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Student Loan Repayment Strategies William Kahler Director of Financial Aid California Western School of Law.

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Presentation on theme: "Student Loan Repayment Strategies William Kahler Director of Financial Aid California Western School of Law."— Presentation transcript:

1 Student Loan Repayment Strategies William Kahler Director of Financial Aid California Western School of Law

2 Know Your Loans Loan types, lenders, loan servicers Loans can be sold to a different lender Loans can also be “put”: sold to the Department of Education Information on your loans can be obtained from the National Student Loan Data System:

3 Tactics Postponement options – Deferment – Forbearance – Alignment Forbearance Repayment options – Standard – Extended, Graduated – Income-Based Repayment Public Service Loan Forgiveness

4 Tactics Other tactics – Consolidation Necessary for PSLF Move from multiple lenders to a single lender – Prepayment Any student loan (federal or private) may be prepaid without penalty

5 Postponement Grace period – Perkins loans: 9 months – Stafford loans: 6 months – PLUS loans: NONE, but can be aligned with Stafford loan repayment start date (ask lender for alignment) – If grace period is ever fully used, it goes away Summer breaks okay, but more than six months of non- enrollment or less-than-half-time enrollment removes grace period

6 Postponement Deferment – In-school (half-time or more) – Unemployment, up to 3 years – Economic Hardship Recently changed; harder to qualify for Receiving public assistance, serving as Peace Corps volunteer, or earning less than 150% of poverty line or less than monthly minimum wage (whichever is greater) Use IBR for high debt and low wages – Active duty military – Interest does not accrue on Perkins or Subsidized Stafford – Interest accrues on Unsubsidized Stafford or PLUS – Usually must apply with each lender

7 Postponement Forbearance – A temporary postponement or reduction of payments because you are experiencing financial difficulty – Up to 1 year at a time for up to 3 years – Interest always accrues – Usually must apply with each lender

8 Federal Consolidation Loan Helps simplify things by combining federal loans under one lender Allows FFEL and Perkins loans to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness by taking out a Direct Consolidation Loan Not generally useful as a refinancing tool – Exception: can reduce PLUS from 8.5% to 8.25% if no other loans included

9 Stafford, PLUS, and Consolidation Loan Repayment Options Standard (10 years) Extended (12-30 years) – Warning! No PSLF Graduated (12-30 years with lower payments at first) – Warning! No PSLF Income Based Repayment – 15% over 150% poverty, or 10-year – 25-year forgiveness

10 Stafford, PLUS, and Consolidation Loan Repayment Non-Options Income-Contingent Repayment  – Old Direct Loan-only version of IBR; no reason to use, unless you don’t qualify for IBR at start of repayment (rare) – 20% over poverty, or 12-year flat payment (higher payments than IBR) – 25-year forgiveness Income-Sensitive Repayment  – Old FFEL-only version of IBR; no reason to use. – Warning! Not eligible for PSLF *and* must cover interest

11 Income-Based Repayment Caps repayment at 15% of discretionary income – Or the Standard 10-year payment on the initial balance when repayment began, whichever is lower Must have “Partial Financial Hardship” to qualify – PFH means: Initial IBR payment is less than Standard 10-year payment Remaining balance forgiven after 25 years. – IBR forgiveness is a taxable event under current law – HR 2492 seeks to change this; in committee, but…

12 Income-Based Repayment Covers Federal Stafford, Federal Graduate PLUS, and Federal Consolidation loans (both Direct and FFEL). Does not cover Federal Perkins loans. – However, Perkins can be consolidated into Federal Consolidation loans, which are covered. – There are also Perkins-only forgiveness provisions for certain jobs in teaching, family service agencies, law enforcement, armed forces, or other jobs. Does not cover private, state, or institutional loans.

13 Income-Based Repayment Replaces Economic Hardship deferment as method of avoiding payment during bar study period. – Economic Hardship definition no longer includes high debt/low income (“20/220 rule”) – Anyone who would have qualified under 20/220 will qualify for IBR – Under IBR, some payments may be necessary if borrower earns enough income; this could reduce interest subsidy slightly

14 Income-Based Repayment Example From your AGI, subtract 150% of the poverty level for your family size: – = Take 15% of the remainder: x 0.15 = This amount is your annual maximum payment under IBR. Divide by 12 for monthly payment amount: 6563 / 12 = 547.

15 Public Service Loan Forgiveness To be eligible for PSLF you must: – Make 120 of the right kind of payments – With the right kind of loan – While working in the right kind of job

16 Public Service Loan Forgiveness Make 120 of the right kind of payments – Income-Based Repayment (IBR) – Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR, IBR’s generally inferior older cousin) – Standard 10-year – The wrong kind of payment: extended, graduated, or income-SENSITIVE payments

17 Public Service Loan Forgiveness With the right kind of loan – Direct Loans Only (Stafford, Grad PLUS, Consolidation under William D. Ford Direct Loan Program) – FFEL loans (like those borrowed at CWSL) not eligible; neither are Perkins loans – However, FFEL loans (including FFEL Stafford, FFEL PLUS, and FFEL Consolidation loans) and Perkins Loans can be consolidated into Direct Consolidation Loans.

18 Public Service Loan Forgiveness While working in the right kind of job – Full-time employee of a 501(c)(3) – Or a full-time federal, state, local, or tribal employee Includes AG, DA, PD, JAG, FBI, etc. – Or a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position – Or the job satisfies both parts of the following test: The employer is not "a business organized for profit, a labor union, a partisan political organization, or an organization engaged in religious activities, unless the qualifying activities are unrelated to religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing" AND the employer provides any of the following public services: emergency management; military service; public safety; law enforcement; public interest law services; early childhood education; public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly; public health; public education; public library services; and school library or other school-based services.

19 Public Service Loan Forgiveness Forgiven amounts not taxable under PSLF!

20 Different situations, Different strategies Aggressive: Pay down loans early (Standard repayment – or faster!) – Requires high income – Minimizes interest cost (no penalty for prepayment) – Not an option for some high balances Extended: stretch out flat payments over many years (Extended, Graduated) – Highest interest – Probably not the best option for federal loans IBR: Income Based Repayment – Caps payments based on your income – If balance remains after 25 years, forgiveness – Federal loans only; must consolidate Perkins – Can be more costly if income spikes PSLF: Public Service Loan Forgiveness – Under IBR, caps payments based on your income – Requires 10 years of full-time public service employment – If balance remains after 120 qualifying payments, forgiveness – Federal loans only; must consolidate FFEL loans and Perkins to Direct If circumstances change, consider changing strategies

21 Federal Loans only $180,000 debt Repayment optionStarting Monthly Payment (rounded) Standard 10-year$2180 Extended 25-year$1380 Income Based Repayment ($100,000 AGI)$1050 Income Based Repayment ($60,000 AGI)$550 Income Based Repayment ($40,000 AGI)$300

22 Repayment graph Assumes 3% inflation, and 4% annual AGI increase

23 Total Payments $180,000 debt, 3% inflation, 4% annual AGI increase Repayment OptionTotal PaymentsTotal Forgiven Standard 10-year$261,145None Extended 25-year$413,896None IBR, $60K starting salary$285,971$248,127 PSLF, $60K starting salary$80,120$242,425

24 Repayment graph Assumes 3% inflation, and 4% annual AGI increase

25 Total Payments $180,000 debt, 3% inflation, 4% annual AGI increase Repayment OptionTotal PaymentsTotal Forgiven Standard 10-year$261,145None Extended 25-year$413,896None IBR, $60K starting, jumps to $120K in year 5 $422,443 (23 years)None PSLF, $60K starting, jumps to $120K in year 5 $118,306$116,117

26 Federal Loans only $60,000 debt Repayment optionStarting Monthly Payment (rounded) Standard 10-year$690 Extended 25-year$420 Income Based Repayment ($100,000 AGI)$1050 [No Partial Financial Hardship!] Income Based Repayment ($60,000 AGI)$550 Income Based Repayment ($40,000 AGI)$300

27 Repayment graph Assumes 3% inflation, and 4% annual salary increase

28 Total Payments $60,000 debt, 3% inflation, 4% annual AGI increase Repayment OptionTotal PaymentsTotal Forgiven Standard 10-year$82,858None Extended 25-year$124,935None IBR, $60K starting AGI$87,459 (11.3 years)None PSLF, $60K starting AGI$77,078$9,924

29 Private Loans Terms vary by loan. Generally: No deferments, but a “grace period” and forbearances are available An extended repayment plan may be available No federal consolidation. “Private Consolidation” expensive and usually unhelpful.

30 Private Loans Private loans can’t be included in IBR, so total monthly payment = IBR payment + private loan payment Since private loans generally have variable rates, it is a good idea to prepay private loans as quickly as possible, while interest rates are low

31 For More Information IBRinfo.org EqualJusticeWorks.org Department of Education – Google: ed.gov IBR (for IBR information) – Google: ed.gov PSLF (for Public Service Loan Forgiveness information) Finaid.org (for calculators and in-depth analysis)


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