In this edition of the Student Loan Plan, we will take a look at Jane who has private loans and federal loans from undergrad and grad school, but struggles to keep Navient happy. If you want tips for dealing with your student loans, contact us.
I saw that you are taking submissions to have real student loan stories slightly analyzed on the blog. I am almost 32, and at a younger age switched my professional career from for-profit to non-profit (specifically education in Africa). Although I despise the debt I have racked up, I can say my education has has a profound impact on who I am and what I value (Thanks DePaul Chicago!)
However, as a first gen college student, I took the first school that gave the most money – not realizing it will decrease as you move forward. Oh! I also got a grad degree.
So my private loans amount to $80,628.13 and for now I will leave my federal loans out because I can pay those for life and when I did they go away. I work in public service, so I can eventually have them dismissed. Just overall, the gov is ridic friendly and super helpful when it comes to payments. But dear sweet baby jesus, navient is the worst! I’ve gone back to school for a second degree that my work was paying for, just to put my loans in deferment so I could focus on paying those with the highest interest rate. Then last year Jan, i let them go into default/collections, because nobody would work with me on a new payment plan unless they were in collections. So I asked about specific days and when they report loans to agencies and made sure to get it resolved before anything would be reported.
I am only on a 15 month program, so its going to go back to full payments soon, but I did the plan I am on so I could get a raise (which i got last sept) and make enough money to try and consolidate my loans through a private lender. I have 5 different loans at Navient/Sallie Mae with 5 different interest rates, before i get into bed with another private consolidation lender – do you have any other suggestions or alternatives? I only make 50k and have bills to pay and some CC debt, and I have even taken another pt job despite all my travel to and from africa working at a bar ….
Just trying to cover all my bases before going head first into a new deal!
It sounds like Jane has a solid understanding of her situation. For starters, treating the federal loans and private loans separately is essential. Jane’s situation is a good example of why this is so important. She may have a large federal balance, but with her non-profit work, each passing month gets her closer to Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness. The only thing we would add to this part of her plan is that she should be certain to have her payments certified on a yearly basis. This yearly process isn’t required for forgiveness, but it is a good way to track progress and to identify any issues along the way.
On the private loan side of things, Jane has made some smart moves as well. From the sounds of her email, the 15 month program is the Navient Rate Reduction Program. The nice thing about the rate reduction plan is that by lowering interest rates, borrowers have an opportunity to attack the principal balance, not just interest or fees. It is also worth noting that it is possible to renew enrollment on the rate reduction program. Navient may say that the program is capped at a year, 15 months, or even 3 years, but if they are convinced that the only way they get paid is to keep you on the program, they will keep you on the program.
Jane’s private consolidation goal is a good one, especially considering the number of lenders offering rates below 2%, but the timing may not be right. These consolidation companies target the most financially secure borrowers and if making payments are a struggle or you have a recent history of late payments, they may not offer a loan. The best bet here for Jane would probably be to try to stay on the Rate Reduction Plan as long as possible. Once Navient says, that is it, you no longer need any help, we are raising your interest rates to the original levels, it may be time to check into private market options.