Millions of us have student loan debt, and it hampers our progress towards financial independence. Let’s get rid of it! We’ll teach you how to handle your student loans like a pro.
Because student loan debt is such a serious issue and because there are so many different ways to deal with it, we wanted to bring in an expert. Travis Hornsby from Student Loan Planner to explain how to handle your student loans.
Trillion with a T
You may have heard that there is a student loan debt crisis, but maybe you don’t know just how bad the crisis is. It’s this bad. 
The average college graduate with a bachelor’s degree left school with $28,446 in student debt in 2016, according to data from the Institute for College Access & Success.
There are 44.5 million student loan borrowers in the U.S., and they owe a collective $1.5 trillion as of March 2018, according to the Federal Reserve.
And the impact of all that debt isn’t only economic. Travis has worked with people who felt so hopeless because of the amount of student loan debt they had, that they had considered suicide.
Student loan debt is nearly impossible to discharge, and when you have it to the tune of six figures, it’s not surprising that people feel hopeless. But there are options available to help you handle your student loans.
How to Handle Your Student Loans Like a Pro
There are lots of options available that will help you pay off your student loans more quickly and more cheaply. There are even programs to have them forgiven. Eventually. These programs are only available for federal student loans, not private.
Student Loan Repayment Options
You don’t have to start repaying most loans until six months after you’ve graduated, dropped out, or are in school less than half-time. If your grace period ends and you’re struggling with payments, there are programs to help. Use this calculator to see what your payments under these options will be.

* Revised Pay As You Earn– Caps the amount of your monthly payment at 10% of your discretionary income.
* Pay As You Earn– Caps your monthly payments at 10% of discretionary income. There are some restrictions. Your payment under the plan must be less than it would be under a standard ten-year payment plan. You must also have been a new borrower as of October 1, 2007, and taken a disbursement of a Direct Loan by or after October 1, 2011.
* Income-Based Repayment Plan- Bases payments on your income and is evaluated each year. If your income goes down, the payment does too. Monthly payments are capped at 10% of discretionary income if your loan money was received after July 1, 2014, and 15% if received before.
* Graduated Repayment Plan- Allows interest-only payments for the first two years. Payments will be lower, but the loan will be more expensive as none of those payments pays principal.
* Income Contingent Repayment- Uses two methods to calculate your payments and allows you to pay whichever is less.

The first is your Adjusted Gross Income over the poverty line for your family size multiplied by 20%. That number is divided by 12 to get the monthly payment amount. The value of your loan isn’t a factor.
The second calculation includes the loan value and income factor as determined by the federal government and a constant multiplier also determined by the government.
Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
After paying back loans for several years, you may be eligible for forgiveness.

* Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program- Available to those in public service. You must work full time for a qualified employer which includes the governme...
United States
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