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Student Loans

Learn about student loans and how to deal with them. (Hint: you may have options you don’t know about.)

Student loan debt can be eliminated by bankruptcy but it is hard to do. If you need relief from your student loans, learn about all of your options.

This page is your home base for learning about how to deal with student loan debt with and without bankruptcy.

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Navigating Financial Aid During and After Bankruptcy: A Step-by-Step Guide

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 22, 2023

Filing bankruptcy does not prevent you from getting federal student loans or other types of federal financial aid. So if you filed bankruptcy in the past or you’re currently in a bankruptcy case, you can still get federal student aid. Also, you can file bankruptcy on student loans, and the process for discharging federal student loan debt in bankruptcy got easier at the end of 2022.

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Can You File Bankruptcy on Student Loans?

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated September 6, 2023

Yes. If you are eligible, you may be able to get certain federal student loans discharged through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. After you file your bankruptcy case, you must take an additional step to start an adversary proceeding to have your loans discharged. Department of Justice guidelines from Nov. 2022 have streamlined and simplified this process. It’s now possible for most filers with federal student loan debt to do this on their own without hiring a lawyer to help. To be eligible under the new guidance, your loans must be federal Direct Loans or Direct Consolidation Loans held by the Department of Education. Also, you must be able to show that you are unable to make payments but have made a good faith effort to do so in past years.

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Understanding the Brunner Test: Can You Discharge Your Student Loans in Bankruptcy?

Written by Amy CarstLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated January 24, 2024

You can discharge your student loans in bankruptcy if you can prove that repaying the loans is causing (and will continue to cause) “undue hardship.” To determine this, bankruptcy courts and judges use what’s called the Brunner test. The test involves establishing whether you: - Would be unable to maintain a minimal standard of living while repaying student loans - Are suffering from circumstances that will make repayment a hardship for the remainder of the student loan term (or permanently) - Have made good faith efforts to repay the student loan(s) The Brunner test is complex. In the past, courts had little guidance to define “undue hardship,” beyond the somewhat vague Brunner test. Late last year, the Department of Justice and Department of Education released new guidelines to clarify this process for federal student loan borrowers.

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Filing Bankruptcy to Deal With Your Student Loan Debt? Here Are 3 Things You Should Know!

Written by Attorney Kassandra Kuehl
Updated June 9, 2023

You CAN discharge student loans in bankruptcy, but you’ll have to do a little extra work by filing an adversary proceeding, and you need to meet eligibility requirements. It’s gotten a little easier in recent months for federal student loan borrowers to discharge their student debt in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This article explores three key things to know if you want to file for bankruptcy to erase your student loan debt.

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Should I List My Student Loans Even if They Can't Be Erased?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated September 15, 2021

Yes. You should include all your debts on your bankruptcy forms, even if some cannot be erased. 

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Navigating Bankruptcy: Understanding Which Debts Can't Be Discharged

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 20, 2023

Though bankruptcy provides real debt relief for folks who are struggling to make ends meet, not every debt is treated equally under bankruptcy law. Bankruptcy is a great way to get rid of credit card debt, medical bills, and personal and payday loans. But bankruptcy can’t wipe out recent income tax you owe, alimony, child support, or debt incurred from illegal acts (embezzlement, larceny, etc.) Though there’s a common misconception that student loan debt can’t be erased in bankruptcy, you can discharge, or wipe out, your student loan debt in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You must prove that repaying it is causing undue hardship and that you’ve made good faith efforts to pay in the past.

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Can Upsolve Help Me Get My Student Loans Discharged?

Written by Kristin Turner, Harvard Law Grad
Updated June 26, 2023

Potentially, yes! Upsolve may be able to help you get your student loans discharged if you are already filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy using our free filing tool.

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How To Fight Student Loan Debt in Bankruptcy: Adversary Proceedings Explained

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated May 15, 2023

If you want to get your federal student loan debt discharged as part of your bankruptcy case, you’ll need to file an adversary proceeding (AP). An AP is a legal process used in bankruptcy court to resolve specific issues or disputes that arise during a bankruptcy case. Due to changes in late 2022, APs for federal student loan discharge may look different than other APs. Under the 2022 guidance, discharge proceedings are meant to be simpler and more efficient for bankruptcy filers. If you’re filing an adversary proceeding to discharge federal student loans, you may be able to handle it yourself, without hiring an attorney. This article explains how APs work for bankruptcy filers seeking to discharge student loan debt through bankruptcy.

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Timing Considerations If Student Loan Company Takes Your Tax Refund

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 3, 2020

There are not many creditors that can withhold, or set off, your tax refund before it ever hits your bank account. The most common instance of this is when the IRS keeps your refund and applies it to a prior year's balance owed. But that's not the only time this can happen. Another reason for the federal government to withhold all or a portion of your tax refund is if you're in default with federal student loans. Since student loans aren't automatically discharged in bankruptcy, this can be a blessing in disguise. However, timing matters, and depending on when your tax refund was taken by the government, you may be better off waiting a bit to file your bankruptcy case.

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Getting School Transcripts (When You Owe Money to the School)

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated October 6, 2023

If you owe money to your college or university or you’ve defaulted on your student loans, the school may deny your request to get an official academic transcript. Without these transcripts, you may not be able to transfer to another school, attend graduate school, obtain a professional license, or qualify for some jobs. That said, you can get your transcripts if you take action. This may include paying any overdue school fines/fees, negotiating with your school, contacting your state’s Department of Education, or filing bankruptcy to discharge your student loans.

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Can You Pay Student Loans With a Credit Card?

Written by Amy CarstLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 5, 2023

You can’t make a federal student loan payment with a credit card. You may be able to use a third-party payment service, but most of these services have high fees. There are also some risks involved in using your credit card to pay your student loans. For example, credit cards often have much higher interest rates than federal student loans, so paying off your loans using a credit card can lead to spiraling debt as interest accrues on your card. This can negatively affect your credit score and put you in a difficult position with your finances.

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Student Loan Rehabilitation: How To Get Out of Default

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 28, 2023

Student loan rehabilitation is one way to get your federal student loans out of default status. If you’re currently trying to get student loan relief but aren’t eligible for any programs because you’re in default, student loan rehabilitation may be exactly what you need for your fresh start. To get your student loans rehabilitated and out of default, you need to contact your loan servicer, create a payment plan, complete the required paperwork, and make a certain number of monthly payments.

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Can I Discharge Private Student Loans in Bankruptcy?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 22, 2023

Filing bankruptcy can help you get rid of private student loans, but they are harder to get rid of than other kinds of debts. To have your private student loans discharged you will need to prove that your loan was a qualified education loan and that paying off the loan would cause you “undue hardship.” You prove undue hardship as part of an adversary proceeding. This is an additional proceeding on top of your bankruptcy case. For private student loans, these proceedings are run a lot like a civil lawsuit. To file bankruptcy on private student loans successfully, many people chose to hire a bankruptcy attorney.

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Student Loan Forgiveness Through Total Permanent Disability

Written by Upsolve Team
Updated June 26, 2023

Living with a chronic illness or serious injury is hard enough without having to worry about making payments on your student loans. Thankfully, the federal government provides the option of canceling a student loan borrower’s federal student loan debt if the borrower is unable to work due to a disability.

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What Is Student Loan Forgiveness?

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated September 7, 2023

Federal student loan forgiveness is possible! There are several federal programs such as: Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program, etc. that will forgive your federal student loans after a certain period of time, if you work for a qualified employer. You can also have your federal student loans forgiven through qualifying Income Driven Repayment Plan (IDR Plans) such as: Pay As You Earn Repayment, Income-Based Repayment, Income-Contingent Repayment, and Saving on a Valuable Education (formerly the Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan).

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Student Loan Discharge Due to Death

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated December 31, 2021

This article will focus on whether your federal student loan or private student loan discharges when you die. It will also answer the question of whether a cosigner or your spouse will be liable for your student loan debt. The tax consequences of a student loan debt discharged upon your death will be considered. Last, this article covers strategies to avoid financial difficulty for your family or cosigners after your death.

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Student Loan Deferment vs. Forbearance: What’s the Difference?

Written by Attorney Natalie Jean-Baptiste
Updated September 6, 2023

Student loan forbearance and deferment both provide temporary relief for student loan borrowers who can’t afford their monthly federal student loan payments. When money is tight, you can use deferments and forbearances to temporarily pause student loan repayment until your financial situation improves. The key difference between student loan deferment and forbearance is the way the interest is treated. The federal government pays the interest on subsidized student loans in deferment. In forbearance, the borrower is ultimately responsible for paying the accrued interest.

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Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Teachers: The Ultimate Guide

Written by Upsolve Team
Updated January 24, 2024

If you’re an educator who’s struggling with student loan debt, the good news is that you have options to help you get on top of your debt. One such option is the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program (TLFP), which can help you erase $5,000 or $17,500 of your student loan debt, depending on your qualifications. To be eligible for TLFP, you must teach for five years in a qualifying low-income school. There are several other program requirements as well, which we’ll cover below. A note of caution: The most popular loan forgiveness program is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF). PSLF can erase any remaining debt from certain federal student loans after paying 120 qualifying payments. However, you can’t utilize both programs simultaneously. It’s best to learn about each before deciding your course of action. Read on to learn more.

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Student Loans and the Unpaid Refund Discharge

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated August 31, 2023

When you leave school early, the school should refund your tuition for the portion of the academic period you didn't attend. This is a very important discharge in the time of the coronavirus pandemic when many left school early in the academic period. This refund of loan funds goes to your student loan lender. This will reduce your loan balance and your monthly payments.

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How To Get Perkins Loans Forgiven or Discharged

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated July 12, 2023

If you work in certain public sector jobs, you may qualify to have your Perkins Loan debt 100% forgiven or canceled in just five years. If your school closes, you become disabled, or you file for bankruptcy, you may also qualify to have your Perkins Loan discharged.

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False Certification Discharge

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated January 6, 2021

This article will go into more detail about each of these types of false certification loan discharges. A discharge ends your loan like a cancellation or loan forgiveness program. The difference is that student loan forgiveness usually refers to the loan ending due to a period of time served in a teaching or public service job whereas discharge is for some other reason.

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Student Loans and Borrower Defense to Repayment: An Essential Guide

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated July 14, 2023

The Borrower Defense to Repayment program is a federal student loan forgiveness program. It allows borrowers to submit a claim for loan forgiveness if they were defrauded or misled by their school and this caused financial harm. If the claim is approved, the borrower may be eligible for loan forgiveness, including the discharge of their remaining loan balance, reimbursement of previous loan payments, and potential reimbursement of related expenses. The program has specific eligibility requirements and deadlines for filing claims.

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Closed School Discharge

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated August 31, 2023

If your school closes while you're attending, are you (as the borrower), still liable for your student loan payments? The short answer is "yes." It's never that simple though. This article will look at the many considerations and actions to take should your school close, whether you will receive the automatic discharge, how the 2020 changes will affect closed school discharges, and the procedure to receive loan forgiveness.

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Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program: The Ultimate Guide

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 7, 2024

If you work for a qualified employer, have a federal Direct Loan, and have made 120 qualified payments through an income-driven repayment plan, you may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. New regulations to the PSLF program put in place by the U.S. Department of Education go into effect July 1, 2023. These regulations help borrowers who have made late payments and/or had periods of forbearance or deferment maintain eligibility for the PSLF program

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Discharging Student Loans in Bankruptcy: Important Legal Terms

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 1, 2023

One of our goals this year is to publish a comprehensive guide on filing an adversary proceeding as part of a bankruptcy to discharge student loans. It will initially be published as a series of Learn Articles. The following is a guide to important legal terms that come up in adversary proceedings.

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Using the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) To Get Your Federal Student Loan Information

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 20, 2023

You can find all of the info you need to know for your federal student loans in the National Student Loan Data System. This central database contains all of the information you will need to understand your federal student loans including: your loan balance, due dates, eligibility for new loans, and more. If you need to download an NSLDS report, log in to your account on studentaid.gov using your FSA ID and password. Once you're in your account, hover over your name on the top right of the screen and select "My Aid." From there, you can select "Download My Aid Data." Your data will be downloaded as a .txt file.

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Timeline of an Adversary Proceeding (An Overview)

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated January 30, 2021

One of our goals this year is to publish a comprehensive guide on filing an adversary proceeding as part of a bankruptcy to discharge student loans. It will initially be published as a series of Learn Articles. The following is one of the sections in the working draft of the Upsolve's Student Loan Adversary Proceeding ("SLAP") Guide.

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Evidence: What Is It And What Do I Use It For?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated February 5, 2021

When you bring a court action, you have to support your position by showing evidence. Here's what that means for your student loan dischargeability action.

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Everything You Need To Know About Student Loan Default

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated June 21, 2023

Simply put, defaulting on a student loan means you failed to repay the loan according to the terms you agreed on. Many federal student loan servicers consider these loans to be in default after 270 days of missed payment. Some private student loan lenders put loans into default after 90 days of missed payments. You can contact the servicer of your student loan to verify how many days of nonpayment you have before the servicer considers your account to be in default. Note that federal student loans have been protected against default and its consequences (like wage garnishment, withholding tax refunds, or sending your account to collections) for several years as part of a COVID-19 emergency relief program. Payments have also been paused, and interest has not been accumulating on student loans. Interest will begin to accrue again as of Sept. 1, 2023 and student loan repayment will begin in October 2023.

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Student Loan Grace Period: What You Need To Know Before Repayment Starts

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated July 12, 2023

All federal student loans — and some private student loans — have a six-month grace period. You don’t have to start paying your monthly student loan payments until after the grace period ends. Interest will accrue, though, during the grace period. If you have a subsidized federal loan, the government will pay the interest. If you have an unsubsidized loan, you’ll be responsible for paying the interest. The grace period begins after you either graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. Borrowers can think of the grace period as a time to look for employment and get their finances in order before the first payment is due.

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Yes, Your Paycheck Can Be Garnished if You Don’t Pay Your Student Loans

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 23, 2023

If you fall behind on your student loan payments, the lender may garnish your wages. This means that a portion of your paycheck will be withheld by your employer and sent directly to your loan servicer to repay your debt. Wage garnishment can have a significant impact on your finances and make it difficult to meet your basic living expenses. However, you have options available to avoid default and wage garnishment, such as loan consolidation, income-driven repayment plans, and loan rehabilitation. It's important to understand your rights and options when it comes to repaying your student loans to avoid wage garnishment and other negative consequences.

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Can I Pay Off My Student Loans Early?

Written by Curtis Lee, JD
Updated May 15, 2023

One commonly asked question is if college graduates should pay off their student loans early. The short answer to that question is, “it depends.” This article will examine the various factors to consider before paying off student loans early. And if repaying student loans ahead of schedule is the right thing for you, we’ll also discuss how you can go about doing this.

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What You Need To Know About the Pay As You Earn Plan for Student Loans

Written by Attorney Thomas J. Pearson
Updated November 1, 2023

You might be able to reduce your monthly federal student loan payment with the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan. This is one of four income-driven repayment plans that bases your monthly payment amount on your income and family size. Only certain federal Direct Loans are eligible for the PAYE plan, but certain FFEL loans are eligible if consolidated.

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Should You Change Your Student Loan Repayment Plan?

Written by Attorney Tori Bramble
Updated November 1, 2023

There are several federal student loan repayment plans, including the Standard Repayment Plan, four income-driven repayment plans, and the Extended (Graduated) Repayment Plan. After graduation, student loan borrowers are automatically placed on the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan, but you can switch to a different plan at any time.

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Guide to Extended Repayment Plans & Managing Student Loans

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 1, 2023

An Extended Repayment Plan is a student loan repayment plan that allows borrowers to lower their monthly payment amount by stretching repayment over 25 years. To qualify, you must have Direct Loans or Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), and your loan balance must be at least $30,000. You can choose from fixed payments or graduated payments in an Extended Repayment Plan. You will not be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) if you enroll in an extended plan.

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4 Income-Based Repayment Options for Federal Student Loans

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 11, 2023

There are four different income-driven repayment plans for student loan borrowers that received federal student aid. The IBR Plan, the SAVE Plan ( formerly the REPAYE Plan), the PAYE Plan, and the ICR Plan. They each have different eligibility requirements and potential benefits compared to the standard repayment plan.

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Can I Use Student Loans To Pay My Rent?

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated August 22, 2023

Student loans are intended for educational expenses like tuition and textbooks, but you can also use them to make rent payments. Federal student loans are disbursed to your school, and then any remaining balance goes to you, the student. You can use this money to cover living expenses, including rent. Private student loans may offer more flexibility, you should review the loan terms carefully.

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Where Do I Find Out How Much I Owe in Student Loans?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 1, 2023

If you want to go back to school, finance a house, manage your debt, or file for bankruptcy, you’ll want to find out how much you owe in student loans. It might feel like you need a degree in finance to keep track of your financial aid, but we’re here to help! Below, we detail how to figure out your federal and private student loan balance, how to manage your student loan debt, and what to do if you cannot stay on top of your student loans.

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Can I Lose My Tax Refund if I Default on Student Loans?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated March 25, 2024

Yes, unfortunately your tax refund can be taken (garnished) if you’ve defaulted on your federal student loan. Federal student loans are guaranteed by the U.S. government, and the government has power over tax refunds. Only federal student loan borrowers are subject to tax garnishments. Private student loan holders can have their wages or bank account garnished, but the private lender cannot garnish your tax refund and must take extra steps, such as going through the courts, to order a garnishment. In this article, we explain the student loan tax garnishment process and give you some tips on how to keep your tax refund money safe from garnishment.

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The Ultimate Guide To Lowering Student Loan Interest Rates

Written by Lawyer John Coble
Updated June 5, 2023

Here are five ways to lower your student loan interest rates: Enroll in autopay for an instant interest rate discount. Refinance your student loans at a lower interest rate. Consolidate your student loans. Negotiate with your loan servicer for a lower interest rate. Pay extra toward the principal. (Okay, this doesn’t lower your interest rate, but it does help you pay less in interest over time!) Lowering the interest rate on your student loan can reduce your monthly student loan payment and potentially save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan(s).

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Can You Arrange a Settlement With Student Loan Lenders?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated April 20, 2023

If your student loan is in default and you want to clear up your debt, you might be able to enter into a student loan settlement agreement. When you settle a debt, you negotiate with the lender to pay less than you owe in one lump sum. To negotiate a settlement agreement, your account must be in default. There are advantages and disadvantages to using this debt relief option. For example, you may end up paying less than the total amount you owe on your loan, but you must have a large lump sum available to complete your settlement. The settlement rules are different for federal student loans and private lender loans, so you’ll first need to determine what type(s) of student loan you have before weighing your options.

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The Complete Guide To Disputing Student Loans on Your Credit Report

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 22, 2023

Some student loan borrowers find errors on their credit report. So, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of checking your credit report from each of the big three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — at least once a year. Luckily, you can get your credit report for free, without impacting your credit score. You also have the right to dispute inaccurate information on your credit report and have it removed. Let’s review what to check for and how to deal with inaccuracies.

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If I Go To Grad School, Can I Defer My Student Loans?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 22, 2023

In many cases, you can defer your undergraduate student loans if you go to grad school. When you defer a loan, you aren’t responsible for making the monthly payments for a period of time. Interest on the loan may continue to accrue though.

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The Complete Guide To Refinancing Student Loans

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 28, 2023

When you refinance your student loans, you take out a new loan and use it to pay off your existing student loans. There are pros and cons to refinancing: The biggest pro is that you may get a lower interest rate or be able to reduce the amount of your monthly payments. Reducing your interest rate means you pay less over the long run. Lowering your payments each month can help you stay on top of your debt if you’re struggling. If you have federal loans, the biggest drawback to refinancing is that you’ll lose certain benefits like access to student loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs. Regardless of the type of loans you have, you’ll need a good credit score (or a co-signer with a good score) to get approved for a student loan refinance and get a good interest rate.

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What’s the Best Way To Pay Off Student Loans (Fast)?

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated May 15, 2023

There’s no penalty for repaying federal or private student loans faster than the repayment schedule. Paying off student loan debts faster will save you money in interest payments. The sooner you’re out of student loan debt, the sooner you’ll be able to achieve other financial goals.

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Why Do I Keep Getting Calls About Student Loans?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 6, 2023

If you’re a student loan borrower, you’re probably used to receiving phone calls, letters, emails, and text messages about your student loan debt. While some of these are legitimate messages from federal loan servicers, many are scams. If you're getting calls about student loans and you don't have any loans, that's a good sign it's a scam. Below, we go into detail on how to spot/prevent a scam. Bottom line? If it seems too good to be true, it's most likely a scam.

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Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Nurses

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 1, 2023

Becoming a nurse takes dedication and lots of education, which means it’s likely you have at least some student loan debt. Luckily there are several specialized student loan forgiveness programs to help nurses erase their student debt. The most popular and well-known forgiveness program is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), where borrowers pay an income-based monthly payment for 10 years and then have their remaining debt forgiven. But there are other forgiveness programs as well, including the Federal Perkins Loan program, the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Program, the NHSC Rural Community Program, the National Institute of Health Program, and more. Below we detail the different student loan forgiveness options as well as the qualifications for each specific program. Take a look!

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Private Student Loans and Wage Garnishment

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 16, 2023

Defaulting on the payment of your private student loans can negatively affect your credit score and result in other undesirable consequences. One is wage garnishment. A private student loan lender can even levy or take money from your bank account. Thankfully, there are solutions that can help you avoid these challenges and even provide debt relief.

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Unemployed and Struggling with Student Loan Debt? Here's What You Can Do

Written by Upsolve Team
Updated August 24, 2023

If you’re unemployed and you have student loan debt, it might feel or be impossible to make your student loan payments. Missing payments can cause serious consequences, but you have options. If you lose your job, be proactive in managing your student loan repayment. You can request deferment and forbearance, which puts a temporary pause on loan payments. You can also apply for an income-driven repayment plan, which may reduce your monthly payment to as low as $0.

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Can You Remove Student Loans From Your Credit Report?

Written by Attorney Jenni Klock Morel
Updated April 7, 2023

If the information about your student loan on your credit report is accurate, you can’t have that information removed. It will eventually drop off your credit report, and as it ages, it will impact your credit less and less. It can take 7–10 years for student loans to be erased from your credit report. Defaulted student loans take seven years to be removed from your credit report while paid-off student loans may stay on your report for 10 years.

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Gifted Money To Pay Student Loan Debt | Will I Have To Pay Gift Tax?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated June 7, 2021

When you’re just starting out, a significant gift from a family member or other loved one can make all the difference. For instance, a gift that pays off all or part of your student loans or, the gift of down payment funds may help you buy a home and begin building equity. If someone has offered a generous gift but you’re worried about gift tax, income tax, and other tax issues, here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know.

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Consolidating Federal Student Loans: A Comprehensive Guide

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated June 5, 2023

If you’re like most students, you’ll take out multiple student loans throughout your college career. When repayment begins, you may find yourself juggling multiple loan payments, due dates, and interest rates each month. Consolidating your student loans can streamline the repayment process, and it may even save you money. The U.S. Department of Education currently offers one kind of consolidation loan called a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan. Here’s what you need to know to make informed decisions about consolidation.

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Can You Get Student Loan Forgiveness if You Drop Out?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 7, 2023

Most people go to college with hopes of getting a degree and creating a good life for themselves. Unfortunately, unforeseen hardships — often financial — lead many students to drop out before they finish their degree. If that’s you, know that you have options to deal with your student loan debt! You may still qualify for student loan forgiveness programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), or loan forgiveness after paying on an income-based repayment plan. If you need a temporary repayment pause while you find work or figure out your next steps, you can apply for forbearance or deferment.

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25 Companies That Will Help You Pay Your Student Loans

Written by Natasha Wiebusch, J.D.
Updated June 28, 2023

Many companies recognize how much student loan debt can affect their employees. In order to ease that burden, a lot of companies had added student loan repayment assistance and tuition reimbursement as a part of their employee benefits. Below, we list 25 well-known companies that help repay their employees’ student loans.

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Student Loans and Your Credit Score: What You Need To Know

Written by Attorney Thomas J. Pearson
Updated August 23, 2023

Payments on your student loans will be recorded in your credit history and ultimately impact your credit score. Making payments on time will boost your credit score, and missing payments or defaulting on your loans will hurt your credit score. Paying your student loans is a great way for recent grads to start to learn about and build their credit. Maintaining a good credit score will help you get good interest rates on credit cards, mortgages, and car loans.

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Ways That Student Loans Can Affect Your Mortgage

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated September 6, 2023

Homeownership is a major life goal for many people. In recent years, though, economic challenges have prevented many people from pursuing this goal. Student loan debt is often cited as a reason why so many people are waiting longer than ever to buy a home.

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4 Questions & Answers About Student Loans And Income-Driven Repayment Plans

Written by Attorney Jamie Lee Ruiz
Updated May 15, 2023

If you have a high amount of student loan debt, but a relatively low amount of income, you may be wondering if you can arrange an IDR, or income-driven payment plan. This article answers many of the questions you might have, such as what an IDR is, how the monthly payment is calculated, how you qualify for IDR, and what other tools are out there to help with student loan debt.

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Student Loan Forgiveness for Healthcare Workers: The Ultimate Guide

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 29, 2023

There are many programs designed specifically for healthcare workers to receive student loan forgiveness. Most serve specific types of healthcare workers and have other requirements around the length of time you work in healthcare and where you work. Consider each of these factors as you look at your options. If you’re struggling to pay your loans, you can also consider applying for a loan deferment or forbearance or switching to an income-driven repayment plan to help make your monthly payments more manageable.

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Want To Get Rid of Student Loans? Try These 6 Ideas

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 8, 2023

If you feel like you’re drowning in student loan debt and need help managing or getting rid of it, you’re in luck. In this article, we rounded up six potential options to deal with overwhelming student loan debt, including loan forgiveness programs, loan discharge programs, loan settlement options, repayment plans, refinancing options, and bankruptcy.

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Is an Income-Contingent Repayment Plan Right for You?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 12, 2023

The Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan is one of four income-driven repayment options for federal student loans. It’s the only one of these four options that parent PLUS borrowers can utilize, which is one of the main upsides, if you have that kind of loan. The ICR has the longest repayment period of any income-driven plan at 25 years. This allows for lower monthly payments for borrowers but, the total amount paid over the loan's lifespan, including interest, is generally higher compared to other plans.

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How long do I have before my student loan goes into default?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated July 30, 2021

When you miss your student loan payments, you risk defaulting on your loan. Different lenders have different timeframes for when they consider a loan to be “in default,” so it’s important to know the terms of your loan and understand the timeframe for default. This article will explain how long it takes for federal and private student loans to go into default if you miss a monthly payment.

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Debt Forgiveness: The Options & Consequences

Written by Attorney Tina Tran
Updated June 28, 2023

Debt forgiveness is when one of your lenders forgives or erases some or all of your debt. This debt could be from a credit card, a student loan, or an installment loan. Sometimes you can get a full debt forgiven, but more often, you’ll get partial forgiveness. For example, if you come to a debt settlement agreement with a credit card company, you agree to pay part of your outstanding debt in exchange for having the rest of the debt erased. With many student loan forgiveness programs, you must pay a portion of your debt for a certain period of time before you get the remaining balance forgiven.

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What Is the Standard Repayment Plan for Student Loans?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 29, 2023

Standard repayment plans are available thanks to several different repayment option choices. These plans include extended, graduated, income-contingent, and income-based. All of these options provide borrowers with the ability to lower their monthly payments or extend the term of their loan thereby keeping their payments low.

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What Is Refinancing Student Loans?

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated June 6, 2023

The benefits of student loan refinancing are different for everyone. How much refinancing can help you will depend on your existing loans and your current financial situation. This article covers what student loan refinancing is and how it works. You’ll also learn how to determine whether refinancing is right for you and how to compare lenders to maximize your benefits.

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REPAYE Plan 101

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated December 21, 2023

The Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE Plan) is an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan for federal student loans. Borrowers who aren’t in default and have an eligible federal student loan can make payments under the REPAYE Plan. It requires you to pay 10% of your discretionary income, and the repayment period is 20-25 years.

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The Ultimate Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness

Written by Attorney Kassandra Kuehl
Updated March 7, 2024

There are several federal student loan forgivness programs, for example: the Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs. These programs often require working a certain number of years for specific employers or in designated professions. Additionally, some borrowers may qualify for forgiveness after making payments for 20–25 years on an income-driven repayment plan. However, recent studies suggest this approach may not be effective for most borrowers seeking loan forgiveness. The Biden Administrations is working on fixing this issue.

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What’s the Best Student Loan Repayment Plan for Me?

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 11, 2023

The best student loan repayment plan is the one that works for you, your goals, and your financial situation. To figure out your best option, do your research and consider the pros and cons of each plan. (Hint: Consider whether the monthly payment will be affordable and also how much interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.) Then sign up for the plan that makes the most sense for you. The good news is that the federal government provides a lot of flexibility to borrowers, and you can change your repayment plan anytime. There are four types of federal student loan repayment plans. Most borrowers stick with the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan or choose an income-driven repayment plan. Though they are less common, Graduated Repayment Plans or Extended Repayment Plans offer a smart option for some borrowers.

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How Student Loans Work: Your Complete Guide

Written by Elena Botella
Updated August 24, 2023

There are two major categories of student loans: federal and private. Most students opt for federal student loans because they usually have lower interest rates and more generous repayment options. There are other differences between private and federal student loans as well, including payment terms, interest rates, and eligibility requirements. Student loans can be used to finance tuition, room and board, and living expenses.

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How Long Does It Take To Pay Off Student Loans?

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 8, 2023

How long will it take you to pay off your loans? It depends on what type of loans you have, the interest rate, and what repayment plan you’re on. It generally takes 10 to 30 years to repay federal student loans. While repaying private loans can take anywhere from 5 to 20 years.

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Affordable Student Loan Repayment: Your Guide to Income-Driven Plans

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated March 7, 2024

In an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, your monthly federal student loan payment is calculated based on your income and family size. Since IDR plans are tied to your income, the monthly payments tend to be more affordable for borrowers than other repayment plans like the Standard Repayment Plan. Sometimes the monthly payment is as low as $0. The federal government has promised student loan forgiveness after 20–25 years of repayment under an IDR, but recent evidence has shown this forgiveness is hard to get. President Biden has proposed new IDR rules to change this. The rules are subject to public comment and review before they can be implemented. This article explains how income-driven repayment plans work. It also details the four different types of income-driven repayment plans, how to choose the right plan for you, and how to apply for the income-driven repayment program.

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8 Effective Strategies To Lower Your Student Loan Payments

Written by the Upsolve Team
Updated September 6, 2023

If you’re worried about how you’re going to make your student loan payment once the repayment pause ends this summer, it’s good you’re planning ahead and doing some research! You have many options to lower your student loan payment, including: 1. Signing up for an income-driven, graduated, or extended repayment plan 2. Enrolling in autopay 3. Refinancing or consolidating your student loans 4. Applying for deferment or forbearance 5. Requesting a temporary payment decrease or deferral (if you have a private student loan)

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Consequences of Not Paying Student Loans: Explained

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 12, 2023

Federal student loan payments are set to resume in October 2023. If you can’t make your student loan payments your credit score, employment opportunities, and emotional well-being can all be affected. This article explains the consequences you may face if you don’t make your student loan payments and proposes some strategies to deal with student loan debt when you can’t make your monthly payment.

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10 Options if You Can’t Make Your Student Loan Payments

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated September 6, 2023

If your student loans are coming due and you can’t afford the payments, don’t panic. This article explores 10 strategies to help: 1. Apply for an income-driven repayment plan. 2. Refinance your loans. 3. Seek financial counseling. 4. Increase your income and/or lower expenses. 5. Consolidate your loans. 6. Set up automatic payments. 7. Request student loan deferment. 8. Apply for student loan forbearance. 9. Negotiate with your lender. 10. File bankruptcy to erase student loans for good.

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What Happens to Your Student Loan Debt When You Die?

Written by Attorney Tori Bramble
Updated August 1, 2023

When it comes to the fate of your student loan debt after you pass away, the outcome differs for federal and private student loans. Federal student loans are generally discharged upon death, relieving your estate and co-signers from the obligation. In the case of private student loans, some lenders may offer a death discharge policy, but it's not guaranteed.

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Want To Pay Off Student Loan Debt? Ask These 9 Questions

Written by the Upsolve TeamLegally reviewed by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated June 7, 2023

There are many ways to strategize to pay off student loan debt. You can develop a personalized strategy by exploring: - Your current financial situation - Your student loan (and how it compares to other debt you may have) - Your financial goals - Your risk tolerance and debt-repayment timeline - The type of student loans you have and their repayment options - Streamlining repayment through loan consolidation or refinancing

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Subsidized vs. Unsubsidized Student Loans: What’s the Difference?

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated August 24, 2023

There are two broad categories of federal student loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Subsidized student loans are granted based on financial need. The main advantage of subsidized loans is that they don’t accrue interest while you’re in school or if you get approved for deferment after entering repayment. These loans are called subsidized because the federal government pays some of the interest on the loans. Unsubsidized loans aren’t based on financial need and do accrue interest while you’re in school or in a period of deferment or forbearance after you enter repayment. Because interest is treated differently on unsubsidized loans, they often end up costing more over the long run than subsidized loans. This is why many student loan experts recommend maxing out any subsidized loans you’re offered before getting unsubsidized loans.

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Using the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) To Get Your Federal Student Loan Information

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated May 8, 2023

You can find all of the info you need to know for your federal student loans in the National Student Loan Data System. This central database contains all of the information you will need to understand your federal student loans including: your loan balance, due dates, eligibility for new loans, and more. If you need to download an NSLDS report, log in to your account on studentaid.gov using your FSA ID and password. Once you're in your account, hover over your name on the top right of the screen and select "My Aid." From there, you can select "Download My Aid Data." Your data will be downloaded as a .txt file.

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Breaking Down the True Cost of College: The Harsh Reality of Student Loan Debt in 2023

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated March 25, 2024

As of 2023, the average amount of student loan debt for a borrower with a bachelor's degree is over $35,000, which has increased sixfold in the last two decades. About 93% of all student loan debt comes from federal student loans, while the rest is from private loans. Although federal student loans offer various repayment options, including income-driven repayment plans, forbearance, and deferment, many borrowers still fall behind on payments, leading to delinquency or default status. The student loan debt crisis has far-reaching implications, affecting not only individuals but also the U.S. economy.

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Student Loan Payments Are Resuming: Are You Ready?

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated March 25, 2024

*Updated December 20, 2023* Federal student loan payments will resume in October 2023, but interest will begin accruing on student loans again on Sept. 1, 2023. This comes after a three-year student loan payment pause that began in March 2020 and was subsequently extended several times. Here's the current message from StudentAid.gov, "Congress recently passed a law preventing further extensions of the payment pause. Student loan interest will resume starting on Sept. 1, 2023, and payments will be due starting in October. We will notify borrowers well before payments restart."

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What’s the Difference Between Direct, Indirect, and FFEL Student Loans?

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated December 21, 2023

Federal student loans are designed to help students and their families pay for college expenses. There are two types of federal student loans: Direct and Indirect. Direct Loans are issued by the U.S. Department of Education, while indirect loans are made by colleges and universities. Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and Perkins Loans are two common types of indirect loans. These loans were made by private lenders and guaranteed by the federal government. Both programs have since ended, but millions of borrowers carry loan balances on these loans. Direct Loans are eligible for more forgiveness and loan repayment options than indirect loans, especially when it comes to income-driven repayment plans. It's important to understand the differences between these types of loans when considering borrowing for college expenses.

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What’s the Difference Between Student Loan Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge?

Written by Attorney Paige Hooper
Updated September 12, 2023

If you're struggling with student loan payments, you may be wondering about student loan forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge. While all three options aim to reduce or eliminate student loan payments, the eligibility requirements differ. They vary based on factors such as the type of loan you have, your occupation, and the specific hardship you’re facing. Understanding the differences between these options can help you determine which one is the right choice for you.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families resolve their debt and fix their credit using free software tools. Our team includes debt experts and engineers who care deeply about making the financial system accessible to everyone. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.