interest, court costs, attorney’s fees, and collection costs and fees.
- Garnishment of wages without court order.
- Student loan provider does not need to sue to enforce collections.
- Federal employees can lose up to 15% of pay as garnishment.
Are you being sued by National Collegiate Student Loan Trust?
If you are being sued by National Collegiate Student Loan Trust please contact us immediately. National Collegiate Student Loan Trust is a prominent debt collector working on behalf of many private student loan debt companies. The collections practices of National Collegiate Student Loan Trust may be regulated under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Furthermore, you may have valid defenses in any lawsuit brought against you by National Collegiate Student Loan Trust. Don’t hesitate, contact us today.
How can we help you?
Contact STAMATAKIS + THALJI + BONANNO and speak to an attorney about student loan debt modifications. Currently, the federal government offers student loan debt modifications to help you get current on payments and keep payments affordable. We can help you get your student loan debt modifications.
The Income Based Repayment Program
The Income-Based Repayment (IBR) program puts a cap on student loan debt payments based on your income and may forgive remaining balances after 25 years. We may be able to qualify you for the income based repayment program even if you have defaulted on your student loan debt. The goal of the Income Based Repayment Program is to keep monthly payments low and manageable while income is low. As income increases so will payments. This is a more attractive alternative to carrying a high payment while you are building your income.
Example: Income Based Repayment Program – Job: Lab Tech
- Up to $25,000 in student loan debt
- Earning $32,000 per year
- After 14 years in the income Based Repayment Program
- Repaid entire loan plus $14,932 in interest payments
- IBR keeps monthly payment lower than standard 10 year repayment plan until income rises
What is Student Loan Forgiveness?
Public school teachers and public sector employees may qualify for student loan debt modification and student loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Public school teachers and qualified public sector employees may qualify for student loan forgiveness after 10 years without any further tax consequences.
Example: Public school teacher, qualified for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (a.k.a Student Loan Forgiveness)
- Owes $60,000 in student loan debt from undergrad and graduate school
- Earns $36,000 per year as a school teacher
- After 10 years in the Income Based Repayment Program
- Repaid $33,970 of $60,000 principal
- IBR program keeps monthly payments manageable
- $60,000 principal and interest student loan forgiveness under PSLF is not taxed as income
Recent Graduate? 11 Tips for Dealing with Student Loans
If you’ve recently graduated or are no longer in school you’ll need to start thinking about ways to keep your student loan debt under control. Avoiding paying extra interest and fees is a good place to start. Maintaining affordable payments and protecting your credit score for future borrowing are also a priority. Here are 10 tips for you:
- Know Your Loans: You should know who your lender is, how much you owe, and the repayment status of each loan. If you’ don’t know all the information about your student loans then contact your lender or visit www.nslds.ed.gov. This site will list all of your federal student loans, the amount due, the lender, and the repayment status. Loans that aren’t listed here are likely private loans.
- Know Your Grace Period:A grace period is the time between leaving school and when the first payment on your student loan comes due. The grace period varies between Stafford, Perkins and Federal PLUS loans. Whatever you do, don’t miss your first payment!
- Stay in Touch with Your Lender: Always keep your contact information updated with your student loan lender. If your lender can’t contact you then it may end up costing you a lot of money. Always read your mail and emails. Sticking your head I the sand will only cost you more money. Remember, your lender is supposed to help you so reaching out to them is a good idea. But, they can also be very confusing so calling us is a better idea.
- Picking the Right Repayment Option: All federal student loans automatically default to a standard 10-year repayment plan. However, we have found that the standard student loan repayment plan is very difficult for most to maintain. Choosing an extended 20 or 30-year repayment plan will lower monthly payments but you’ll end up paying a lot more over the course of the loan in the form of interest. There may be other less obvious options available such as the Income-Based Repayment Plan or Pay As you Earn plan that caps your monthly payment at a percentage of your annual income. Debt forgiveness may be available on the back end of some of these income based repayment plans. Again, this is where things start to become too complicated for most people to deal with. Our firm will help qualify you for one of these income-based repayment plans.
*Private student loans present a completely different set of problems. While they are not eligible for the income-based repayment plans discussed above, each lender may have a different set of options worth exploring.
- Don’t Worry:When trouble strikes, i.e., unemployment, medical issues, etc., that prevents you from repaying your student loan remember that you have options for managing your federal student loans. Deferments and forbearance are legitimate ways to postpone student loan payments while dealing with these issues. However, keep in mind that interest will continue to accrue. If the problem is that you’re making less money than you may qualify for one of the income-based repayment plans previously discussed.
- Don’t Default! Ignoring and defaulting on your student loans has serious, lifetime consequences. A default kick-in after nine months for federal student loans. Defaulting on your federal student loan leads to the entire balance being called due, a major drop in your credit score, and the possibility of garnishment of your wages and tax refund. Private student loans are called into default much quicker and put everyone that may have co-signed at risk.
- Prepay If You Can: It’s always a good idea to pay more than your required monthly payment if it’s affordable. Paying ahead lowers the principal balance which saves you on interest payments over the course of the loan. But, make sure that you include a written request with any extra payments instructing your student loan lender to apply the extra payments to the principal balance. Without the written request your student loan lender may apply the extra payment to the future payments and not the principal.
- Pay Off the Most Expensive Loans First: If you’re able to pay off one or more of your loans ahead of schedule then start with the one that carries the highest interest rate. We would also suggest that you target any private loans that you have and pay them off before your federal student loans because they usually carry higher interest rates and don’t have flexible repayment options that you might have with the federal student loans.
- What is Student Loan Consolidation: Consolidating your student loans means combining multiple student loans into a single monthly payment with one interest rate. For federal student loans you may need to consolidate if it is necessary to qualify for an income-based repayment plan. For private student loans you should be very careful when considering consolidation. Reading the fine print is a must. However, never consolidate a federal student loan into a private student loan. You will lose all of the great options that come with the federal student loan plans.
- Loan Forgiveness: Most of the income-based repayment options end in some type of loan forgiveness. Public employees and public school teachers may qualify for student loan forgiveness after 10 years of payments. Other income-based repayment plans may offer student loan forgiveness after 25 years of payments.
- Can I Modify My Student Loan Myself: Yes and no. In theory the answer is yes, but we have found that most student loan servicers such as Sallie Mae and Navient are not very helpful when it comes to pointing borrowers in the right direction. That, coupled with the fact that much of this tends to be very confusing and time consuming means that most people have not taken advantage of potential options available. Call our firm today and for a very reasonable flat rate we will help put you into the best student loan repayment plan available to you.
Why STAMATAKIS + THALJI + BONANNO
Our firm serves Florida consumers with student loan debt problems. With more than 60 years combined legal experience our attorneys we are proud to offer consumers affordability, efficiency, and accountability work.