Student loan debt is mounting and although earning a degree can promise a better career after graduation - the debt can be stressful to those saddled with huge loans.
Today, nearly 40 million Americans are burdened with $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, according to CBS News
Don't go and default on these loans just because you are over your head. You could be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).
PSLF says that by participating in public service opportunities rather than working in the private sector, some of your student loan debt is forgiven — that includes almost any state, federal, or nonprofit organization.
One highly recommended program, AmeriCorps offers grants, cancellation or forgiveness that can reduce the burden. This can be particularly helpful for graduates who work in low-paying fields to help make debt more manageable.
Another essential and helpful program, Income-Based Repayment (IBR), was recently promoted by the U.S. Department of Education after learning that too few people knew it even existed.
Under IBR, payments of federal student loans are capped at 15 percent of "discretionary income," meaning that if the borrower is below the poverty level, the payments can be reduced to equal 15 percent of their income, based on the size of their household.
Another IBR plan is "Pay as You Earn." If qualified for this program, it allows just 10 percent of discretionary income to pay your loans, and forgiveness after 20 years of payments.
President Obama wrote recently, "too few borrowers are aware of the options available to them,” so the Education Department made it easier to understand on their website, and in turn - sent emails to more than 3 million borrowers to make them aware of available programs.
So, although you might not get completely out of debt - you get your debt down to an affordable level and thereby relieve the stress of those hefty monthly loan payments.
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