Student Debt Crisis http://studentdebtcrisis.org Your One Stop Hub For Student Debt Issues Fri, 21 Nov 2014 20:55:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tell Your Student Loan Lender You Want A Payment You Can Afford http://studentdebtcrisis.org/tell-your-private-student-loan-lender-you-want-a-payment-you-can-afford/ http://studentdebtcrisis.org/tell-your-private-student-loan-lender-you-want-a-payment-you-can-afford/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 23:12:14 +0000 http://studentdebtcrisis.org/?p=2540 If you have student loan debt and you’re struggling to pay off your monthly payment, you’re not alone.  Millions of borrowers are struggling to make ends meet.  Lenders and student loan servicers (the company that sends a bill each month) are notoriously bad at helping you when you run into trouble.  In fact, if you’re unable to repay your loans in full, their business model seems built on driving you to default.  We too have experienced the long wait times on the phone, the confusing responses, and the frustratingly limited options.  But if you run into trouble with your student debt, the last thing you should do is run away from the problem.

Luckily, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – a new federal agency working to help student loan borrowers – produced a sample letter that can help you get a clear answer from these companies without the hassle of waiting on the phone.  You can use their letter to ask your lender or servicer to respond with accurate information about alternative repayment plans and loan modification options – potentially giving you valuable information on how to reduce your monthly payment or to temporarily postpone making payments.

The CFPB has also published a sample financial worksheet for you to assess the amount of money you can put towards your loans. According to the CFPB, some student loan companies request recent pay stubs or a bank statement to verify income and expenses, which you should consider attaching to your e-mail.

To make it even easier, we’ve plugged the language of the CFPB’s letter into an e-mail that you can send directly to your lender or servicer.  Click on the image of your lender or servicer to generate an e-mail.

For borrowers looking to lower their monthly payments, click on your servicer below.

If you don’t see your servicer listed, Click Here for more options.

*If you’re unable to generate an email by clicking on the images above, you can view the sample letter here.

DID YOU TAKE ACTION? – Upload a photo to Twitter or Instagram of you sending the email to your lender – make sure to use the hashtag #HigherEdNotDebt!If you still run out of options and you feel like you’re not being treated fairly, submit a complaint to the CFPB and they will work to get a response from the company on your behalf: www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint

 

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Test 1 – Mailing http://studentdebtcrisis.org/test-1-mailing/ http://studentdebtcrisis.org/test-1-mailing/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 18:09:40 +0000 http://studentdebtcrisis.org/?p=2520


For borrowers looking to release their co-signers


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Americans need more help dealing with loan companies http://studentdebtcrisis.org/americans-need-more-help-dealing-with-loan-companies/ http://studentdebtcrisis.org/americans-need-more-help-dealing-with-loan-companies/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 19:52:31 +0000 http://studentdebtcrisis.org/?p=2508 U.S. students are still largely on their own to protect themselves when they are struggling to repay their debt, despite the government’s condemnation of some education loan servicers’ unfair, deceptive and illegal practices.

In a report last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found one or more student loan servicers had charged illegal late fees, inflated minimum payment requirements and made illegal debt collection calls. They also misled consumers aboutbankruptcy protections, saying student loans were never dischargeable in bankruptcy. (They are, although they are quite difficult to win.)

But the regulator did not say which of the servicers – borrowers’ main contacts when dealing with their student loans – had violated the law. Nor did it announce any enforcement actions.

Servicers not only accept borrowers’ payments but also are supposed to help those facing financial setbacks to enroll in alternative payment programs, get deferments or forbearance, and modify loan terms when those options are available.

Agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau keep an eye on the companies that service student loans, but that does not always translate into practical intervention in everyday life.

Consumer advocates have long complained that servicers did not always inform borrowers, especially those with federal student loans, about their repayment options.

Federal loans offer a number of repayment plans, including income-based programs that can reduce monthly payments to less than 10 percent of the borrower’s income.

Private student loans typically offer far fewer plans. The Obama administration has urged private lenders to expand their affordable repayment options to help borrowers avoid default.

“The general issues are happening on both the public and private side,” said Deanne Loonin, director of the National Consumer Law Center’s Student Borrower Assistance Project.

The largest servicers of federal student loans include Navient Corp, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Nelnet Inc and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency. The U.S. Department of Education also contracts with several non-profit agencies.

In May, Navient and former parent Sallie Mae agreed to pay $139 million after the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp accused them of violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act by overcharging active-duty troops.

The U.S. Department of Education this summer revised its contracts with servicers to strengthen incentives for providing good customer service and keeping borrowers from default.

The new financial incentives should help, but do not address servicer incompetence or poor training, Loonin said.

Borrowers still do not have the right to switch servicers, which Loonin said could spur competition, or to sue or otherwise privately enforce their rights when the government fails to act.

Difficulty getting help from servicers has spawned a legion of scam artists who promise to hook borrowers up with bogus debt relief programs in exchange for high fees. Ads and telephone pitches cite the nonexistent “Obama Forgiveness Program,” while some companies charge hundreds of dollars to fill out paperwork for free government programs.

Loonin’s advice for struggling borrowers is to avoid any company that charges an upfront fee and instead offers these suggestions:

1. Be proactive.

Do not expect this debt to go away, and do not wait for servicers to track you down and demand payment. “On the federal side especially, [student loan debt] can run after you forever,” Loonin noted.

Contact servicers to let them know your situation and to ask about available alternatives.

2. Educate yourself.

Become familiar with alternatives so you can discuss them knowledgeably with servicer representatives. “Let them know you know there are options available, and you’re more likely to get quality service,” Loonin said.

Repayment options for federal loans are outlined…

Continue reading at Reuters…

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What Do the Election Results Mean for Student Loan Borrowers? http://studentdebtcrisis.org/what-do-the-election-results-mean-for-student-loan-borrowers/ http://studentdebtcrisis.org/what-do-the-election-results-mean-for-student-loan-borrowers/#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 19:25:16 +0000 http://studentdebtcrisis.org/?p=2506 It appears that the Republican Party has taken over the Senate, and Republicans were elected or re-elected to several key state governorships. What does this mean for students and student loan borrowers? Here are some key things to think about:

  • We still have a divided government, which means any student loan reform bill passed by both houses of Congress will still require the signature of the President to become law, and the President has the power to veto any bill he doesn’t like. Congress could override the President’s veto, but that requires a supermajority, which means that Democrats would have to join Republicans in doing so.
  • Several student loan reform bills favorable to borrowers that had been proposed in the Senate, including Senator Warren’s student loan refinancing bill, are basically dead. There’s just no way they will even come to a vote in the new Senate.
  • The Higher Education Act, which is the underlying federal statute that governs many federal student loan programs, must be reauthorized. It may be (and often has been) used as a vehicle to reform certain financial aid and student loan programs. We have no idea what these reforms may look like, but we got a taste ofproposed reforms from the President himself and from the Republican-controlled House earlier this year. Given that the President has shown a willingness to compromise on certain issues, it is quite possible that we may see some big changes to student loan programs (both good and bad) if a compromise is reached.
  • The President’s recent proposed expansion of the federal Pay-As-You-Earn repayment program was implemented via executive order, meaning it did not require Congressional input or approval. As of now, I don’t see this proposed expansion changing, although we’ll know more in a year or so.
  • On the state level…

Continue reading at BostonStudentLawyer.com

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Grace Periods Are Ending: 5 Tips to Tackle Your Student Debt http://studentdebtcrisis.org/grace-periods-are-ending-5-tips-to-tackle-your-student-debt/ http://studentdebtcrisis.org/grace-periods-are-ending-5-tips-to-tackle-your-student-debt/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:05:15 +0000 http://studentdebtcrisis.org/?p=2485 Tackling a hefty new monthly expense can be daunting, particularly for recent grads who haven’t found steady work. But grads have many options for making student loan payments more manageable, even putting them off, if they qualify. The key is to avoid missing payments, which can scorch your credit score and even lead to having your wages garnished.

“The majority of students who miss payments on loans miss the very first payment,” said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Edvisors.com, a college planning and financing website that is owned by student loan servicer College Loan Corp.

Here are five ways recent grads can manage their student loan debt:

1. KNOW YOUR LOAN TERMS

Both federal and private student loans give borrowers a grace period of at least six months before they’re required to begin making payments. You’ll need to know the terms of your loan to evaluate options for repayment, or to ask for a deferment when your grace period expires.

For example, Stafford loans have a six-month grace period, while Perkins loans give borrowers nine months before their first payment is due. Grace periods for other types of federal loans and private student loans can vary.

Ask your lender or check out this U.S. Department of Education website, which shows how to find the lenders that manage federal loans: https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/servicers .

If you have private student loans, you’ll have to contact the lender directly.

2. CONSIDER DEFERMENTS AND FORBEARANCE

Can’t find a job? Can’t afford any student loan payments? Borrowers with federal student loans can temporarily postpone payments by asking for a deferment or forbearance.

Deferments allow you to temporarily put off making payments. During this period, the government will pay interest on three types of federal loans: direct subsidized loans, subsidized federal Stafford loans and Federal Perkins loans. Several factors may enable you to qualify for a deferment, including economic hardship, unemployment or serving in the military on active duty during a war.

If you don’t qualify, you may request a forbearance, which can generally buy you up to 12 months without making payments. However, you’ll continue to pile up interest on your balance, even with subsidized loans.

Estimate how much interest you’ll accrue on a deferment with this online calculator:https://studentloanhero.com/calculators/student-loan-deferment-calculator/ .

3. REVIEW PAYMENT OPTIONS

If you qualify, there are repayment plans on federal loans that will set your monthly payment to a level based on how much you earn or a percentage of your discretionary income.

Another option is a graduated repayment plan, which offers lower upfront payments that increase every couple of years.

You can enroll in income-based repayment plans as soon as you begin paying back your loan, but notify your lender early on, as it can take 30-to-60 days for the paperwork to be processed. Expect to provide a tax return or other income verification, said Andrew Josuweit, CEO of StudentLoanHero.com, an online student loan management site.

Federal loans are scheduled to be paid back over a 10-year period. But if you can’t afford your monthly payments under that standard plan, you may be able…

Continue Reading at ABC NEWS…

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Have Your Voice Heard at Department of Education Rulemaking Hearing! http://studentdebtcrisis.org/have-your-voice-heard-at-department-of-education-rulemaking-hearing/ http://studentdebtcrisis.org/have-your-voice-heard-at-department-of-education-rulemaking-hearing/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:07:30 +0000 http://studentdebtcrisis.org/?p=2433 Public Negotiated Rulemaking Hearing on Higher Education

East Coast: Oct. 23rd, 2014 @ U.S. Department of Education
Eighth Floor Conference Center, 1990 K Street, N.W., Washington, DC

West Coast: Nov. 4th, 2014 @ Anaheim Marriot
Grand Ballroom E, 700 West Convention Way, Anaheim, CA

The U.S. Department of Education is convening to consider new student loan policies for the upcoming year. They are reaching out to the public for your input on how student loan programs can best serve students.

You can get involved in two different ways:

1. You can attend the meetings in person, and share your opinion with the committee and other allies of higher education. Just email negreghearing@ed.gov. Provide them with your name, the location you would like to attend, and a general time at which you’d like to speak.

2. Submit your comments online using the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

* For the ANAHEIM hearing – please email natalia@studentdebtcrisis.org with your confirmed speaking time.

 

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“America’s next generation is sentenced to debt”- Sen. Durbin Calls for Refinancing Bill http://studentdebtcrisis.org/americas-next-generation-is-sentenced-to-debt-sen-durbin-calls-for-refinancing-bill/ http://studentdebtcrisis.org/americas-next-generation-is-sentenced-to-debt-sen-durbin-calls-for-refinancing-bill/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:32:02 +0000 http://studentdebtcrisis.org/?p=2443 Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called on Republicans to allow a vote on a bill that would allow the refinancing of student loan debt.

“We cannot afford to stand by and do nothing while America’s next generation is sentenced to debt,” Durbin said Wednesday.

Durbin called for the passage of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) Bank on Student Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which Republicans blocked earlier this year.

“The bill, which I co-sponsored earlier this year, would help ease that burden by allowing students to lower their interest rates,” Durbin said. “I hope some of my Republican colleagues will reconsider and vote to move forward on legislation that will give struggling students and families a fair shot at a higher education without a mountain of debt.”

Durbin said 40 million borrowers are being crushed by the combined $1.2 trillion owed in student loan debt. The average college graduate owes nearly $30,000 after getting his or her degree.

“They do the right thing: they go to school to get ahead but end up with so much debt that it becomes impossible for them to ever pay it back, let alone get ahead,” Durbin said.

Find out more at the TheHill.com…

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A Guide To Paying Off Your Student Loans http://studentdebtcrisis.org/a-guide-to-paying-off-your-student-loans/ http://studentdebtcrisis.org/a-guide-to-paying-off-your-student-loans/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:21:26 +0000 http://studentdebtcrisis.org/?p=2437 It’s that dreaded time of year for recent graduates: the end of the six-month grace period on student loans.

Whether you owe $5,000 or $50,000, having a handle on your education debt will help you avoid fees, keep your payments affordable and safeguard your credit rating. Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and check out these expert tips.

1. Know what you owe: Many lenders will mail you a notification with your required monthly payment once your loan is in repayment. The notice may come from companies with names like American Education Services (AES), Great Lakes or Nelnet. These are student loan servicers, the middle-men who collect your payments and apply them to your debt. Both private lenders — banks, credit unions and other financial firms that provide education loans — and the federal government use servicers to manage payments.

You can always be proactive and contact your lender or visit the Department of Education’s nifty student loan site (www.nslds.ed.gov) that lets you look up your federal loans. If you still can’t find any record of your loan, contact your school. Once you have all of the information, make a list of all of your loans, with the lender’s name, balance, interest and repayment status, said Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access & Success, an education nonprofit.

2. Study up on your repayment options: Ten years is the standard repayment for federal loans, but you can extend the timeline if the monthly payments are more than you can handle. Keep in mind that you will end up paying more interest over the life of the loan, so the lower monthly bill may not be worth it to you in the end.

Federal loans come with more repayment options than private ones, Asher said. If you have federal loans and aren’t making much money, you may qualify for income-based repayment plan. These plans cap your monthly payments to a percentage of your income and, in some cases, forgive any remaining debt after 25 years of payments. If you work in the public or nonprofit sectors, you may qualify for loan forgiveness after 10 years of payments. Check out www.ibrinfo.org for more information on income-based programs.

Private loans are not eligible for the government’s income-based repayment plans, but some lenders will allow you to make interest-only payments if you are struggling. You may encounter a fee to lower your payments and the service is usually offered for a limited time…

Read the rest of the tips at the Washington Post…

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Student Debt Crisis on CFPB Annual Student Loan Report http://studentdebtcrisis.org/studentdebtcrisis-org-on-cfpb-annual-student-loan-report/ http://studentdebtcrisis.org/studentdebtcrisis-org-on-cfpb-annual-student-loan-report/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:40:40 +0000 http://studentdebtcrisis.org/?p=2410 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16th, 2014
CONTACT: Natalia Abrams
310-365-1069 – natalia@studentdebtcrisis.org

Student Debt Crisis on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Annual Report on Student Loans.

“We applaud the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for their recent report which outlines the struggles faced by private student loan borrowers. Their main finding being, there are little to no protections or loan modification options for those who hold private student loans; while Federal student loans have a variety of repayment options that are defined by law. In fact, there was a 38% increase in borrower complaints in the last year, most of which were directed at this problem. We are grateful that the CFPB is on the side of student loan borrowers, and we will continue to support them on their mission.”  Natalia Abrams – Executive Director

Student Debt Crisis has always drawn similarities between the student debt problem and the sub-prime mortgage bubble, as a way of highlighting how problematic our current system is. Our position is supported by the CFPB’s insistence that these complaints, “closely mirror problems found in the mortgage servicing market”. Student Debt Crisis has experienced this with our own borrower outreach, as we have talked with hundreds of borrowers who have been victimized by unregulated private student loan lenders.

We encourage the CFPB to continue their collection of consumer complaints, as their reports have brought clarity to this massive problem, and helped direct the efforts of Student Debt Crisis.

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Student Debt Crisis – Past Co-Founders and Officers http://studentdebtcrisis.org/student-debt-crisis-original-co-founders-and-officers/ http://studentdebtcrisis.org/student-debt-crisis-original-co-founders-and-officers/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:10:09 +0000 http://studentdebtcrisis.org/?p=2386 Robert Applebaum Robert Applebaum is an attorney from Staten Island, NY and the founder of StudentDebtCrisis.org’s predecessor organization, ForgiveStudentLoanDebt.com.  Rob is a 1998 graduate of Fordham University School of Law and, thereafter, he served as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y. between 1999 and 2004. After 5 years of service as an ADA, because of his exponentially increasing student loan debt, Applebaum made the unfortunate decision to leave a public service job he loved for the private sector, where he remained for the next 5 years.

In late January, 2009, frustrated with countless bailouts of the very institutions responsible for the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, news of lavish vacations, exorbitant bonuses and office redecorations, Robert Applebaum authored an essay entitled “Forgive Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy” which he posted to a new Facebook Group by the same name.  Due to the overwhelming popularity of the Facebook group, Rob founded ForgiveStudentLoanDebt.com so as to advocate for both current and former students struggling under massive amounts of student loan debt.

Applebaum’s petition on the White House’s “We the People” site, which garnered over 32,000 signatures, resulted in a direct response from the Obama Administration, culminating in their introduction of the “Pay As You Earn” initiative in October, 2011.

Rob’s petition on SignOn.org, in favor of H.R. 4170, The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, garnered over One Million signatures and, on June 28, 2012, he presented his petition to Rep. Hansen Clarke, author of H.R. 4170, at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Robert Applebaum has written on the topic of student loan debt for The New York Times, Salon.com, The Guardian and The Hill.

He has been featured in BusinessWeek, The Economist, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Now on PBS, Nightly Business Report, RT America, PBS NewsHour and Default: The Student Loan Documentary.

Kyle McCarthy Kyle McCarthy, Kyle serves as a “people mobilizer” by utilizing social media to achieve measurable results for small businesses, nonprofits, and social change organizations. He is also the co-founder StudentDebtCrisis.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to fundamental reforms to the way in which higher education is paid for in America. For his work on student loan reform, Kyle was recently named a Democracy for America Netroots Scholar and was listed as one of “Ten Leaders Fighting for Student Loan Reform.” His writing on this topic has appeared in Huffington Post, The Nation, Buzzfeed, Yahoo News!, PolicyMic, IPF and more. Aaron Calafato Aaron Calafato, Aaron is a professional actor and storyteller.  His work specifically deals with using performance and storytelling as a social tool to instigate conversation, civil discourse, and social change.He is a recent recipient of a 2012 Emerging Artist Grant from The Puffin Foundation and  is currently touring his solo-piece FOR PROFIT as seen in:The Chronicle , Campus Progress, NPR,  WEWS ABC Channel 5 , The Fiscal Times, TheHill and Washington Monthly Jacob Willman, Video Editor | Steve Abrams, Webmaster/ IT ]]>
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