Many students struggle with debt, but there are helpful payment programs at your disposal. Regardless of the program, it is always prudent to pay off your loans beyond the minimum payment to avoid excess interest and shorten the lifespan of the loan. If you feel squeezed by your student debt, look into the following programs.
Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
This program is one of the more popular student loan plans. Established by the Obama Administration in 2009, this program allows you to pay a lower amount per month and cap the amount you pay at 15 percent of your income. You may qualify if your debt balance exceeds your income bracket. This program applies to Grad PLUS and Stafford loans, including consolidated loans. IBR does not cover non-federal loans.
This is a great option if you have multiple student loans. Debt consolidation helps you:
Pay a lower amount per month
Combine all accounts into one balance
Give you 30 years to pay back the loan
This program allows plenty of leeways, but there are drawbacks. For instance, you could lose an interest rate discount, and the decades-long process of repaying the loan means you could pay more in interest over time. To avoid excess interest, pay off the loan before the 30-year lifespan ends. Covered loans include subsidized and unsubsidized loans, Perkins loans, and health and nursing loans.
Debt Forgiveness Program
This program applies to young people who study for civil service jobs as a teacher, police officer, or firefighter. Students still have to make payments, but a large portion of the debt is forgiven. In order to qualify, students need to make payments for at least 10 years while working in their chosen field. Debt forgiveness applies to other fields, too, so check your local laws to see if your career path falls under the program.