The US Department of Education has revealed that nearly 44 million Americans are unable to pay back federal student loans totaling $1.4 trillion, meaning that more students are finding it extremely difficult to repay their federal student loans.
According to statistics from the Consumer Federation of America, over 4.2 million people who borrowed federal student loans were unable to pay as at the end of 2016, as against 3.6 million defaulters at the end of 2015. The data revealed that over 3,000 people default daily in servicing their federal student loans and this is a major concern for both student borrowers and the government, Yahoo Finance reports.
The way it works: a borrower is considered a defaulter if he fails to service his student loans every month for a period of 270 days. He becomes a delinquent borrower the day after he misses a repayment. To this extent, lenders report delinquent defaulters to major credit-rating companies after 90 days of non-performance, so as to make it nearly impossible for the defaulter to borrow future loans for housing or vehicle purchase.
Federal student loans are typically to be repaid over a 10-year period. But if you fail to pay back every month or owe months of unserviced loans, you could end up paying more in fees over a longer period of time. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to write off student loans through bankruptcy.
What can you do to help? Here are three major ways to reduce student loans when it is becoming impossible to pay back:
- Request for forbearance and deferment options: With either forbearance or deferment, you can stop paying back your student loans or cut down on the amount payable for a period of one year to three years. The trouble however is that interests climb on the loan and you end up paying more over a longer period of time. But you must apply before you can be qualified for forbearance or deferment repayment options.
- Apply for income-based repayment plan: Only federal student loans qualify for income-based repayment plan and not student loans from private lenders. This option allows you to pay back your student loan when you get employed and earning salaries or engaged in a business that provides you with regular income. You only pay a portion of your income to repay your student loans.
- Pay off your student loan in full: If you have the means, the best way to get loan servicers off your back is to pay off your student loan in full and at once. This may be a difficult option to take but it improves your credit score instantly. You can equally choose to rehabilitate or consolidate your federal student loan in order to pay back smaller amounts over a longer period of time.