We get lots of questions about student loans so we decided to bring on an expert to help. Heather Jarvis joins us to answer of your pressing questions.
Heather graduated from Duke Law School with $125,000 in student loans. She wanted to use her degree to help poor people so it wasn’t going to be a big salary helping her pay that back.
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Heather has worked on the government’s student debt relief programs but admits they are complicated and tricky to access. Heather’s site is designed to make things easier for those who already have student loan debt.
We asked Heather to explain some of the programs to help deal with student loan debt.
1. Income-Based Repayment Plans
This is an income-based repayment for federal student loans. You do need to show financial hardship in order to get it. Which shouldn’t be too hard as student loans are a financial hardship. Your monthly payment will be based on the income reported on your tax return and compared to the national poverty rate.
2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
Public servants can apply to have their loans forgiven after ten years. Heather says, “It’s all about making the right kind of payments, on the right kind of loan while working the right kind of job.”
3. Deferment or Forbearance
If you’re having trouble paying your loan no matter how much the monthly amount is lowered to, you can apply for a forbearance, which allows you to defer your loan payments for a certain period of time. The interest still accrues during this period though so keep that in mind.
Basic Student Loan Tips from Heather
- Everyone should be filling out the FAFSA forms, even if you think you won’t get it.
- Try to get federal loans over private loans because they tend to have lower interest rates.
- Use StudentLoans.gov and check out some of the tools and services there.
- State loans are the worst of both federal and private loans.
- Be careful about what you borrow. Understand what kind of loans you have and what your options are.
- Think more carefully about the cost of the colleges you plan to attend.
- Consider community college for a few years to do your prerequisite courses.
College debt can be crippling but there is help out there. If you are struggling, consult Heather’s site and get some help.
Ask Heather Jarvis: Take control of your debt.
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