You’ve waited your whole life to get to this point: college graduation. You finally completed your degree, and you’re ready to transition into adulthood.
You’re ready to get that job, take on financial responsibility, and start building up your credit score. Paying off your student loans might be one of the best ways to do just that – a benefit you won’t be able to get with loan forgiveness.
Here’s a closer look at what, exactly, people mean when they talk about “loan forgiveness,” as well as a few alternatives that might be even more beneficial to building healthy financial habits.
Can a Private Student Loan Be Forgiven?
Simply put, the answer is no. The only time a private student loan can be forgiven is if the borrower becomes disabled or deceased. But before you get discouraged, forgiving your loans isn’t the only option for you or your credit score. Fortunately, there are 4 helpful options to keep you on track and help build financial responsibility:
1. Communicate with Your Lender
Private student loan lenders sometimes have programs available for borrowers who are enduring financial hardships. The best thing you can do is to contact your lender to see what private student loan repayment alternatives are available to you. These can include pausing your payments, modifying your loan, or investigating consolidation.
2. Deferment or Forbearance Options
Before we jump into how these options are attainable, let’s talk about the difference between the two.
A loan deferment allows you as a private student loan borrower to temporarily stop making payments on your loan principal. In order to defer your loan, you must be either. If you have a private loan, your best bet is forbearance. With forbearance, you won’t have to make a payment, or you can temporarily make a smaller payment. But you must qualify for it. In order to, you must be currently either:
- Unemployed, or
- Collecting a monthly income of less than 150% of your state’s poverty guidelines
3. Considering Refinancing or Loan Consolidation
When homeowners refinance their homes, it simply means they’re getting a new (and often lower) interest rate on their existing loan. The same goes for private student loans. But when you refinance, your interest rate isn’t the only thing that goes down. Your monthly payments and the amount you repay overall can also be reduced. Refinancing depends on many factors, including annual income, debt, employment, and credit.
On the other hand, a private consolidation loan replaces one or more private loans with another. The benefit of such consolidation is that you could go from several monthly payments down to one monthly payment.
4. Employer Loan Repayment Assistance
When looking for student loan assistance, it’s easy to forget about your employer. But have you ever considered asking them for help? Working with your employer might just be the most fiscally responsible option, and could demonstrate to your employer you’re not afraid to ask for help and take responsibility for your obligations. In fact, some professional associations offer student loan forgiveness for doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, firefighters, and other healthcare workers.