Money Thought Leader: Joy Alford-Brand
For this month’s personal finance news article, I have to give you all a student loan update.
Student Loan Update:
“many of us are paying student loans we took out for our adult children. Second, we are carrying our own student loan debt, as well.”
Usually, I would look for a topic that applies specifically to women over forty-five and I truly feel that a student loan update has now become critical for women in their mid-forties and beyond.
This is true for two reasons. First of all, many of us are paying student loans we took out for our adult children. Second, we are carrying our own student loan debt, as well. So, here are a few big changes that are coming to your federal student loans.
Big Change #1: The Pandemic Forbearance For Federal Student Loan Debt
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know about the pandemic forbearance for federal student loan debt. You have also probably heard about the recent news that borrowers might be able to qualify for $10,000 in federal student loan forgiveness. This change came about a few short days ago by way of an announcement from the current administration.
If you can save yourself $10,000 before the expiration of the pandemic forbearance, I encourage you to do it. So, don’t wait! Get on the phone with your servicer and ask them if you qualify and if so, how you can apply for this program.
Student Loan Payments:
“Don’t leave this until the last minute.”
I’m sure servicers are being flooded with calls and emails about this new forgiveness opportunity. Don’t leave this until the last minute. The more time you have to get your ducks in a row, the better off you will be when 1/1/2023 comes around and it’s time for you to resume making your student loan payments.
Oh, and by the way, this $10,000 forgiveness works for Parent PLUS loans, too! So, no matter what type of loans you have, you will probably qualify for this forgiveness program as long as your annual gross income is below $125,000 as a single filer and $250,000 as married filing jointly. Finally, if you made payments during the pandemic forbearance, you may be able to get those payments refunded. Call your servicer now to find out the mechanics of payment refunds.
Big Change #2: Fixing The Current Student Loan Forgiveness Program
The administration has announced that they are going to begin working on fixing the current federal student loan forgiveness payment programs. I, for one, am happy to hear that. These programs have never worked well, in my opinion. While they do bring relief for borrowers, they do it in a clunky way that ends up costing everyone more money.
“your best option for adjusting your federal student loan payment is to contact your servicer and get your information straight”
While I am interested to see how this promise to fix the system proceeds, I am also cautious about discussing the specifics until there is more concrete information available. Right now, your best option for adjusting your federal student loan payment is to contact your servicer and get your information straight.
Even if you do qualify for the $10,000 student loan forgiveness program, you will still have to resume making payments after the pandemic forbearance extension expires on 12/31/22. The time to plan for that is now, so don’t wait to get ready to resume making your student loan payments. Call your servicer now!
Big Change #3: Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program:
How many of you know someone who tried to apply for federal student loan forgiveness using the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program? I bet one of you knows someone who thought they were going to get PSLF forgiveness and after making their ten years of payments, failed to qualify when they submitted their PSLF application. Out of the first round of applicants, 99% were denied.
Now those folks have a student loan payment with a principal balance that will accrue interest. The good news is, you can now apply, or re-apply, for PSLF forgiveness using the limited PSLF waiver.
“This is a time-sensitive waiver so you must apply by 10/31/22.”
This means if you would otherwise qualify for PSLF but you haven’t received it yet, you have until 10/31/22 to apply. Again, if you think you might qualify for PSLF, do not wait to begin the process of applying.
This means consolidating into a Direct Loan if you would otherwise qualify but for the type of loan you have. If you, or someone you know, has questions about the PSLF limited waiver and what you would have to do to qualify for it, call your servicer now. This is a time-sensitive waiver so you must apply by 10/31/22.
Midlife Women And Student Debt:
Ladies, student loan debt can weigh you down and limit your ability to invest and build wealth. It’s time for us to take control of our finances and this begins with managing our debt in the most efficient way. Don’t wait for the government to fix the system. Get in front of it now and educate yourself on your best options. When it comes to student loan debt, you have to be your own advocate!
About the Author:
Joy Alford-Brand is an author, public speaker and attorney. She graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in History from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio in 1994 and she received her Juris Doctor from Ohio State University College of Law in 1998. Her main area of practice is Bankruptcy. She is admitted in North Carolina where she lives and works. Joy founded newcashview.com in 2015 as a platform through which she could help others work toward financial freedom and peace of mind! For more information, check out newcashview.com.