Can you get your Sallie Mae loans forgiven?

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The reality is that Sallie Mae student loans aren’t likely to evaporate into thin air. That’s because Sallie Mae is a private lender now. And despite what you may have heard — or hoped for based on some 2020 presidential campaign promises — currently, there is no such thing as private student loan forgiveness.

 

Forgiveness is limited to federal education loans, and even then, the options are few. There are federal student loan forgiveness programs for those who go into public service or teaching. Other than that, it’s extremely difficult to cancel student loans.

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Related: What happens if you just stop paying your student loans?

Can Older Sallie Mae Loans Be Forgiven?

If you’re confused about whether your Sallie Mae loans are private or federal, it may be because the company has evolved over the years.

 

Though Sallie Mae, aka the SLM Corp., no longer services federal loans, that wasn’t always the case. Sallie Mae was created in 1972 as the Student Loan Marketing Association, a government-sponsored enterprise that serviced federal education loans. Even though it became fully privatized in 2005, the company continued to service federal loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program until that program ended in 2010. Then, in 2014, Sallie Mae split into two companies: SLM Corp. and Navient Corp, and shifted all its federal student loans to Navient.

 

So, if you have a loan that originated before 2014, it may have been a federal loan that started out with Sallie Mae and then moved on to Navient. If that’s the case, you may be able to apply for Sallie Mae loan forgiveness. Applying can be complicated, and you may have to consolidate your loans into a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan as part of the process.

 

You can see if your old debt is a federal education loan by visiting the Federal Student Aid website. If it is and you want to seek loan forgiveness, you’ll eventually make your application to the government.  Keep in mind that Navient federal student loan accounts were to shift to Maximus after Navient cut ties with the Department of Education in late 2021.

 

You can contact your current loan servicer for information on how to get started.

What If You Don’t Qualify for Loan Forgiveness?

If federal student loan forgiveness seems like a long shot for you, don’t despair — you also may want to look into deferment or forbearance. These strategies allow qualifying borrowers to temporarily reduce or stop their federal student loan payments. However, depending on the type of federal loan you have, interest may continue to accrue while payments are paused, which could increase the overall cost of the loan.

 

Looking for a more long-term solution? An income-based repayment plan can offer qualified applicants another way to lower federal student loan payments. The four options limit monthly payments based on family size and discretionary income (the difference between your annual income and 150% of the poverty guideline for your family size and state of residence).

 

You can contact your loan servicer for assistance with federal loan repayment. If you don’t know who your servicer is, you can find out by visiting your Federal Student Aid dashboard or calling 800-433-3243.

Are There Alternatives to Private Student Loan Forgiveness?

Although there currently is no such thing as Sallie Mae private student loan forgiveness, there are alternatives available to borrowers struggling to manage their private loans.

 

Private lenders don’t offer income-driven repayment plans. But if you feel comfortable calling Sallie Mae (or any lender) directly, you could ask whether they offer other repayment plans, or what ideas they might have for your situation. At the very least, it doesn’t hurt to learn more about your loans.

 

Some lenders, including Sallie Mae, offer deferment and forbearance for those who qualify. The timeline and cost for each of these programs may vary by lender. Sallie Mae, for example, may require a “good faith payment” in order to go into forbearance, and you can press pause on payments for only three months at a time, for a maximum of a year.

 

Something else to consider if you’re thinking about deferment or forbearance is that although the payments are paused, interest may continue to accrue. And this can increase the total cost of the loan.

What About Refinancing?

If you can’t make any headway with your current repayment plan, you can always look into refinancing. While Sallie Mae doesn’t offer loan consolidation and refinancing anymore, you could potentially reduce your interest rate by refinancing your student loans with a different private lender, especially if you have a good credit history and strong potential earnings.

 

If you’re approved, the new lender will pay off your old loans and issue you one new student loan — hopefully with a lower interest rate. A lower rate can save money on interest payments over the life of the loan, provided that the loan term isn’t extended. You could extend your loan term if you’re hoping to make your monthly payments more manageable, or you could opt for a shorter loan term to try to get out of debt sooner.

 

Though you can’t combine federal and private student loans through a federal loan consolidation program, some private lenders will refinance both.

 

You’ve probably been warned that you could give up some important benefits if you refinance your federal student loans through a private lender, and it’s true. You’ll lose access to federal repayment programs. But refinancing with a private lender makes sense for some borrowers.

The Takeaway

Lender Sallie Mae used to offer federal student loans, and if you received one, you may be able to qualify for loan forgiveness. But federal student loan forgiveness can be hard to get, and if you have a private student loan through Sallie Mae, forgiveness is not available. There are, however, repayment options, including refinancing.

 

Learn more:

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
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Private vs. federal student loans

 

Getting accepted to college may seem exciting on the surface, but in reality, it’s only half the battle. After you’ve filled out your applications and decided on a school, you’ll then need to fund your college education (which can quickly dampen the excitement of getting accepted).

 

There are a few different options when it comes to financing a college education, and it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each. Then, you’ll likely be better able to develop a funding strategy that fits your unique situation.

 

Depending on your academic qualifications, you may have been awarded scholarships or grants, which is funding that won’t (typically) need to be repaid. Any expenses not covered by a scholarship will need to be financed, often through a combination of work-study, personal funds, or student loans.

 

It is fairly common for college students to take out student loans to finance their education. There are two main types of student loans: private student loans and federal ones.

 

We’ll compare and contrast some of the more popular features of both private and federal student loans and explore some features that can help you determine what makes the most sense for your financial situation.

 

Related: A guide to private student loans

 

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Federal student loans are funded by the federal government and, in order to qualify, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year that you want to receive federal student loans. We’ll delve more into FAFSA soon — but first, here are some important distinct

ions to consider.

 

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Federal loans can be subsidized or unsubsidized. If you’re an undergraduate student and you have a certain level of financial need, you may qualify for a subsidized loan. The amount of money you qualify for will be determined by your school. They’ll also determine how much money you should receive in subsidized loans, if any.

 

If you are granted a subsidized loan, the U.S. government will cover, or subsidize, the cost of accrued interest on the loan  while you are a full- or half-time student.

 

Your interest payments are also covered with subsidized loans during the six-month grace period after graduation as well as during any periods of loan deferment.

 

If you receive unsubsidized federal loans, you will not need to demonstrate financial need when applying and, as with subsidized loans, your school will determine the amount you can receive, based on what it will cost you to attend.

 

But with unsubsidized loans, you are responsible for the principal amount of the loan as well as any interest that accrues throughout the life of the loan.

 

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Direct PLUS Loans are another source of federal student loan funding. To qualify for graduate PLUS Loans, you need to be a graduate-level or professional student in a program that offers graduate or professional degrees or certifications and be attending college at least half-time.

 

Or parents can also apply for a parent PLUS loan  if they’re the parent of a dependent undergraduate student attending an eligible school at least half-time. “Parent” can be defined as biological or adoptive — or, under certain circumstances, you can be a step-parent.

 

To obtain a Direct PLUS loan, you cannot have an adverse credit history (you can learn more about that here). Plus, you (and, if applicable, your dependent child) must meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid.

 

 

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If you plan to apply for any of these types of federal loans, you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA form. Be aware of your state’s deadline — FAFSA funding is determined on a rolling basis, so the sooner you can apply, the sooner you may qualify.

 

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First off, you won’t be responsible for making student loan payments while you are actively enrolled in school. Your repayment will typically begin after you graduate, leave school, or are enrolled less than half-time. Interest rates on federal student loans made after July 1, 2006  are fixed and are typically lower than interest rates on private student loans.

 

And depending on the type of federal loans you have, the interest you pay could be tax deductible. Aside from Direct PLUS Loans,credit history doesn’t factor into a federal loan application. When it comes to federal student loan repayment, there are several options to choose from, including several income-driven repayment plans.

 

And if you run into difficulty repaying your federal student loans after graduation or when you drop below half-time enrollment, there are deferment and forbearance options available.

 

These programs allow qualifying borrowers to temporarily pause payments on their loans should they run into financial issues, but interest may still accrue. The loan type will inform whether a borrower qualifies for deferment or forbearance.

 

Borrowers can contact their student loan servicer for more information on these programs.

 

Qualifying borrowers can also enroll in certain forgiveness programs, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). These programs have strict requirements, so borrowers who are pursuing forgiveness should review program details closely.

 

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The CARES Act, passed in March 2020 in response to COVID-19, includes provisions to help borrowers with federal student loan repayment. The bill temporarily pauses payments on most federal student loans, without interest, through the end of September 2021.

 

Additionally, the CARES Act suspends involuntary collections and negative credit reporting during the same time period.

 

While required payments are paused, borrowers are still able to make payments on their loans if they so choose. 100% of payments made during this time will be applied to the principal balance of the loan.

 

Borrowers enrolled in forgiveness programs will not be impacted by the nonpayment of their loans during this time. The Education Department will consider this time period as if the borrower had continued making payments.

 

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Private student loans are not funded by the government. To apply for them, you can check with individual lenders (banks, credit unions, and the like), with the college or university you’ll be attending, or state loan agencies.

 

Because these loans are available from multiple sources, and each will come with its own terms and conditions. So, when applying for private student loans, it’s important to clearly understand annual percentage rates (APRs) and repayment terms before signing as well as the differences between private vs federal student loans.

 

Since private student loans are not associated with the federal government, their repayment terms and benefits vary from lender to lender. Some private loans require payments while you’re still attending college.

 

Unlike federal loans, interest rates could be fixed or variable. If you are applying for a variable-rate loan, it’s a good idea to check to see how often the interest rate can change, plus how much it can change each time, and what the maximum interest rate can be.

 

When applying for a private loan, the lender typically reviews your financial history and credit score, which means it may be beneficial to have a cosigner.

Again, be sure to ask your lender about repayment options in addition to any deferment or forbearance options.

 

These will all vary by lender, so it’s important to understand the terms of the particular loan you are applying for.

 

Private loans can help fill the monetary gap between what you’re able to cover with grants, scholarships, federal loans and the like, and what you owe to attend college. It’s never a bad idea to take the time to do your research, shop around, and find the best loan options for your personal financial situation.

 

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To find out if the student loan you have is a federal student loan, one option is to check the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

 

This database, run by the Department of Education, is a collection of information on student loans, aggregating data from information about student loans, aggregating data from universities, federal loan programs and more.

 

Borrowers with federal student loans can also log into My Federal Student Aid  to find information about their student loan including the federal loan servicer.

 

Private student loans are administered by private companies. To confirm information on a private student loan, one option is to look at your loan statements and contact your loan servicer.

 

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After graduation, depending on one’s student loan situation, borrowers may wish to consider consolidation or refinancing options to combine their various loans into a single loan.

 

 

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The federal government offers the Direct Consolidation Loan program that allows borrowers to combine all of their federal loans into one consolidated loan.

 

Loans consolidated in this program receive a new interest rate that is the weighted average of the interest rates of all loans being consolidated — rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of a percent.

 

This means that the actual interest rate isn’t necessarily reduced when consolidated. If monthly payments are reduced, it is most likely because the repayment term has been lengthened.

 

Additionally, only federal student loans are eligible for consolidation in the Direct Consolidation Loan program.

 

Youngoldman / istockphoto

 

Borrowers with private student loans might consider refinancing their loans. Essentially, refinancing is taking out a new loan. Depending upon individual financial situations, applicants could qualify for a lower interest rate through refinancing.

 

When an individual applies to refinance with a private lender, there is typically a credit check of some kind. Each lender reviews specific borrower criteria, which varies from lender to lender, which influences the rate and terms an applicant may qualify for.

 

But what if you have both federal and private loans? If you combine your federal loans through the Direct Consolidation Loan program and refinanced your private loans, you’d still have two payments.

 

Learn more:

This article
originally appeared on 
SoFi.com and was
syndicated by
MediaFeed.org.

 

IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE  FOR MORE INFORMATION.
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External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

 

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