In examining the typical debt that a person lives with nowadays, Sorboni Banerjee, Fox News Consumer Reporter, interviewed Tampa, Florida Student Loan Attorney Christie Arkovich for a news story on Monday. The portion dealing with student loan debt is copied below:
Christie Arkovich specializes in helping people negotiate their student loans down. She says when students first graduate it’s usually not that bad, but as they push back payments, the problem balloons. “When grads first graduate, it’s mid 30’s and that’s actually sustainable if you have a job that pays $30,000 to $35,000. That’s a one-to-one ratio that’s usually OK. But people run into trouble, they do forbearances where the balance keeps increasing, so most of what we see are 50 or 100 or beyond 100.”
That’s 100k people. That’s a house for many people. And many of these people received only two year degrees or may have even dropped out. Sorbani goes on to point to a recent study that found 70 percent of people said the reason they were delaying buying a house was because they’re swamped by their student loans. Americans owe more than $1.4 trillion in student loans which is about $620 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt.
So what can you do to get out of this student loan debt?
I’ve outlined several steps below to get your loans back in order:
Identify if you have a problem:
- Determine whether you have private or federal loans as the remedies are very different;
- Determine how much you owe and the interest rate;
- Take your loan balance and multiply it with the interest rate;
- Divide that number by 12 – this is what you are paying monthly in interest;
- If your loan balance isn’t decreasing at a moderate rate then you need to change tactics;
- For federal loans, learn and understand the differences between the various income based plans (IBR, Paye, Repaye, ICR, ISR and IBR for new borrowers) and how debt forgiveness applies;
- If you work for the government or non-profit, see a professional about how to get on the Public Service Forgiveness Program – don’t assume you are automatically on it – you are not, and bad things can happen when you don’t know how it works;
- If you don’t have the time, desire or knowledge to learn and comprehend the differences then see a professional – I get it, I don’t know how to change the brakes on my car, I could learn, but I don’t want to and I’d probably do it wrong anyway and then crash my car;
- Find a professional (a student loan attorney) that represents you – don’t rely on your servicer to tell you the best options for you – that is not their job – they represent the creditor, not you;
- For private loans, consider defaulting if you can stand the hit to your credit for a couple years (including any co-borrower), and then negotiating a lower balance;
- Understand that student loans are consumer debt and consumers can fight back by hiring a student loan attorney to file suit on harassing phone calls or other behavior that violates our laws – this can be leveraged into a reduced student loan balance.
- If they file a lawsuit against you, hire a student loan attorney to fight back. Many defenses exist and settlements are very reasonable over time at greatly reduced balances with no further interest.
I bet you didn’t know all this. Most people don’t. I’m not sure how you would unless you went to all the legal training I’ve gone to about the student loan programs and consumer laws that apply. Please contact Arkovich Law. for specific information about your loans and how to get them under control.