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5 Tips for Starting a Debt-Free Conversation With Your Spouse

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When you were dating, you and your spouse could talk about almost anything. But married couples find that some conversations are harder than others. And if you’re not on the same page about getting and staying out of debt, those talks can be really tough.

But the hard conversations are usually the most important for couples. So, if you’re feeling the need for a talk about a debt-free future, but your spouse isn’t quite on board, here are some tips for jump-starting that discussion today.

1. Stop procrastinating.

Sure, it’s easier to avoid the conflict by putting off “the talk,” but that’s probably not what’s best for your marriage. For married couples, getting out of debt is definitely a team sport, so you have to talk about it. Remember, when you said “I do,” God turned two people into one (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4–6). As Chris Brown says, “Conflict is inevitable, but drama is a choice.” Work together and have the difficult conversation now to avoid problems later.

2. Reject fear.

This goes along with the first point because fear can paralyze us and cause procrastination. But it goes deeper than that. If you know something is right, you can’t give in to fear. God doesn’t operate in fear, and He doesn’t give you a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), but of love. You have to step out boldly with your spouse even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.

3. Ask questions—and listen to answers.

If your spouse is hesitant, you’ve got two options for finding out what’s going on. You can lecture your better half, but nothing shuts people down faster. Or you can ask questions and really listen to the answers. Questions prove that you want to work together, and they assign value to the one being heard. Just as important, questions break down walls and help you find some common ground. Ask about retirement dreams and your family’s emergency fund. Remember, the idea is to start the conversation about being debt-free some day, so let it be a dialogue—not just a lesson in money management.

4. Explain the benefits of being debt-free.

Don’t get all preachy or come in with a ton of charts. That’s no different than lecturing. But try casting a vision for what’s possible. Dream about how generous you could be if you were completely debt-free or how you could leave a legacy for your family. The things holding your spouse back might be making it hard to look up and see the horizon. Give your loved one permission to ask, “What if . . . ?”

5. Pray about it.

Honestly, you can’t change your spouse, but God can. He also can uncover areas where you can be more flexible. And He’s promised to give you the wisdom you need if you’re willing to ask (James 1:5).

Larry Burkett said that if two spouses are exactly alike, one of them is unnecessary. And when it comes to getting out of debt, both of you are very necessary. But it takes communication and a lot of respect.

Your spouse probably won’t transform overnight, but you can gently open the door for debt-free discussions. And when that door is open, hope gets to be part of the conversation.

Where the candidates stand on student-loan debt

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The presidential field has finally narrowed, which means if you’ve yet to vote in a primary, your choices for who to vote for have become a lot simpler.

If you have student loans, there are likely a few key areas you’d like the next president to fix. According to our “Student Loan Vote” survey, most respondents indicated they’d like to see more student loan refinancing opportunities. Not far behind were student loan tax breaks along with free tuition at community colleges.

If student loan debt is one of your top issues on the ballot this year, here’s what you need to know about the candidates’ proposals for dealing with the growing student loan debt crisis.

Hillary Clinton

Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have presented comprehensive plans to help borrowers eliminate student-loan debt. However, Clinton and Sanders have different approaches to dealing with the costs of education and how much of the bill the government should foot.

Clinton created what she calls the “New College Compact” to address the issues surrounding present and future education costs.

Her main initiative to address existing student-loan debt is to allow borrowers to refinance their student loans at current rates available to students taking out new loans. Her campaign website states this would allow an estimated 25 million borrowers to obtain relief, with the average borrower saving about $2,000 in total.

Clinton also wants to reduce interest rates on new student loans, as well as make it easier for borrowers to enroll in income-driven repayment programs that would cap monthly payments at no more than 10 percent of discretionary income.

In terms of tuition costs for future students, Clinton’s plan promises to provide aid so students would never have “to borrow to pay for tuition, books, and fees to attend a four-year public college in their state.” However, her plan requires families to “do their part by making an affordable and realistic family contribution.”

Clinton’s entire plan would come with an estimated cost of $350 billion over 10 years.

Overall, while Clinton’s plan would be costly and may run into resistance from Republicans, her proposal provides a holistic solution to the student-debt crisis at a reasonable price tag.

Bernie Sanders

Similarly, Bernie Sanders has outlined a detailed policy for tackling student loan debt.

He has specifically stated that he wants to “stop the federal government from making a profit on student loans,” from which he says the government will bring in $110 billion in the next decade. Instead, he’d lower student loan interest rates. And like Clinton, Sanders proposes letting borrowers refinance student loans at current rates.

However, Sanders seeks to take his plan further in the amount of aid provided to future students. In fact, he proposes making tuition completely free at all state colleges and universities.

This means another one of the major differences between Sanders’ plan and Clinton’s is the cost. At an estimated $75 billion per year, his plan would cost more than double what Clinton’s proposal would, with no defined timeline.

While free tuition would go a long way in helping cut the costs of college, there are real concerns here about how this plan would be funded — not to mention, how receptive conservatives would be to implementing it. Sanders proposes funding these programs through a new tax on Wall Street, but it’s unclear if there’s the political will in U.S. Congress to support this tax.

Others may question the necessity to provide free tuition to students whose families would otherwise be able to afford at least some of the costs of college.

Donald Trump

On the opposite end of the spectrum from Clinton and Sanders, Donald Trump hasn’t spoken much or published any policy positions related to solving the student loan debt problem.

So far, Trump has only written and spoken out broadly against student-loan debt. For instance, in his 2015 book “Crippled America,” Trump wrote, “These student loans are probably one of the only things that the government shouldn’t make money from and yet it does.”

However, general statements like this and a lack of any specific proposal to aid student loan borrowers leaves us to wonder: What would Trump do, if anything, related to student loan debt? With the lack of even a basic plan, as well as no voting record, it’s impossible to endorse Trump’s approach to student loan debt reform.

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz has yet to say much publicly on what he would do as president about growing student-loan debt in the country. Not even his website addresses education costs.

However, we can look to Ted Cruz’s voting record in the U.S. Senate for some indication.

He voted in favor of the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, which ensured all federal loans would be fixed going forward, tying federal student loan rates to financial markets and placing a cap on rates. However, while this might seem like a positive move toward solving the student debt crisis, the bill didn’t do much to address the growing cost of attending college.

On the other hand, he voted against Sen. Warren’s amendment to a Republican budget resolution in 2015, which would have allowed borrowers to refinance their student loans at current rates.

While I can’t say conclusively what Cruz would or wouldn’t do about student loans as president, his voting record, along with his silence on the issue, doesn’t give much hope for current or future borrowers.

John Kasich

Gov. John Kasich is the only remaining Republican candidate who’s made meaningful comments about the growing cost of college.

Kasich often points back to what he’s done about student loans and education costs while serving as governor of Ohio.

In Ohio, Kasich has proposed a $120 million college-debt-relief fund to help borrowers repay their loans. This proposal would provide funds to local graduates who remain in Ohio to work at certain in-demand jobs.

To address the costs for current and future students, Kasich’s 2015 state budget implemented a two-year tuition freeze for state colleges and universities and increased state funding for the institutions.

In terms of education-related policy outlined on his campaign website, Kasich primarily focuses on keeping college costs down. He proposes offering high school students more opportunities to earn college credits with high school courses. He also mentions Ohio’s plan to pay college and universities based on performance, measured by how many students graduate.

But again, we’re left wondering: What specific steps would this Republican presidential candidate actually take to address student loan debt if he’s elected? While Kasich appears the Republican candidate most likely to do something on student debt, there’s still a huge divide between his remarks and the Democrats’ comprehensive proposals.

Commentary by Andrew Josuweit, CEO of Student Loan Hero, a company that combines easy-to-use tools with financial education to help millions of Americans living with student loan debt. Follow him on Twitter @josablack.

How To Tackle Student Loan Debt in 3 Easy Steps

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Step #1 

Gather your last year’s tax return and your paystubs from the past 30 days employment; if self-employed or unemployed, no paystubs are required.

Step #2

Grab your FAFSA Pin Number which you created at the time you applied for your student loans. If you don’t remember or have this information available call our student loan advisor @ 855-580-NEST (6378) and they will help you retrieve that information for you.

Step #3

The last and most important step is to determine which of the many programs you might qualify for.  Fortunately, there is no cost to use the ASR repayment assistance calculator to determine your program eligibility, simply call (855) 500-9007 and an ASR Representative will require the information you gathered to instantly qualify you at no cost.

 

 

Get Instant Approval On The New Student Loan Forgiveness & Payment Reduction Programs. Call Us Today (855) 500-9007

 

 

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Participating Loan Servicers:

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Get Approved For Student Loan Forgiveness

Call For Free Qualifications Today 855-580-NEST (6378)

 

STUDENTS SHOCKED OVER HEALD COLLEGE CLOSURE

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It was a shocker for many students of Heald College Monday as they found out all 28 campuses nationwide are closing and 10 of those campuses are in California. Heald’s parent company said it collapsed amid case shortage. Some parents were previously reassured that the college was financially solid.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris had filed a complaint previously against the colleges parent company. Now, her office is reaching out to some of these students letting them know they may not have to pay back those student loans.Employees of Heald College in Milpitas left campus with some of the things they could carry.

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

Students were left disappointed and wondering where to go from here. “It left me to think what should I do now? Well, I was thinking of going in there and talking to them to see what’s going on,” Sandra Yip said.

Yip only needed to complete one course to earn a two-year associate degree. “I was almost done. This catch me, it was like a surprise to me,” Edgard Gallegos said.

Charlene Lujan was celebrating her daughter’s birthday Sunday when she got an email about the closure of Heald College in Milpitas. “I came straight home. I said ‘Brittany don’t worry, mom will handle this,”‘ she said.

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

Her daughter had been enrolled for only two months at Heald College and had taken out a $30,000 loan to pay for the two-year business program.

Lujan knew Heald’s parent company, Corinthian Colleges, was trying to sell all 28 schools. “I would just like that loan forgiven and go on with her life,” Lujan said.

Corinthian had struggled financially after they were fined by the U.S. Department of Education for providing false information on its job placement program. In the end, no one was willing to buy the colleges.

Corinthian Chairman & CEO Jack Massimino released a statement saying: “Unfortunately the current regulatory environment would not allow us to complete a transaction with several interested parties that would have allowed for a seamless transition for our students.”

“I’m going to go to foothill, that’s my next step to complete my credits there,” one man said.

He and others are hoping they’ll be able to transfer as many as possible.

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

Debt Dodgers: Meet the Americans Who Moved to Europe and Went AWOL on Their Student Loans

By | Student Loans | No Comments

It’s difficult to overstate how crushing America’s student loan debt situation is. The amount of money adults in the US owe due to educations is over $1.3 trillion and jumps up by more than $2,000 every second. The average borrowerowes $28,000, though some owe much more than that. Many former students, trapped between low wages and the high cost of education, can barely afford to keep up with interest payments, let alone start paying off the principal.

Some people are put in so desperate a spot they have attempted to bail on their loans by fleeing the country and hiding out from the banks and collection agencies that will inevitably start looking for them.

It sounds slightly unbelievable, not to mention probably a bad idea from a long-term personal finance point of view, but these debt dodgers are real. I’ve met these Americans in Berlin, my adopted city. I haven’t been able to find any statistics on how many of them there are, but I’m not the only one who’s noticed the people fleeing US because of their student loans.

“It’s a phenomenon that I’m quite familiar with actually,” says student loan lawyer and author Adam S. Minsky. “In my experience, people leave because there’s a sense of hopelessness and they see greater opportunities overseas, usually through a combination of higher pay and lower living expenses. They think they’ll be better positioned to either pay their loans in real time, from abroad, or to save up and be in a better place to address the loans a couple of years from now.”

Many of the students I talked to fear the possible consequences of this strategy, but so far none of them have faced any repercussions. And according to some experts, they may never.

Joshua R. I. Cohen, who calls himself The Student Loan Lawyer, tells me that this plan could work for some people, albeit only if the debt dodgers plan to never live in the US again. Students who move to a foreign country and stop paying off their loan debt “will only feel consequences if they’re working for a US company on foreign soil,” Cohen says.

If you’re living abroad, earning a living from a foreign company, not paying US taxes, and not collecting social security, then loan companies can’t touch you, nor will the government chase you after you move abroad.

“The federal government doesn’t have really strong tools for collecting debt from people who move overseas,” says Mark Kantrowitz, another expert on student loans who serves on the board of the Journal of Student Financial Aid. “In theory, you could live the rest of your life in another country.”

Of course, if your family co-signed your loan with you and remain in America, they’ll still be on the hook. And this strategy relies on you not wanting to go home again. If these former students ever decide to come back to the US, “the debt will still be there—it never goes away,” says Cohen. “All they’re doing is putting off what could happen if they come back to the US.”

To get more insight about debt dodging, I spoke to several Americans who moved to Berlin and stopped paying their loans. All names have been changed.

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Brian, 29
$40,000 in debt

I took out loans when I went to school in California. I received enough scholarship money at the time to cover half of the tuition and the loans covered the remainder. I did not have a plan for paying them off, nor did I consider how I would make it work once I graduated. I needed to go to school and it was the only solution at the time.

When I decided to move abroad, I think in the back of my head I thought that it would save me from having to pay them off. I saw the interest rise and my deferral period lapse and the anxiety just kept rising. I’m sure that Germany and America have some sort of reciprocity when it comes to this kind of stuff, just like they do with taxes, but I try not to think about it.

The loans are about to default, and I’m worried about the consequences. I’ve blocked the loan company’s emails from my inbox. I’m sure they will go after my parents soon, but that won’t do much because they don’t have any money either.

I think at this point I owe about $40,000. I really, truly, honestly don’t want to pay it back. Sure, I realize the responsibility I took on when I signed the papers and agreed to take out the loans, but I should have never had to do it in the first place. I feel some sort of civic duty not to pay them back, as if my small protest will make any kind of difference.

I think I know two friends that have completely paid off their loans and have received an awesome amount of confidence because of it. I am very proud of them, but I don’t think I’m one of those people. I would rather spend my money on things that I need like food and shelter than to give it back for a service that should have been provided for me.

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Vanessa, 29
$45,000 in debt

I got my associate’s degree and then transferred to a private university in New York. They didn’t accept all of my credits, so I had to do about three years of study. I think it was $53,000 a year at the time. My mom and I applied for a loan through a private bank called Sallie Mae, among others. Every American knows that bank, the name Sallie Mae sounds so friendly; she’s just your cute aunt making soup.

Within 48 hours I had $30,000 in my bank account. It was shocking because I had never had that much money in my bank account before. I remember that after paying my student stuff it was just gone, as if I never even had it. And I didn’t live on it. I had a part-time job my entire education.

I moved to Berlin the day of my graduation. I got my loans deferred for one year and then my parents deferred it for a bit because you have a short grace period, usually six months to a year. When we tried to consolidate them we met a lot of resistance because they were from so many different banks. But I’ve never paid back the federal loans. My parents didn’t co-sign on them. The only reason that I’ve ever worried about the debt from the private lenders is because it affects my parents. I don’t give a shit about the loans in my name.

A year ago, I was working at a fancy restaurant in Berlin and made a lot of money in tips. For about ten months, I was paying some of the loans, but I don’t have that job anymore so I had to stop.

Debt collectors haven’t badgered me in Berlin. They haven’t found me in Germany. But when I go home, my phone rings non-stop. I always think it’s an old friend trying to hang out with me, but it’s really Sallie Mae. It rings like every hour.

I have this shame on the part of my parents because I really did not want this for them. When I thought about going to college, this is not what I had in mind. I really thought that they were going to be so proud of me. I was the first child in my family between my parents to graduate college. But then I realized that we weren’t thinking about the debt when we were signing up for school. And sometimes I think living in New York City and going to a private university maybe wasn’t the best idea. I could have gone somewhere else and gotten a political science or history degree and only been in $50,000 dollars worth of debt. But I’m happy that I got that education. It’s the education I wanted.

If I don’t have the money, then I don’t have the money to pay for loans. I need to eat and live and not be a slave to this debt. But I’m scared. When I look back, I wonder what I could have done differently.

Vanessa, 29
$45,000 in debt

I got my associate’s degree and then transferred to a private university in New York. They didn’t accept all of my credits, so I had to do about three years of study. I think it was $53,000 a year at the time. My mom and I applied for a loan through a private bank called Sallie Mae, among others. Every American knows that bank, the name Sallie Mae sounds so friendly; she’s just your cute aunt making soup.

Within 48 hours I had $30,000 in my bank account. It was shocking because I had never had that much money in my bank account before. I remember that after paying my student stuff it was just gone, as if I never even had it. And I didn’t live on it. I had a part-time job my entire education.

I moved to Berlin the day of my graduation. I got my loans deferred for one year and then my parents deferred it for a bit because you have a short grace period, usually six months to a year. When we tried to consolidate them we met a lot of resistance because they were from so many different banks. But I’ve never paid back the federal loans. My parents didn’t co-sign on them. The only reason that I’ve ever worried about the debt from the private lenders is because it affects my parents. I don’t give a shit about the loans in my name.

A year ago, I was working at a fancy restaurant in Berlin and made a lot of money in tips. For about ten months, I was paying some of the loans, but I don’t have that job anymore so I had to stop.

Debt collectors haven’t badgered me in Berlin. They haven’t found me in Germany. But when I go home, my phone rings non-stop. I always think it’s an old friend trying to hang out with me, but it’s really Sallie Mae. It rings like every hour.

I have this shame on the part of my parents because I really did not want this for them. When I thought about going to college, this is not what I had in mind. I really thought that they were going to be so proud of me. I was the first child in my family between my parents to graduate college. But then I realized that we weren’t thinking about the debt when we were signing up for school. And sometimes I think living in New York City and going to a private university maybe wasn’t the best idea. I could have gone somewhere else and gotten a political science or history degree and only been in $50,000 dollars worth of debt. But I’m happy that I got that education. It’s the education I wanted.

If I don’t have the money, then I don’t have the money to pay for loans. I need to eat and live and not be a slave to this debt. But I’m scared. When I look back, I wonder what I could have done differently.

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Mario, 34
$160,000-plus in debt

I wasn’t even meant to go to college. It was never my intention. And then all this shit happened where I took a year off, and I realized, Fuck, I don’t think I can work overnights at a Target stocking shelves for the rest of my life. So I ended up finding this film school in California.

I couldn’t afford this private school, so I told my parents I really wanted to do this and they co-signed the loans for me. I wanna say it was like $30,000 each year. It’s a ridiculous amount of money.

I was, for sure, intending to pay the loans back. Our mentors and teachers told us that we would pay this education off for a long time, but everyone in America is doing it so it’s almost like eating breakfast. That’s how Americans are raised.

This idea that you can’t afford college so you just make loan payments when you get out of school is crazy. I started to question how could you start something when you’re starting in a hole?

Debt is not the main reason I moved to Europe. I moved for my career, but in the back of my mind it was a way to start a clean slate. At the same time, I could never really escape because my parents were co-signers. My parents own a home and were planning on leaving it to us as inheritance. They were nervous about having their house taken away from them because of me not paying student loans, and subsequently signed the house over to my sister so they wouldn’t own anything the bank could come after.

To be honest, I just don’t see myself living in America again—for reasons outside of student debt. My parents are moving back to El Salvador, where they’re from, and then I’ll have no ties to America. I don’t really like America or the direction it’s heading. For now, I don’t need to care about going back there.

I encourage whoever I can to study abroad. It’s so much cheaper. Starting your life with even $30,000 or $50,000 in the hole is not a good hole to start in.

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Zoe, 31
$35,000 in debt

I got a full ride to college and I didn’t have to take out loans until the end of my freshman year. I got a D in a class and I lost half of my scholarship. So I could have had no loans. My biggest mistake in life was messing up that one year in college.

When I left, I had maybe $24,000 in loans. My intention was to get forbearance for like a year and then start paying the loans. And I knew I would be paying the loans until at least my late 30s. My brother, who is six years older than me, was still paying his loans at the time, and even my dad was paying his loans then—he got his master’s degree when we were kids.

After school, I went through my grace period and forbearance application and started paying the loans off. I was working and had a really good job. I think I was paying like $100 or $150 a month. I decided my senior year that I would move abroad after graduation. The last six months in the States I wanted to get all of my loans in order because I knew I wasn’t going to be paying them when I moved to Europe.

I got all of them up to date, and right before I left I told the loan companies I was moving and gave them an email address. Once I moved abroad, though, I just stopped paying. Once you move abroad, you just kind of turn off that whole part of your life off. They can’t touch you; you’re elusive. But they started calling my parents, my grandparents, my past employers. And I was just living my life in Europe, kind of oblivious to it.

It wasn’t until about six months ago that I started paying my loans again. I realized that I’m 30 and I just can’t dip out on my loans forever. And maybe I’ll want to move back to America at some point. I don’t want to have this burden if I do.

The past two years I’ve been banking on this rumored Obama loan forgiveness bill that still hasn’t really been passed. I guess I’ll continue at this rate until they go away? I don’t mean until I pay them off. I mean until the government’s like, “You don’t have to pay those loans anymore, you millennial! We know you’re not good for it.”

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

How to Survive the Student Loan Crisis

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How to Survive the Student Loan Crisis

Right now ‘STUDENT LOAN CRISIS’ seems to be the words on everybody’s lips. From presidential candidates to worried freshers, the key topic of conversation is ‘what on earth can we do about student debt?’. And with good reason – the US student loan debt is at 1.4 trillion dollars and rising fast. If you are taking out loans now, or have already graduated and are worrying about how to pay off your debt, this is the article for you, here we review all the possible ways of surviving, reducing, paying off or eliminating your student debts. Think smart, reduce stress and find the best solution for you!

Understanding your loans:

rsz_27819707396_4349108eeb_zThe first step towards conquering your student loans is to really understand what you’re dealing with. The majority of borrowers just focus on trying to meet their minimum repayments, however to really get on top of your loans you need to understand how they work. Here are the 3 simple steps you need to take in order to get to grips with your loans:

1) How much you owe?

It’s no surprise really that many borrowers don’t keep track of their exact loans total. Paperwork gets lost, emails get buried and sometimes people feel more comfortable not knowing. You need to be on top of the situation, and a good place to start is to check the National Student Loan Data System to see all of your federal loans. If you also borrowed from private lenders you will need to contact them directly. If you don’t know who your private lenders are, order a free copy of your credit report which should contain your full credit history.

2) What are your payment options?

Some loans offer the chance to switch to an improved payment plan, based on what you’re earning. If you’re unable to make your payments at all, you can also apply for a temporary deferment.

3) What are the details of each loan?

If you have multiple loans, which is often the case, find out which is charging you the highest rate of interest and make that loan your priority. In addition to knowing the rates of interest, also research the minimum payment requirements and which loans have the possibility of deferment, forgiveness or a longer term payment plan.

Obama’s forgiveness plan:

rsz_2835463696_599b8c91ae_z‘Obama Student Loan Forgiveness’ is the more common name for a program called the ‘William D. Ford Direct Loan Program’. This is a system whereby, depending on your personal circumstances and the amount of time for which you have had your loans – you are entitled to a reduction of your loan total, reduced monthly payments and in some cases, complete forgiveness of your debt. It is possible to arrange to join the program yourself, however, many choose to use the services of a loan consolidation company such as Aidinest to simplify the process and make sure that they are signed up to the best package – as there are numerous options. Millions of borrowers have taken advantage of the benefits of the loan forgiveness program, join them by using the Aidnest contact details at the end of this article.

Grace period:

rsz_6140023466_9e5e783fd8_z (1)Depending on your loan type and your lender, you may be entitled to a ‘grace period’ after you graduate (or leave college).  This is a period of time during which you do not need to make any payments towards that loan. This period would typìcally be 6 months. However, this is not a time to relax or spend money, this is the time to be smart, use this opportunity to research your loans, understand their terms and conditions and start saving money towards later payments. Make a game plan! For example, if your loan repayments are in the region of $250 per month, put that money aside ready for later repayments, not only will you be ahead of schedule, but you will already be accustomed to saving money each month.

Avoid new debts:

rsz_14553389216_08a5b994f3_zWe all love a bit of retail therapy right? After a few years of living on a student budget and having finally obtained your qualifications, you may feel entitled to reward yourself. Don’t! That all important new iPhone, car or house can wait. The most important factor in your life at this time is to to own your debt – not material possessions. A year or two down the line when you are confident that you are in control of your student debts and earning a good salary is the time to give yourself those rewards, realistically the last thing you need right now is new debts on top of pre-existing debts.

Go easy on the plastic – the average student has well over $3000 credit card debt, credit cards are all too easy to use and often difficult to repay, and at high levels of interest, think before you spend!

Likewise if you have just started working and paying off your loans you may find that your money is not stretching to the end of the month. If this is the case; sacrifice is the answer, never take out payday loans, payday loans are a short cut from hard times to even harder times and are never the solution.

You may also need to keep your romantic side in check if you are considering getting married. True love always waits, and the average wedding in the US costs upwards of $30,000, and that’s just the basics. Think smart and control your spending and your borrowing.

Budgeting:

rsz_27432402060_a23a674629_zBeing a student gives you the great life skill of living on a budget. Don’t let that knowledge go to waste, learn to incorporate those skills into your life post-studies. Being in control of your debt is about being in control of your finances, and that means not wasting money and equally importantly, knowing how to make savings.

How does budgeting work in practical terms? Ride a bike instead of driving or taking taxis, choose an apartment with a realistic rent, cook at home, cut coupons, skip expensive nights out and have more nights in with your friends… do whatever it takes to live within your means.

Earning:

rsz_6757871357_f3f060a40c_zOf course we would all like to earn more money, but what are we prepared to do to get it? It’s important to always be proactive (without being too pushy or demanding). Know your worth, regularly check what is the average wage in your position and industry and ask for regular work reviews with your boss. Constantly be on the lookout for new employment opportunities, a new job always comes with an increased salary. Always look for the chance to work some overtime or extra shifts. Look for a second job, perhaps an online business from home, or a few nights working in a bar or restaurant. Sell your old possessions that you no longer need. Consistently  be thinking about ways to earn a few extra dollars, it all adds up, and that extra bit of cash in your pocket may be just what you need to help you through the hard times.

Interest:

Feel free to use this image just link to www.rentvine.com

Feel free to use this image just link to www.rentvine.com

We’ve already discussed the importance of knowing the interest rates on your individual loans, but it doesn’t stop there. Once tax season comes around, you need to deduct your student loan interest. You can reduce your taxable income by up to $2,500 on any interest you’ve paid for that tax year. Your lender should give you this information, but you may also request it or access it online. It’s also worth considering making the interest payments if you have deferred your loan, this means that the eventual total will be lower and more manageable when the time to start payments comes around.

Volunteer:

rsz_9346447719_86174a93cf_zPaying off all of your student loans is going to make you feel great, but you’ll feel even better if you’re helping out some good causes while you do so! There are various ways in which volunteering can help with your student loan payments. If you are working in a loan forgiveness qualifying non-profit sector job, your loan can be completely forgiven after the first 120 payments.

Equally, if you are employed in a job that is ‘giving back’ to society, there are programmes that will pay off large chunks of your debt, for example, the Veterinary Loan Repayment Program will pay $75,000 towards the debts of eligible vets working in area’s with a shortage of animal doctors (for 3 years or more).  The National Health Service Corps have a similar incentive which pays off $50,000 from your debts. Do some research to find like-minded programmes relating to your particular qualifications.

There are also initiatives available for people who donate time or volunteer as fundraisers. Look at pages such as www.zerobound.com or www.sponsorchange.org to find out how you can help others and reduce your debts whilst doing so.

Location:

rsz_15579124992_a8eac327fd_zYour qualifications make you valuable. Many cities in the US are very keen to recruit young professionals (like you) to go and make your career and life there as a resident and taxpayer. New York, Kansas, Detroit, Michigan, Niagara Falls and Saskatchewan are examples of places that offer some type of loan assistance for doing exactly that.

Of course, just like with the other student loan forgiveness options, these opportunities may well come with conditions attached. You may be required to live in a certain part of town, work at a particular company, or commit to staying  for a minimum period of time.

If you don’t feel ready to rip up your roots quite yet, changing home in the city where you currently reside may also help you to save money. Moving closer to your work, finding a cheaper apartment or looking for a room in shared housing are also ways in which you may be able to reduce your living expenses.

Author: Jim Davies

Images: Courtesy of Flickr.

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

7 MAGNIFICENT REASONS FOR REFINANCING YOUR STUDENT LOANS!

By | Student Loans, Student Loans I | No Comments

If you feel yourself becoming engulfed by the flames of student loan debt, it might be time to take a good long look at your financial situation. If you still haven’t refinanced or consolidated your loans, you are effectively ‘burning money’ – your repayments could be at a significantly lower rate. Here are 7 magnificent reasons why you need to talk to a student loan refinancing specialist as soon as possible.

1) EXPERT ADVICE

Navigating your way through the various types of consolidation and refinancing packages can be daunting and confusing. A lack of understanding of the available options is actually the most common reason people give for not refinancing and continuing to overpay. Any reputable student loan refinancing company will offer free consultations & advice and can really make the whole process relatively painless and stress free.

2) LOWER MONTHLY PAYMENTS

Your student loan adviser will be able to explain to you which are you best refinancing options. Not only can you potentially lower your rate of interest but you can also change your terms of repayment. For example, if you currently have a loan with a ten year repayment plan and you change that to twenty years, your monthly payments could be drastically reduced. You need to strike the right balance between interest rates and payment terms to find the repayment level that is right for your current level of  income.

3) REDUCED INTEREST RATE

If you have become more financially stable since graduation, it probable that your credit score has improved. This makes you less of a financial risk for lenders and therefore you should be entitled to a more favorable rate of interest, and potentially, a lower overall repayment total. Use this refinancing opportunity to take advantage of your relative financial stability and strike a better deal.

4) FLEXIBLE REPAYMENT PLANS

Federal loans include various payment options such as Pay As You Earn, Income Based Repayment and Income Contingent Repayment. As your financial circumstances change, so does the repayment plan best suited to your particular situation. As your earnings increase so should your rate of repayment, enabling you to repay your total loans in the shortest time period possible and gain financial freedom. Be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of each repayment type.

5) CHANGE YOUR BANK

Some banks do not give borrowers the best advice as it suits them  to have borrowers in a repayment program that earns them a higher rate of interest. If you feel that your bank has given you bad advice, refinancing your loans gives you the opportunity to switch accounts to a more honest bank with reliable customer service. Look into the available options or take advice from your student loan advisor to find yourself a more suitable or flexible account.

6) RELEASE A COSIGNER

A cosigner is basically someone who guarantees your repayments. If this is a friend or family member it can add an extra stress to your relationship as well as possibly harming their credit rating (if you default) Refinancing may present the possibility to ‘release’ your cosigner. This will be easier to arrange if you have improved your financial status since you took out your loans. Check the terms of different banks to see which offers this cosigner release option.

7) CONSOLIDATE MULTIPLE LOANS

Many student borrowers have multiple loans with multiple lenders. This can make it difficult to keep track of the different terms and conditions. Add to that the fact that loans can be bought and sold by lenders and the situation can become extremely complex. Refinancing allows you to put all of your loans with one lender  with one set of terms and conditions, making your repayments much more straightforward and your life less stressful.

If you would like advice on any of these points why not contact Aidinest for a free consultation? We’re always happy to help!

Author: Jim Davies

Image: Courtesy of Flickr

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

Consumer Affairs calls University of Phoenix a Scam

By | Student Loans | 49 Comments

ConsumerAffairs.com has downgraded University of Phoenix to 1 out of 5 stars calling the profit generating machine to put it mildly, a scam.  In just the last year, the University has been investigated by the federal government for misrepresentations in its recruiting practices; sued in more than one class action lawsuit; and then saw its enrollment drop more than 25 percent.

Last year, the U.S. Education Department began a regularly scheduled review of the Apollo Education Group, the publicly traded company that owns and operates the University of Phoenix. Federal authorities began examining how Apollo distributed federal student-aid dollars, whether it returned funds associated with students no longer enrolled, and how it reported on-campus crimes during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.

Last month, under pressure from the federal investigation, Apollo Education Group sold the University. While the review is a standard practice—the agency conducted more than 300 similar reviews last year—it comes at a time of increased scrutiny and regulatory activity directed at the for-profit college sector. The volume of financial aid collected by Apollo and the role that financial-aid funds play in the company’s balance sheet also significantly raise the stakes of this review.

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

Public interest in the for-profit industry has grown as more Americans have pursued nontraditional paths to a college education. As enrollment has grown, state and federal investigators have examined recruiting and marketing practices as well as academic activities at a number of for-profit schools. In 2012, a U.S. Senate investigation found widespread evidence that for-profit schools often appear to prioritize business concerns over educational quality or student progress, with most producing low graduation rates but double-digit profit margins for publicly traded companies.

The corporations behind for-profit colleges together reaped 86 percent of their revenue from federal student-aid programs, the Senate investigation found, but they have not faced congressional regulation or consistent oversight that might protect the interests of students and taxpayers. In fact, during the 2008-09 school year, half the students attending for-profit colleges left school without a degree, according to the Senate report. Many of these students were drawn to the schools by multimillion-dollar ad campaigns and high-stakes recruiting practices and then left school with life-altering amounts of debt, the Senate report found.

The industry has often countered criticisms with claims that for-profit colleges provide educational services to working adults and low-income and minority students—populations they say traditional nonprofit colleges and universities have long neglected or underserved. And officials at Apollo describe their schools as institutions that bolster the country and its most important economic goals.

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

In 2009, the company did agree to pay a $67.5 million settlement to the federal government and another $11 million in legal fees after former employees filed a suit alleging that the company tied recruiter pay to the number of students recruited or enrolled, a violation of federal law. Under the terms of the settlement the company admitted no wrongdoing. “Apollo Group is committed to rigorous regulatory and compliance systems to serve and protect the academic innovations for which we are known,” Gregory Cappelli, then co-chief executive officer of Apollo Group, said in a statement issued by the company. Cappelli, who is now the company’s sole CEO, made more than $25 million in 2011.

Attorneys general in Massachusetts and Florida continue to investigate the company, according to Apollo’s most recent quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission. And in March, the company received a subpoena from the Education Department’s Office of the Inspector General related to a range of activities including “marketing, recruitment, enrollment, financial aid processing, fraud prevention, student retention, personnel training, attendance, academic grading and other matters,” according to the same quarterly report.

The University of Phoenix faces additional scrutiny from its academic accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2013, the organization re-accredited the college network for 10 years but placed it on a two-year notice plan due to concerns “regarding governance, student assessment and faculty scholarship/research for doctoral programs,” according to Apollo’s most recent annual report. A school is put on notice status when it appears that without changes the institution will fall out of compliance with the accrediting agency’s standards.

Aidnest can help determine if you might qualify for the student loan forgiveness. Our team of dedicated student advocates will help reduce your monthly cost to the minimum amount possible until such a time that forgiveness may be a possibility.

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

How your Vote will Affect your Student Loan

By | Student Loans | No Comments

HOW YOUR VOTE WILL AFFECT YOUR STUDENT LOAN

US student loan debt now runs to over 1.3 trillion dollars ($1,300,000,000,000.00) and includes around 43 million borrowers. Those are the type of mind boggling numbers that are hard for us normal folk to comprehend, and that get politicians worked up into a sweat.

It’s no wonder that the student loan debt crisis is becoming a major power chip in the upcoming presidential elections. President Obama’s Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 goes some way to addressing many of the key issues of the loans crisis, but the problem continues to grow, and indeed worsen. According to MarketWatch, student debt is increasing by $2,726 every second.

The presidential elections have become a two horse race, and whoever is going to win will inherit one hell of a student loans headache. Before withdrawing himself as a candidate, Bernie Sanders had made the loan crisis a central part of his manifesto, and it’s no exaggeration to say that the problem will be a central issue in deciding who will become the next president.

So if your student loan could cast a vote where would its allegiance lie? Here we look at the probable impact on your student loan of a Clinton or Trump win.

Hillary Clinton on the student loan crisis:

“Education is the key to our young people achieving their dreams. It’s how we develop our talents and imagine different futures for ourselves. So any serious plan for America’s future must include a bold plan to put quality education – including college – within everyone’s reach, no matter how much money they have.” So states Hillary Clinton on her campaign website.

Clinton is placing college affordability at the forefront of her campaign. She traded political punches with her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders early in the campaign, claiming that his plan to provide free public college to every American “doesn’t add up.”

And indeed, Clinton is not claiming to have a magical solution, there will be no such thing as a ‘free education’. She would introduce state controls with an obligation to keep tuition costs as low as possible while maintaining and improving college performance. She also advocates students working for ten hours per week to help finance their education.

She also plans to encourage those with student debt to refinance their loans at a lower rate of interest. In tandem with this measure, she will aim to to reduce general interest rates and give borrowers a three month moratorium on their federal student loan repayments. Clinton has also introduced a plan that supports ex-students in business start up ventures, allowing entrepreneurs a three year freeze on payments, without any interest being added.

Donald Trump on the student loan crisis:

Trump has been quoted as showing great empathy with American student borrowers, saying: “They can’t breathe, they’re scared, they’re so scared they have leveraged their entire life. One of the saddest things I see are college students that work so hard, that go to good colleges, they’re good students.”

Trump has been less specific on how he plans to come to the aid the growing number of student loan recipients. The Republican candidate plans to reveal more details later this month, but here is what we have been told so far.

Trump has called the present student loans framework ‘unfair’ through his Twitter account. He has accused the present government of profiting from student loan debt and promised, “we’re going to make it really good for the student”.

The Republican campaign team have hinted at limiting the government’s role in student lending, making colleges themselves take more responsibility and giving private banks a bigger role to play – in stark contrast to Obama’s original overhaul of the system in 2010. Republicans claim that Obama’s amendments have actually increased college costs while decreasing competition.

What it means for student borrowers:

Nothing is crystal clear yet, with Trump quoted as saying “everything is on the table” but there are certainly big differences in the likely strategies the Democrats or Republicans will employ. Trump would reduce the governmental role whereas Clinton would increase it. Clinton would look for more state investment whereas Trump would look for more involvement from the private banks.

Clinton plans to allow students from families earning $125,000 or less to attend a public university tuition-free and provide borrowers with a three-month moratorium on their student loans, allowing them to spend the time finding a manageable repayment program. Trump hasn’t matched that yet, but whatever his next move is later this month could prove to be crucial. One thing is for certain, whatever happens next, Aidnest will be bringing you all the news as it happens.

You can be sure that whoever becomes the next US President, we’ll continue helping borrowers find their best possible debt solutions.

Author: Jim Davies

Image courtesy of DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

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SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN CALLS FOR TOTAL OVERHAUL OF STUDENT LOAN SYSTEM

By | Student Loans | 2 Comments
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‘Five simple principles. Everyone in government who is serious about standing up for the tens of millions of student loan borrowers in this country should embrace them.’

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“It’s long past time for the Department of Education’s bank to clean up its act and start running the student loan program to benefit students—not private companies,” declared Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday as she announced aplan (pdf) for the Department of Education (DOE) to completely overhaul its student loan servicing system.

Earlier this month, the Democrat from Massachusetts roundly condemned the DOE for putting the desires of the student loan industry over the needs of students, referring to a scandal in which the DOE protected one of the country’s largest loan companies (Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae) from repercussions for defrauding U.S. service members.

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you attended Devry University and want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

Warren this week followed up that earlier critique with a detailed, five-point plan for reform.

“When a private company breaks the law and steals from American soldiers who are literally in the field fighting overseas, those companies should be held accountable,” Warren argued. “Everyone in government who is serious about standing up for the tens of millions of student loan borrowers in this country should embrace [these reforms].”

Warren’s plan recommends introducing debt counseling, clearer communication with borrowers, and an escalating complaint process. She tells the DOE to report bad actors to relevant government agencies, decries propping up “too big to fail” student loan companies, and advocates for introducing competition between the student loan giants such as Navient.

The plan also calls on the DOE to publish more data on the opaque federal loan servicing system to disclose to the public how it actually works, and asks the Department to step up aggressive oversight of the student loan industry.

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you attended Devry University and want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

“We shouldn’t be running the student loan program to create profits for private companies. We should run it for students,” Warren said.

The senator’s latest battle with the DOE over student loans was prompted by a report (pdf) last month that “found that the agency conducted a deeply flawed investigation of its student loan servicers—companies like Navient, which collect borrowers’ monthly payments—and knowingly misled the public about the findings,” as Common Dreams reported.

“The Department of Education’s bank decided it was more important to protect Navient than to watch out for our military students,” Warren said. “One of the first things that must be done is a total reform of student loan servicing to make sure nothing like the Navient disaster ever, ever happens again.”

Call 855-580-NEST (6378) if you attended Devry University and want to be considered for loan forgiveness.

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