TurboTax Users to Have New Tools to Learn About Student Loan Repayment Options

Sometimes life throws us curveballs. Maybe that curveball means losing a job, or having a hard time finding one after college. Some borrowers may have a growing family or just struggle to pay a high monthly bill. These circumstances may make it difficult for some to afford their monthly federal student loan payments. If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, you may be eligible for a repayment plan that bases your monthly payment on your income.

Income based repayment graphicBorrowers interested in these income-driven repayment plans can visit studentaid.gov to learn more, and for those that use TurboTax Online tax preparation software, a new collaboration among the U.S. Department of Education, the Treasury Department and Intuit Inc. (the company behind TurboTax) will make it easier to learn about their repayment choices.

This tax-filing season, a banner will be featured on the TurboTax software that lets users know they have options for repaying federal student loans. The banner will link to ED’s online Repayment Estimator, where users will be able to determine if they could lower their monthly student loan payments through an income-driven repayment plan. From there, users can apply for the plan that makes the most sense for them.

This new collaboration is just one step the Obama Administration is taking to make college more affordable and to tackle rising college costs. Read more about today’s announcement on our website.

Cameron Brenchley is director of digital strategy at the U.S. Department of Education

Which Student Loan Repayment Plan Should You Choose?

If you graduated from college within the last six months, you have probably been contacted by one of the U.S. Department of Education’s loan servicers, reminding you that it’s almost time to begin repaying your student loans.

Your loan servicer will automatically enroll you in our Standard Repayment Plan unless you tell them otherwise. Under a Standard Plan, your payments will be fixed over a 10-year period of time.

But, this isn’t your only option. Did you know that the Department offers several different repayment plans? You can read more about that below or you can  try our repayment estimator to find out which repayment plan is best for you. Just log in, and the tool will pull your federal student loan information and allow you to compare our different repayment plans side by side:

Here are the details on each repayment plan we offer:

Repayment Estimator Graphic

Standard Repayment Plan

The most basic type of repayment plan is the Standard Repayment Plan. This is the default plan for most types of student loans. It breaks down your loan balance into monthly payments of at least $50 for up to ten years. In general, this is the plan that will cost you the least amount of money in interest payments.

Graduated Repayment Plan

Under the Graduated Repayment Plan, monthly payments start out low and increase every two years during the 10-year repayment period. This plan is best for borrowers whose income may start out low but is expected to increase. One downside is you will pay more in interest than you would under the Standard Repayment Plan.

Extended Repayment Plan

The Extended Repayment Plan allows borrowers with more than $30,000 in debt to extend the repayment period from ten years to up to twenty-five years. Payments under the Extended Repayment Plan can be either standard or graduated. This plan is best for borrowers whose loan burden is too large to bear the standard monthly payments over the course of just ten years.

Income-Based Repayment Plan

The Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan allows borrowers with a demonstrated financial hardship to limit their monthly loan payments to 15 percent of their discretionary income (that is, the difference between their adjusted gross income and 150 percent of the poverty guideline for their individual situation). Under this plan, if the balance of the loan has not yet been paid off after 25 years of payments, it can be forgiven. Under IBR, borrowers will pay more in interest over the life of the loan. This plan is best for borrowers who are struggling to afford their monthly payments under other repayment plans.

Pay As You Earn

The Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan allows new borrowers with a demonstrated financial hardship to limit their monthly loan payments to 10 percent of their discretionary income. Under this plan, if the balance of the loan has not yet been paid off after 20 years of payments, it can be forgiven. However, borrowers will pay more in interest over the life of the loan than under the Standard Repayment Plan. 

Income-Contingent Repayment Plan

Under the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan, a borrower’s monthly payment amount is calculated based on annual income and family size as well as his total loan amount. If a loan balance remains after 25 years of payments, it may be forgiven. Unlike the IBR and Pay As You Earn Repayment Plans, borrowers need not be facing financial hardship to qualify for this plan. However, a borrower will likely pay more in interest than in other repayment plans. This plan is best for borrowers who are not facing demonstrated financial hardship, but whose financial situation is insufficient to bear the monthly payments under other repayment plans.

Remember that these are for federal loans only. If at any point, you need advice or have questions about your federal student loans, don’t hesitate to contact your loan servicer. If you have private loans as well, be sure to check with your lender to see what repayment options they have available.

For more information on student loans and federal financial aid, visit StudentAid.gov.

Making College Affordable for Every American

I’m thrilled today that President Obama is moving forward with an ambitious new plan to make college more affordable for every American. We know that higher education is more important than ever, but we also know it’s never been more expensive. We have heard from students and families across the country who are worried about affording college, and we believe that higher education cannot be a luxury that only advantages the wealthy.

Cost of College GraphicsCollege must remain an accessible and affordable opportunity that provides a good value for all Americans. We want college to be a secure investment for every student from every background who is willing to work hard, an investment that prepares our nation’s students for a good job and a bright future.

We believe the cost of college is a shared responsibility among the federal government, states, colleges and universities, and our students and families. Since 2009, the Obama Administration and Congress have worked together to make historic investments in higher education. We  raised the maximum Pell Grant grant award by more than $900, created the American Opportunity Tax Credit, now offer additional loan repayment programs that help students manage their debt, and enacted landmark federal student aid reforms that eliminated wasteful bank subsidies and increased by more than 50 percent the number of students attending college from low-income families.

There are remarkable examples of states and institutions across our nation who have taken innovative steps to help American families afford college. New York has committed to restraining tuition growth in its public community colleges and universities over five years, and the University of Maryland system, which operates an Effectiveness and Efficiency Initiative, has saved more than $356 million and helped stabilize tuition for four straight academic years.

But we need to see more innovation and initiative to ensure that college remains a good value for students and families, and that’s what the President’s announcement today is all about. Earlier today at the University at Buffalo, the President laid out a plan with three concise steps to make college affordable. The steps are outlined in this White House fact sheet, and include:

  • Linking federal financial aid to college performance, so colleges must demonstrate they provide good value for the investment students make in higher education
  • Sparking innovation and competition by shining a spotlight on college performance, highlighting colleges where innovations are enabling students to achieve good results, and offering colleges regulatory flexibility to innovate
  • And – because we know that too many students are struggling to repay their debt today – President Obama is committed to ensuring that students who need it can have access to the ‘Pay As You Earn’ plan that caps federal student loan payments at 10 percent of discretionary income, so students can better manage their debt

We need more colleges and universities to keep college affordable while delivering a high quality education, not only for students who are first in line, but for all, especially students who are first in their families to enter college, students from disadvantaged circumstances, students with disabilities and veterans who chose service before completing their education. We need states to increase higher education funding, with proven strategies for student access and success. And we need to make sure that our annual investment of over $150 billion in federal student aid is achieving all that it can to ensure the economic and social prosperity of our nation.

The Obama Administration is going to continue to do everything we can to make college more affordable, and ensure students and families get as much value possible from their investment of effort, time and money in higher education. We’re looking forward to seeing states and institutions do their part, as well.

Additional reading: President Obama Explains His Plan to Combat Rising College Costs.

Martha Kanter is the U.S. Under Secretary of Education 

New Tools for Student Loan Borrowers

Federal Student Aid image

Spring is here, college finals are looming, commencement speakers are being announced, and before long, a new group of college graduates will need to start thinking about paying back their student loans. Earlier this week, the Department of Education announced new tools that will help recent college grads better understand their loan debt and stay on track in repayment.

These two new features include a Complete Counseling Web page and a new Repayment Estimator that lets the borrower easily compare monthly payment options under the seven repayment plans available. Both tools are part of the Obama Administration’s ongoing effort to help students and families make informed and sound financial decisions throughout each step as they pursue their higher education goals.

During his State of the Union address in February, President Obama unveiled the new College Scorecard to help empower students and families with more transparent information about college costs and outcomes. The Scorecard provides clear, concise information on cost, graduation rates, loan default rates and the amount families borrowed for every degree-granting institution in the country. The College Scorecard, along with the resources from Federal Student Aid, will help students take the right steps, financially and academically, to achieve their college degree.

As many know, managing loans can often be confusing and overwhelming for college students, and we want to ensure that graduates have access to tools that will help them successfully navigate this process. We encourage federal student loan borrowers to log in at StudentLoans.gov to take advantage of these new resources today!


Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

Kelsey Donohue is a senior at Marist College (N.Y.), and an intern in ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach

3 Things to Do During Your Student Loan Grace Period

Student Loan Grace PeriodYour student loan grace period is a set amount of time after you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment, but before you must begin repayment on your loan. The grace period gives you time to get financially settled and to select your repayment plan. Not all federal student loans have a grace period. Note that for many loans, interest will accrue during your grace period.

Here are three things you can do during your grace period to prepare for repayment:

1. Get Organized

Start by tracking down all of your student loans. There is a website that allows you to view all your federal student loans in one place. You can log in to www.nslds.ed.gov using your Federal Student Aid PIN to view your loan balances, information about your loan servicer(s), and more.

Note: Don’t forget to check to see if you have private student loans. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a great Student Debt Repayment Assistant to help you learn about the repayment process, whether you have federal loans, private loans or both.

2. Contact Your Loan Servicer

loan servicer is a company that handles the billing and other services on your federal student loan. Your loan servicer can help you choose a repayment plan, understand loan consolidation, and complete other tasks related to your federal student loan, so it is important to maintain contact with your loan servicer. If your circumstances change at any time during your repayment period, your loan servicer will be able to help.

To find out who your loan servicer is, visit nslds.ed.gov. You may have more than one loan servicer, so it is important that you look at each loan individually.

3. Explore Your Repayment Plan Options

Although you may select or be assigned a repayment plan when you first begin repaying your student loan, you can change repayment plans at any time. Flexible repayment options are one of the greatest benefits of federal student loans. There are options to tie your monthly payments to your income and even ways you can have your loans forgiven if you are a teacher or employed in certain public service jobs. Work with your loan servicer to determine which repayment plan is right for you.

 

Five Things to Know About Your Student Loans

Over the next few months, many students who graduated or left school in the spring of 2012 will reach the end of their grace period and start repaying their student loans. Now is a great time to brush up on the basics of student loans.

student loans logoFinancial aid comes in many forms. Grants and scholarships are often called “gift aid” because they don’t have to be repaid. Another form of financial aid is work-study.  Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses.

Student loans are the other major form of financial aid. A loan is money that a student borrows and must pay back, so it is important that you understand your options and responsibilities.

Here are five things you should know about your student loans:

1.     Federal vs. Private Loans

Federal loans are managed and backed by the U.S. government.  These loans are designed to provide students with fair treatment.  Because they offer the best terms for borrowers, federal loans are the best option for students.

Private loans are managed and backed by private banks.  These banks are not subject to the same rules and regulations of federal loans, and may feature higher (or variable) interest rates, stricter repayment plans and penalties, or other terms that may make them more expensive.

You also may encounter other, less common types of loans, such as state loans (managed by your state) or institutional loans (managed by your college or university).  In all cases, carefully read and understand the loan terms before deciding to accept.

2.     Unsubsidized vs. Subsidized Loans

Federal loans can be either subsidized or unsubsidized.  A subsidized student loan means that the government pays the interest for you while you’re in school, as long as you’re enrolled at least half time.  That means that if you take out a $5,000 subsidized student loan to pay for your freshman year, and graduate in four years of full-time classes, you’ll still owe $5,000 when you graduate.  Interest will only “accrue,” or be added to the repayment amount, after you stop being a student.

An unsubsidized student loan means that interest “accrues” even while you’re in school.  Some federal loans and nearly all private loans are unsubsidized.  You don’t always have to pay the interest while you’re a student, but the total amount you’ll need to repay is still growing.  If you have an unsubsidized student loan, it’s a good idea to pay the monthly interest while in school, even if you don’t need to.

3.     Loan Interest Rate

The interest rate is a percentage that determines how much your loan balance increases each year.  Consider it the price that you pay for being able to borrow money from the lender.  For example, if you have a $5,000 loan with a 5 percent interest rate, your annual interest will be $250 (5% x $5,000), which means at the end of the year you will owe $5,250.

4.     Loan Length of Repayment

When you start repaying a loan, you have a set amount of time to repay your loan known as the length of repayment.  A longer length of repayment means a lower monthly payment, but it also means a higher total amount repaid over the life of the loan.

Federal loans typically follow a ten-year repayment plan schedule, but depending on the type of repayment plan, your length of repayment could last as long as thirty years.  One key benefit of Federal loans is the ability of the borrower to switch repayment plans without penalty.  If you find a given repayment plan too difficult, research your options regarding extended repayment plans to determine if one is right for you.

5.     Monthly Loan Payments

The principal, interest rate, and length of repayment of a loan determine your monthly loan payment.  This is the amount you’ll need to pay each month.  Each loan has a separate monthly loan payment, so if you have more than one loan, you will have to pay several loan payments each month.  If you prefer to have a single loan payment, you should consider researching the Federal Loan Consolidation program to see if it’s right for you.

You may find that the monthly loan payments are too high and that you cannot pay them all.  If this occurs, seek help.  Research options such as income-based repayment, the public service loan forgiveness program, loan deferment, or loan forbearance to determine if one is right for you.  Remember, however, that options designed to decrease your monthly loan payments may increase the total amount you have to repay over the life of the loan.

Loans have many different characteristics, but they don’t have to be confusing.  Always carefully read and understand a loan’s features before accepting it. Your loan servicer or financial aid counselor can be great resource if you need help understanding the terms of a loan. Additionally, The Department of Education offers a number of tools, such as our repayment calculators and the Financial Awareness Counseling Tool (FACT), to help you research your options. By educating yourself, you will be prepared to make the best decisions for your own future.

June’s #AskFAFSA Office Hours Explores Student Loan Repayment Options

During June’s #AskFAFSA Office Hours, we featured  three recent student loan borrowers from a variety of fields who are using various resources (some more out of the box than others) to repay their student loans. Joe, Tiffany and Ian answered your questions about their experience with the student loan repayment process. Here is a summary of the Q&A:

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Explore Your Student Loan Repayment Options at #AskFAFSA Office Hours

“While it’s never been more important to have a degree, a certificate or an industry-recognized credential — it’s also never been more expensive.

About two-thirds of college graduates borrow to go to school, and on average they’re graduating with more than $26,000 in debt. In an economy still recovering from the worst downturn since the Great Depression, getting a job is hard enough, but paying back those loans is daunting.”   -   Arne Duncan

You are not alone. There are millions of student loan borrowers just like you who can almost all agree on one thing: repaying student loans is not easy. Especially in these economic times, making your student loan payments on time each month can be difficult, but there are resources available to help you stay on track.

FAFSATo help you learn about these options, this month’s #AskFAFSA Office Hours will highlight real student loan borrowers in a variety of fields who are using various resources (some more out of the box than others) to repay their student loans. Here’s who you’ll be hearing from:

  • Ian (^I): After graduating law school, Ian decided to make public service a career. But with over $160,000 federal student loan debt, Ian would have had to pay over $1,800 per month on the standard loan repayment plan, over $1,000 on the standard consolidation plan and the extended plan, a bit more still. That’s quite a hefty amount for a public servant. Ian began exploring his options. After consolidating six loans into one payment and enrolling in income-based repayment, Ian’s monthly payment now stands at $375. What’s more, he is participating in public service loan forgiveness.
  • Tiffany(^T): In May 2012, Tiffany graduated from the University of South Carolina (USC) with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations. While at USC, Tiffany was able to pay in-state tuition because of a reciprocity agreement between South Carolina and her home state of Maryland. However, she still needed to borrow federal student loans to help fund her education. Upon graduation, she took a job with Teach for America, a national teach corps of recent college graduates who commit two years to teach and to effect change in under-resourced urban and rural public schools. As a math teacher in New Orleans, Tiffany will have a modest salary, so during her time with Teach for America she plans to receive forbearance, which is a temporary postponement or reduction of payments for a period of time. If she continues to teach, she also plans on taking advantage of some of the loan cancellation options available to teachers.
  • Joe(^J): Did you hear about the Harvard Business School graduate who paid off $90k in student loans in seven months? That’s Joe. After graduating with his MBA and $95k in student loans ($101k including accumulated interest) at the age of 26, Joe decided to do everything in his power– short of lying, cheating, and stealing–to pay down this debt in ten months. His strategy was definitely out of the ordinary, from selling his beloved motorcycle to skipping a trip home for Christmas to only going on cheap dates, Joe managed to pay off his student loan debt 3 months ahead of his already tight schedule. While the route Joe took to repay his student loans is not typical, his experience demonstrates that if you educate yourself about the student loan process and make responsible choices about funding your education, a student loan can be a great investment in your future.

Our guests have learned some valuable lessons throughout the student loan repayment process, but they are not licensed financial advisors and the repayment options they are taking advantage of may not be right for you*.  On Tuesday, June 26,at 6pm ET, join Ian, Tiffany and Joe for #AskFAFSA Office Hours, where they will be taking your questions on borrowing responsibly and repaying student loans.

Here’s how it works:

    • Have questions about the student loan repayment process? You can start submitting your questions on Twitter today. Be sure to include the #AskFAFSA hashtag in your tweets. We’ll continue to take questions throughout the week and during the live event.
    • On Tuesday, June 26, at 6pm ET, follow @FAFSA or the #AskFAFSA hashtag on Twitter to join the conversation. Ian, Tiffany and Joe will be available to answer your questions live.
    • Can’t make the live session? A summary of #AskFAFSA Office Hours, including the full Q&A, will be posted on Storify and the ED.gov blog following the event.

*Our guests will be speaking about their personal experiences and will be signing their tweets with their respective initial. They are not licensed financial advisors and they do not not claim to be experts. Their opinions are their own and do not reflect the opinion of the U.S. Department of Education or its officers or employees and are not an official or personal endorsement of any views expressed or product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying U.S. Department of Education endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service. Any references to institutions, programs, activities, commercial entities, products, and services that remain on Federal Student Aid social media accounts are those of the individual users.

 

Income Based Repayment: Everything You Need to Know

Cross-posted from the White House blog.

Over the past several years, the Obama Administration has worked to improve repayment options available to responsible student loan borrowers. Since 2009, former students have been able to enroll in an “Income Based Repayment” (IBR) plan to cap their student loan payments at 15 percent of their current discretionary income if they make their payments on time.

In 2010, President Obama signed into law an improved income-based repayment plan that would lower this cap to 10 percent of discretionary income for students who take out loans after July 1, 2014. Then, last October, the President announced an executive action to make that lower cap available to more borrowers by the end of 2012, rather than 2014. The latest change will likely reduce monthly student loan payments for more than 1.6 million responsible student borrowers.

Despite these opportunities and policy improvements to help graduates make their monthly payments, too few responsible borrowers are aware of their repayment options.  Even among borrowers who understand their options, many have difficulties navigating and completing the application process.

Today, President Obama is introducing a Presidential Memorandum that will help educate more students about their loan repayment options and streamline the IBR application process. Read through the questions below to learn more about income based repayment and how these changes might affect you.

1. What is income-based loan repayment?

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is a repayment plan that caps your required monthly payments on the major types of federal student loans at an amount intended to be affordable based on income and family size. All Stafford, Grad PLUS, and Consolidation Loans made under either the Direct Loan or Federal Family Education Loan programs are eligible to be included in the program. Non-federal loans, loans currently in default, and Parent PLUS Loans are not eligible for the income-based repayment plan.

The program lowers monthly payments for borrowers who have high loan debt and modest incomes, but it may increase the length of the loan repayment period, accruing more interest over the life of the loan.

2. Who qualifies for IBR?

IBR helps people whose federal student loan debt is high relative to income and family size. Currently, your loan servicer (the company you make your loan payments to) determines your eligibility, but starting in September 2012, students won’t have to contact their loan servicer to apply—they will be able to apply directly through the Department of Education’s website, thanks to a new directive from President Obama.

You can use the U.S. Department of Education’s IBR calculator to estimate whether you are likely to qualify for the plan. The calculator looks at your income, family size, and state of residence to calculate your IBR monthly payment amount. If that amount is lower than the monthly payment you are paying on your eligible loans under a 10-year standard repayment plan, then you are eligible to repay your loans under IBR.

3. Will my eligibility change if I’m married? What if my spouse also has loans?

If you are married and file a joint federal tax return with your spouse, both your income and your spouse’s income are used to calculate your IBR monthly payment amount.

If you are married and you and your spouse file a joint federal tax return, and if your spouse also has IBR-eligible loans, your spouse’s eligible loan debt is combined with yours when determining whether you are eligible for IBR. If the combined monthly amount you and your spouse would pay under IBR is lower than the combined monthly amount you and your spouse are paying under a 10-year standard repayment plan, you and your spouse are eligible for IBR.

4. How will enrolling in IBR affect my monthly payments compared to the standard repayment plan?

It depends on your income. But, take for example a nurse who is earning $45,000 and has $60,000 in federal student loans. Under the standard repayment plan, her monthly repayment amount is $690. The currently available IBR plan would reduce her payment by $332, to $358.  President Obama’s improved “Pay As You Earn” plan — reducing the cap from 15 percent to 10 percent — will reduce her payment by an additional $119, to a more manageable $239 — a total reduction of $451 a month.

6. How will enrolling in IBR affect my payments over the life of the loan compared to the standard repayment plan?

In general, your payments will increase as your income does, but they will never be more than they would have been under the standard 10-year repayment plan. Although lower monthly payments may be better for some borrowers, lower payments may also mean you make payments for longer and the longer it takes to pay your loans, the more interest you pay compared to the standard repayment plan.

7. Is it possible my payments will be higher under IBR than they would under the standard repayment plan?

IBR will never cause your payments to increase more than they would have been under the standard repayment plan. It is possible, however, that your income and the size of your outstanding loan balance may mean that IBR is not beneficial to you. If your payments would be higher in IBR than they would be in the standard repayment plan, the IBR option will not be available to you.

Also, because a reduced monthly payment in IBR generally extends your repayment period, you may pay more total interest over the life of the loan than you would under other repayment plans.

8. How do I opt in to IBR?

To sign up for IBR, call your loan servicer. The loan servicer is the company that sends you your monthly student loan bills.  If you don’t know who your servicer is or would like more information about your loans, such as the balance and interest rates, you can look it up on www.nslds.ed.gov. To see a list of and contact information for common servicers of student loans held by the US Department of Education, you may visit the Loan Servicer page.

9) What does today’s Presidential Memorandum mean for IBR?

The PM will do three things:

Streamline the IBR application process: The Department of Education, in collaboration with the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, will create a streamlined online application process for IBR that allows student loan borrowers with federally held loans to import their IRS tax return income data directly into the IBR application. This process will allow income information to be seamlessly transmitted so that borrowers can complete the application at one sitting.  Federal direct student loan borrowers will no longer be required to contact their loan servicer as the first step to apply.

Enhance online and mobile resources for loan repayment options and debt management: The Department of Education will create integrated online and mobile resources for students and former students to use in learning about Federal student aid, including an explanation of the various options to cap monthly payments based on income. The Department will also develop and make available to borrowers an online tool to help students make better financial decisions, including understanding their loan debt and its impact on their everyday lives. This tool would incorporate key elements of best practices in financial literacy and link to students’ actual Federal loan data to help them understand their individual circumstances and options for repayment.

Increase awareness of IBR: The Department of Education will instruct Federal direct student loan servicers to make borrowers aware of the option to participate in IBR before a student leaves school and upon entering repayment. The Department of Education will make available for institutions of higher education a model exit counseling module that will enable students to understand their repayment options before leaving school and to choose a repayment plan for their student loans that best meets their needs.

10. How can I find out more?

Visit www.studentaid.ed.gov or call 1-800-4-FED-AID. You can also learn more about other student loan repayment options and find advice on paying loans off more quickly using the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s Student Debt Repayment Assistant.

To find out about other changes to student loan programs, including President Obama’s plan to allow borrowers to consolidate Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans, click here.

Megan Slack is Associate Director of Digital Content for the White House Office of Digital Strategy

ED Celebrates Public Service Recognition Week with #AskFAFSA Office Hours

Teachers, firefighters, police officers, government employees, military—day in and day out these public servants work tirelessly for citizens across the country. To celebrate Public Service Recognition Week (May 6th-12th) and the positive impact these individuals’ work has on our lives, we are dedicating this month’s #AskFAFSA Office Hours to our nation’s public servants.

Were you aware of these government-sponsored programs that help current and future public servants fund their higher education?

    • Income Based Repayment: Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is a repayment plan for the major types of federal student loans that caps your required monthly payment at an amount intended to be affordable based on your income and family size.
      Note: Income-based repayment is not just for public servants. Have federal student loans? Find out if you qualify: http://1.usa.gov/GR2V2X
    • Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program encourages individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. Under this program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on their eligible federal student loans after they have made 120 payments on those loans under certain repayment plans while employed full-time by certain public service employers.
    • TEACH Grant: The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families.
    • Post 9/11 GI Bill: The Post-9/11 GI Bill is an education benefit program paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs to those who served in the military on or after September 10, 2001. You can receive tuition and fee payments, a monthly housing allowance, and a books and supplies stipend of up to $1000 per year. Visit www.gibill.va.gov to learn more.
    • The Federal Student Loan Repayment Program: The Federal student loan repayment program authorizes agencies to set up their own student loan repayment programs to attract or retain highly qualified employees.

In an effort to help you better understand how to take advantage of these programs, on Friday, May 11th at 1pm ET, the U.S. Department of Education and our special guests, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Partnership for Public Service, will answering your questions live from the @FAFSA Twitter account.

Here’s how it works:

    • Have questions about the above programs? You can start submitting your questions on Twitter today. Be sure to include the #AskFAFSA hashtag in your tweets. We’ll continue to take questions throughout the week and during the live event.
    • On May 11th at 1pm ET, follow @FAFSA or the #AskFAFSA hashtag on Twitter to join the conversation. The Department of Veterans Affairs, The Partnership for Public Service and the @FAFSA team will be answering your questions live.
    • Can’t make the live session? A summary of #AskFAFSA Office Hours, including the full Q&A, will be posted on Storify and the ED.gov blog following the event.

Public servants—Thank you for working diligently on our behalf. We hope you will join us on May 11th to learn about some of the programs that are available to help you fund your education.

Duncan & Mills host #GradStartup Twitter Q&A

Small Business Administrator Karen Mills made her Twitter debut yesterday as she and Secretary Arne Duncan hosted an online Q & A responding to questions about how to start a new business, the loan repayment and forgiveness plans available to student loan borrowers, and how to find resources for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Check out the entire Q&A below:

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ED & SBA Host Twitter Chat: Connecting Grads to Resources to Help Them Startup

Cross-posted from SBA.gov

Graduation season is right around the corner and to help grads that are looking to start a small business, SBA and the U.S. Department of Education will host a Twitter Q & A Session on April 25 at 2pm EDT connecting soon-to-be grads or recent grads to resources to help them startup, succeed and create an economy built to last.

Startup logoI, along with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, will answer your questions about starting a business and  highlight the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan, which supports young college grads that are looking to start a business, join a startup, or work in a public service job by making Federal student loan repayment manageable.  IBR helps to keep loan payments affordable by using a sliding scale to determine how much you can afford to pay on your Federal loans—empowering you to take risks with new opportunities like starting a small business.

Submit your questions now and follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #GradStartup.

What: Twitter Q&A Session: Connecting Grads to Resources to help them Startup with SBA Administrator Karen Mills and U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan

When: Wednesday, April 25 from 2:00pm–3:00pm EDT

Where: Follow the Q & A on Twitter and submit your questions now, hashtag #GradStartup

– Karen Mills

Karen Gordon Mills is the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.