Crushing student loan debt is hammering college graduates. Student loan defaults are soaring toward new records. College loan borrowers have called for debt relief. But now President Obama has proposed faster government-backed loan consolidation and loan forgiveness plans to help borrowers repay their college debts and give a boost to the American economy.
President Obama’s decision to expand education loan forgiveness to more students now could very well mean that loans you took out to pay for college may get much easier to handle. Details of his new “Pay As You Earn” program, outlining new rules for repayment, are still emerging.
Loan consolidation at a lower interest rate is the main objective of the plan. Three major features of the plan benefiting college graduates struggling to make their monthly educational loan payments are:
Each loan that would be consolidated retains its original repayment term. Thus, borrowers will pay less interest over the life of the loan than they would under the traditional consolidation programs.
A fixed rate (not to exceed 8.25%) after applying the 0.25% interest rate reduction to qualifying loans being consolidated. Lower interest rates means more of the monthly payment pays off the principal balance.
Electronic Debit Payment Benefit
Those who take advantage of this new consolidation plan are eligible for an additional 0.25% interest rate reduction if their loan is repaid through the Department of Education’s automatic debit system.
The loan consolidation program will only be made available during a 6-month window, Jan. 2012 through June 2012, so borrowers need to act fast.
The government wants those people holding both private and government student loans to be allowed to consolidate their debts right now into one new government loan. Such a move could slash their interest rates, and save them money in the process as the federal government speeds up roll-out of an income-based repayment program that was originally slated to begin in 2014.
College graduates would still be responsible to keeping making payments on their loans, but those revised payments would be capped at just 10% of their income.
And, best of all for those who borrowed tens of thousands of dollars to finance their college education, their loans would then be forgiven after 20 years.
It is still not entirely clear how many students the new law is aimed at helping; estimates range from 450,000 to upwards of 6 million.
When Congress passed the Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBRP) in 2010 — the new law which drops the monthly payment to 10% of discretionary income and would forgive all college student debt after 20 years — there was a long waiting period before it became a reality; it was originally not set to go into effect until 2014. Now, the new terms would take effect in Jan. 2012.
Low-income borrowers would benefit the most. If a student loan borrower qualifies, then monthly payments are based only on any income above 150% of the poverty line ($16,335, the current 2011 U.S. poverty threshold.)
For a graduate living on their own, IBRP payments would be based on what he or she earned over this $16,335. Moreover, if the graduate is unemployed and has no income at all, then no monthly loan payment would be due at all.
Although it is unclear how this monthly reporting would be done, this new debt relief plan still represents a positive step forward toward resolving the debacle affecting untold numbers of college graduates who are struggling to make their college debt repayments. More detailed information on how to get student loans forgiven, visit FindHow2.com.