5 Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans Faster

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Wed, 2014-05-28 06:30

The first thing people say when they find out where I work: “Can you delete my student loans for me?”

If only I had that power. Just like many of you, I am a student loan borrower. Each month, my federal student loan servicer, withdraws my $381.35 student loan payment from my bank account and I still cringe every time. (Do you know how many pairs of shoes I could buy with that money?) Point is, I understand what you’re going through.

That said, there are manageable ways to pay off your student loans faster than you had planned and save yourself money by doing so!

Here are some ideas:

  1. Pay Right Away Even though you’re usually not required to, consider making student loan payments during your grace period or while you’re still in school. If you’re short on cash, consider at least paying enough each month to cover the amount of interest you’re accruing. That way your interest doesn’t capitalize and get added to your principal balance. Not doing this was one of the biggest mistakes I made with my student loans.
  2. Sign up for Automatic Debit If you sign up for automatic debit, your student loan servicer will automatically deduct your student loan payment from your bank account each month. Not only does this help ensure that you make payments on time, but you may also be able to get an interest rate deduction for enrolling. Contact your loan servicer to see if your loan is eligible for this benefit.
  3. Pay More than Your Minimum Payment Even if it’s $5 a month!  Paying a little extra each month can reduce the interest you pay and reduce your total cost of your loan over time. If you want to ensure that your loan is paid off faster, make sure you tell your loan servicer that the extra amount you’re paying is not intended to be put toward future payments. If given the option, ask your servicer if the additional payment amount can be allocated to your higher interest loans first.
  4. Use Your Tax Refund One easy way to pay off your loan faster is to dedicate your tax refund to paying off some of your student loan debt. Part of the reason you may have gotten a refund in the first place is because you get a tax deduction for paying student loan interest. Might as well be smart about the way you spend it.
  5. Seek Out Forgiveness and Repayment Options There are a number of situations under which you can have your federal student loan balance forgiven. There are forgiveness and repayment programs for teachers, public servants, members of the United States Armed Forces, and more. Most of these programs have very specific eligibility requirements, but if you think you might qualify, you should definitely do some research. Also, research whether your employer offers repayment assistance for employees with student loans. There are many who do!

Nicole Callahan is a Digital Engagement Strategist at The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid. She is scheduled to finish repaying her student loans in 2021, but is hoping that by taking her own advice, she will finish much faster.

 

Categories: Higher Education News

#NotAllMen, but #YesAllWomen: Campus Tragedy Spurs Debate on Sexual Violence

Chronicle of Higher Education - Wed, 2014-05-28 02:55

Last week’s shooting rampage near the University of California at Santa Barbara has prompted a wide discussion on Twitter, both on campuses and off.

Categories: Higher Education News

Ph.D. Programs Should Change but Not Shrink, MLA Says

Chronicle of Higher Education - Wed, 2014-05-28 02:55

Departments need to better prepare students for careers off the tenure track and to shorten the time to a doctorate.

Categories: Higher Education News

2 Years On, Two-Thirds of This Graduating Class Aren’t Financially Self-Sufficient

Chronicle of Higher Education - Wed, 2014-05-28 02:55

A study that has followed some 2,000 students since they entered the University of Arizona in 2007 is now finding out how they’re faring as graduates.

Categories: Higher Education News

Working with Community Leaders to Improve Educational Outcomes for AANHPI Students

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Tue, 2014-05-27 08:11

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who chairs the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, meets with community leaders from across the country to discuss educational challenges among AANHPI students. (by Bernadette Rietz)

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a time for us to celebrate the accomplishments of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) and their contributions to this great nation. This year’s theme for the month is “I am Beyond,” which captures the aspirations of the American spirit and how Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have always sought to excel beyond the challenges that have limited equal opportunity in America.

As chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, it is important that I hear directly from AANHPI leaders who work with our students and their families every day. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to meet with community leaders who came from as far as Guam and Hawaii to discuss important issues that face AANHPI students around the country and in the Insular Areas. I was honored to have many key leaders at the Department of Education who have made working with AAPI populations a critical part of their work.

I heard important updates and requests on data disaggregation, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), bullying and harassment, English Language Learners, boys and young men of color through the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, and native languages and culture-based education. Leaders emphasized that aggregated AANHPI data mask critical issues such as the alarmingly low college graduation rates for Southeast Asian Americans (12 percent of Laotian, 14 percent of Cambodian, and 26 percent of Vietnamese American populations) and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders at 14.8 percent. I also heard about the high rates of bullying and harassment in these communities and that the Department could be helpful by helping raise awareness of AANAPISIs as Minority-Serving Institutions.

Knowing how important these issues are, I committed to continuing the conversations beyond this roundtable discussion, to explain our position on many issues, and to learn from the community on how the Department can improve our efforts to ensure equity for all. Members of the Education team will continue to meet with the AAPI community in the upcoming weeks and months to work on these issues, and I look forward to an update at the end of the year.

With the support of the Initiative, we have made progress on many of these issues, but we have more work ahead as we strive to improve educational experiences for AANHPI students.

Arne Duncan is Secretary of Education and Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Categories: Higher Education News

Student Loan Forgiveness (and Other Ways the Government Can Help You Repay Your Loans)

U.S. Department of Education Blog - Tue, 2014-05-27 06:27

Maybe you’ve heard or read about student loan forgiveness and you’re wondering what it is or if it is really possible? Or maybe you know a little about it and you want to find out if you qualify. Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll answer these questions and tell you where to go to learn more.

What is loan forgiveness?

Loan forgiveness is the cancellation of all or some portion of your federal student loan balance. Yes, that’s right—cancellation of your loan balance.  If your loan is forgiven, you are no longer required to repay that loan.

Is it really possible to have your student loans forgiven?

Yes! However, there are very specific eligibility requirements for each situation in which you can apply for loan forgiveness. If you think you may qualify, it’s definitely worth investigating.

How do I get my loans forgiven?

There are a number of situations under which you can have your federal student loan balance forgiven, and we’ve provided a few in this post. You will, however, want to research your options at StudentAid.gov/repay and contact your loan servicer for any questions you may have about student loan forgiveness.

A couple examples of situations in which your federal student loans may be forgiven include:

  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness: If you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families, and meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 on certain federal student loans. For details about this program, see Teacher Loan Forgiveness.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): If you work full-time in certain public service jobs you may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of your Direct Loans after you’ve made 120 qualifying payments on those loans—that’s usually about 10 years of payments. Serving in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps is considered qualifying employment. For loan repayment and borrower eligibility requirements, see Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

There are additional situations that allow you to apply for cancellation of your federal student loans. For example, if you are totally and permanently disabled, a member of the U.S. armed forces (serving in area of hostilities), a member of the Peace Corps, or a law enforcement or corrections officer, you may be eligible for cancellation of a portion of your federal student loan. Learn more about how you may qualify for loan forgiveness and contact your loan servicer with questions.

Are there other ways in which I can get help repaying my loans?

There are additional government programs that provide student loan repayment assistance for individuals who provide certain types of service. A couple examples include:

  • Military Service: In acknowledgement of your service to our country, there are special benefits and repayment options for your student loans available from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Defense. Learn about federal student loan benefits for members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • AmeriCorps: The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is a post-service benefit received by participants who complete a term of national service in an approved AmeriCorps program—AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps NCCC, or AmeriCorps State and National. An AmeriCorps member serving in a full-time term of national service is required to complete the service within 12 months. Upon successful completion of the service, members are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award which can be used to pay educational costs at eligible postsecondary institutions, as well as to repay qualified student loans.

Remember, there are resources available to help you repay your loans. In addition to loan forgiveness and other benefit programs, you also have other options if you find yourself in a situation where you’re having trouble making your loan payments. Make sure to discuss your options with your loan servicer.

Lisa Rhodes is a writer at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.

Categories: Higher Education News

For-Profit Colleges Decry Gainful-Employment Rule as ‘Arbitrary and Biased’

Chronicle of Higher Education - Tue, 2014-05-27 02:55

The sector’s trade group said the proposed regulation would deny a college education to millions of students. Advocates pressed to make it stronger.

Categories: Higher Education News

NIH Interference Is Cited in Federal Efforts to Protect Research Subjects

Chronicle of Higher Education - Tue, 2014-05-27 02:55

Emails depict the Office for Human Research Protections as yielding to pressure to slow an investigation.

Categories: Higher Education News

Historians of Science Seek Détente With Their Subject

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-05-26 22:01

It’s time to correct for an overemphasis on the cultural context of scientific discoveries, many say.

Categories: Higher Education News

Georgetown U. Builds a Student-Support System to Substitute for Privilege

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-05-26 22:00

Begun to compete with elite colleges on financial aid, one program has evolved into something much more comprehensive for those navigating campus life among classmates with more-comfortable backgrounds.

Categories: Higher Education News

Why So Few American Indians Earn Ph.D.'s, and What Colleges Can Do About It

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-05-26 22:00

According to federal data, American Indians earned fewer doctorates in 2012 than they did 20 years ago. The reasons, and the solutions, are varied.

Categories: Higher Education News

A Letter to My Sons

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-05-26 22:00

An African-American law professor explains to her young twins why she is opposed to affirmative action.

Categories: Higher Education News

'Good Hair': A Cape Verdean Struggles With Her Racial Identity

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-05-26 22:00

One good pass of the flat iron and the strands straighten while the world tilts. Go figure.

Categories: Higher Education News

Help Struggling Students and You’ll Help Their Classmates, Too

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-05-26 22:00

Success for all should be colleges’ mantra.

Categories: Higher Education News

Clearing a Path to College Through the Fafsa Wilderness

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-05-26 22:00

A professor at the University at Buffalo finds a simple but valuable way to improve college-going rates in the city: Help students fill out a form.

Categories: Higher Education News

Who Are You Calling Underprivileged?

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-05-26 22:00

Most colleges brag about the diversity of their students, but it’s not appropriate to slap labels on people that they might not like or even agree with.

Categories: Higher Education News

Becoming White in Service of Diversity

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-05-26 22:00

After hearing that his department has its full share of Asian-Americans, a psychology professor changes his answer.

Categories: Higher Education News

Sometimes 'Hand-Holding' Can Be a Good Thing

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-05-26 22:00

For first-generation and adult students, among others, a little extra help can make all the difference.

Categories: Higher Education News

Berkeley Gives Hope to the Undocumented

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-05-26 22:00

Its Undocumented Student Program, one of the first of its kind, is a place for these young people to call home, its director says.

Categories: Higher Education News

When Being Nice Isn't Enough

Chronicle of Higher Education - Mon, 2014-05-26 22:00

Those who work closely with marginalized students know that nice is a cover for people whose real goal is preserving the status quo.

Categories: Higher Education News
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