Tuesday, June 28, 2016

15 Ways to Pay Off Defaulted Student Loan Debt

 Student loan debt
Student loan debt is one of the hardest debts to pay off. Many Americans pay on their student loans well into their adult life some adults continue to pay student loans well into their retirement years. If your student loans go into default, it can take a while to get them into good standing. 

You risk having your tax refund taken, your paycheck garnished or being taken to court. Federal student loans have more regulations and programs to help borrowers pay their student loan debt.  Private loans are not as regulated and offer very few programs or none at all depending on the company to help borrowers pay their student loan debt. Here are 15 ways to get current on defaulted student loans. 

Private loans
  1. Offer a good faith payment or a lump sum payment to use as negotiation to request that any fees or finance charges be waived.  Also, request that your payment history is updated on your credit report. 
  2. Refinance.  After paying your loan on time for at least two years you can comparison shop and sell the loan to another loan servicer or bank for a better interest rate.
  3. When private loans go into default they are usually forwarded to a collection agency which may not be as willing to work with you to setup a payment plan.  Negotiate and offer a payment plan that you know you will be able to afford each month.  If they refuse to accept your payment plan you may have to provide documentation such as a budget or paystub to support your payment plan.
  4. You may be charged fees by the collection agency but no more than 18.5% of the outstanding principal and interest.
  5. If you are in the military and are on active duty there are limits on interest accrual.
  6. If the collection agency is not adhering to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act file a complaint against the company with the Federal Trade Commission.
  7. You can consolidate loans to use the student loan forgiveness (or public service forgiveness) programs.
  8. Ask for a copy of the collection agency's business license, proof that they have a legal right to collect on the student loan and proof that you owe the amount stated on the letter you received.
  9. If the school you attended closed or you withdrew from school you may be eligible for a partial refund by completing an unpaid refund discharge application form.

Federal loans
  1. After making payments on time for 9-10 months, your loan will be placed in good standing (rehabilitated) and you will be eligible for various programs such as deferment, forbearance and student loan forgiveness.
  2. Determine how much you can afford to pay each month.  This may require that you create a budget and reduce some expenses to ensure you make the payments each month.
  3. If your loan has not been sent to a collection agency, send a payment to the Department of Education's Payment Center. 
  4. You can consolidate your loans into one loan which will put your loan in good standing.
  5. Don't consolidate federal loans into private loans because you will no longer be eligible for deferment, cancellation, forbearance or income-based payment plans.
  6. You can consolidate your federal loans into the Direct Loans government consolidation program.
  7. If you default on a Direct Loan you must make 3 payments or agree to pay the loan using the Income Contingent Repayment Plan (ICRP) or Income Based Repayment Plan (IBR).  If you sign up for the ICRP or IBR you do not have to make 3 payments before applying for consolidation.
  8. You can only consolidate a Direct Loan once.

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