Options for Paying off Federal Student Loans

Student loans may seem daunting, but there are programs available to you as an educator that could make a big impact on your finances.

Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is a federal program intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the education profession. If you teach full-time, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness under this program.  Loan forgiveness is based on factors such as: your certifications, the school where you teach and more.

How to Pay for College Loans

Let’s paint a realistic portrait of what student debt looks like for recent Californian college graduates. Fifty-five percent of graduates have student debt, and the average amount owed is $21,382[i].  So if you have student debt, you’re certainly not alone.  Here’s the good news, with some smart planning and a close look at your entire financial situation, you’ll be able to make repayment choices that are right for you while also positioning yourself to enjoy a secure financial future.

Tackling Student Loans

Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to pay off your student loans early. For others, it makes more sense to extend the loan term and focus on paying off higher-interest debts first. When deciding how to tackle your student loans, the first step is to make a detailed budget showing your income, expenses and debt. This will help you understand what you have to work with and where your money is going. If you have a choice between paying off your student loans early or eliminating high-interest rate credit card debt, you’ll likely save money by paying as much as you can on your credit card debt while continuing to meet your student loan repayment obligations.

What if I Can’t Pay my Federal Student Loans? What is Loan Deferment & Forbearance?

If you’re struggling to pay your debts, you may be able to temporarily postpone your student loan payments with a deferment. Deferment is only accepted under certain circumstances and, depending on your loan, the interest may also be suspended or it may continue to accrue (check Sallie Mae for more information).

Forbearance postpones or temporarily reduces your payments, but whatever the type of loan, your interest will continue to accrue.

The three Federal programs are:

  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program (Direct and Stafford Loans)
  • Teacher Loan Cancellation Program (Federal Perkins Loans)
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

CTA has put together a guide to Federal student loan forgiveness programs as a way to learn about programs available to educators. You can find this information at http://www.ctamemberbenefits.org/studentloan

[i] https://ticas.org/posd/state-state-data-2015