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Affordable Payments

Once you graduate and your federal student loan repayment obligations begin, unless you specifically choose a different repayment plan, the Department of Education automatically enrolls all borrowers in the Standard repayment plan.

Under the Standard repayment plan, the entire balance of the loan is due in equal monthly installments over a 10-year repayment period1. This plan certainly has the advantage of being paid off the quickest, but if you are like many students, you may not be able to afford those payments.

There are, however, several other repayment plan options with lower payments. Many of these repayment options base your payment on your income and family size and have terms that extend for up to 25 years. These repayment plans are called Income Driven repayment plans and range from 10-20% of your discretionary income 2. Moreover, at the end of your loan, if you still have a remaining balance, it is forgiven3.

In other words, instead of having to make payments based on the balance of your loan – which you may not be able to afford – you can simply request to be placed on a different repayment plan and have your payments recalculated based on your income and family size. Payments can literally be $0 and significant portions of your loans may be forgiven.

Income Driven repayment plans have proven to be very helpful to many borrowers. In fact, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that even in borrowers who had previously defaulted on their student loans, once they were placed on such plans, more than 90% of such borrowers were able to stay out of default4.

Sadly, most borrowers are unaware of these options or how to take advantage of them. We’re here to change that.

One. Easy. Payment.

If you’re like most students, you don’t just have one federal student loan…you have several. Loans with different names, amounts and repayment terms. On top of that, you may be paying several different loan servicers. This can make managing and tracking your federal student loans difficult and frustrating.

A Direct Consolidation Loan allows you to combine your federal student loans into a single loan with a single loan servicer that you choose. When you consolidate, you lock in your interest rate and make one payment. In addition, a Direct Consolidation Loan may make you eligible for repayment plans for which you may not otherwise be eligible.

Loan Forgiveness.

Loan forgiveness is not some myth or program that only a very few can qualify for. In fact, loan forgiveness is an integral part of every single Income Driven repayment plan. If you select an Income Driven repayment plan and at the end of your repayment term, there is still an outstanding balance, the remaining balance will be forgiven.

In addition, if you are a teacher or work for certain employers, you may be eligible to have your federal student loans forgiven even earlier. Obviously, there are some conditions and requirements, but StudentLoanify will help you determine if you meet those criteria in a few basic steps. We’ll even give you the applications to submit.

Note: depending on the plan and program, there may be tax consequences if some or all of your federal student loans are forgiven. Consult a tax professional for assistance.

Important – Please Read.

We specialize in helping borrowers understand their federal student loans and preparing the documentation they need to enroll in a repayment plan that works for them.

We are NOT the federal government or loan servicer.

We do NOT offer or resolve private student loans.

We do not (and will not) make student loan payments on the borrower’s behalf.

Much like a taxpayer can complete their own tax returns, borrowers can complete their Federal student loan applications for free and without any assistance. However, if you find the information overwhelming, cryptic and confusing and just want some help at a very reasonable price, we can help.

Let’s get started

*Note: We’re going to ask you to create an account so we can better protect your information and make sure you can always access it.

Get Out of Default.

Federal student loans are considered to be in “default” after 9 months of the borrower not making payment. Obviously, being in default on your federal student loans can have dire consequences. In addition to affecting your credit and ability to take out other loans, the federal government has enormous powers of collection including administrative wage garnishment, social security offsets, and tax refund intercepts to name a few.

Once in default, there are generally only a handful of options a borrower has to get out of default – (1) settlement, (2) rehabilitation, and (3) consolidation.

Under the settlement option, a borrower must pay off the amounts owed – principal and interest. Theoretically, a borrower may be able to negotiate a reduced payoff amount but given the enormous collection powers the Department of Education has to recover the full amount, it is very difficult and unlikely and borrowers should expect to have to pay the full amount owed within 90 days.

Under the rehabilitation option, a borrower must make 9 payments within 10 months. The payments are typically equal to 15% of a borrower’s discretionary income and must be arranged through the debt collector. After the 9th payment is made and the rehabilitation is completed, the borrower resumes their normally scheduled payments.

Under the consolidation option, the borrower can simply consolidate their defaulted loans and pick an Income Driven repayment plan. An Income Driven repayment plan removes the default and allows the borrower to make a payment based on their family size and income. The consolidation essentially acts like a refinance of the defaulted loans.

Details and more information on each option may be found on the Department of Education’s website here.

At StudentLoanify, we focus primarily on helping borrowers consolidate their loans and select an Income Driven repayment plan. That’s because for the vast majority of borrowers, this is the best, easiest and most sustainable option. In fact, in a recent report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the CFPB found that “[b]orrowers who did not enroll in [an Income Driven Repayment Plan] were five times more likely to default for a second time.” The CFPB went on to find that while [Income Driven Repayment Plans] “should ensure payments remain affordable and repayment success is possible over the longer term…a series of administrative, policy and procedural hurdles may limit access to [such plans]” particularly after completing a loan rehabilitation. As evidence, the CFPB pointed to the fact that fewer than 2 percent of borrowers who complete a rehabilitation enroll in an Income Driven repayment plan at the completion of the rehabilitation and nearly one-third of borrowers find themselves back in default within 24 months. In short, the CFPB concluded that consolidations and Income Driven repayment plans produce better outcomes. For more information about the CFPB’s report, see here.

We Know Our Stuff

StudentLoanify is the collaborative work of Default Mitigation Management, LLC (“DMM”) and Joshua R.I. Cohen, Esq., the Student Loan Lawyer.

DMM specializes in building online document preparation systems and portals. DMM pioneered online mortgage modification services and is now recognized by dozens of bankruptcy courts as the system of record to help borrowers and mortgage servicers resolve mortgage modifications quickly and easily.

Joshua R.I. Cohen, Esq., the Student Loan Lawyer is one of the foremost student loan experts in the country. He has helped thousands of borrowers better manage their student loan debt and is the founder of The Student Loan Law Workshop where he teaches other attorneys how to help borrowers across the country.

StudentLoanify was built on the simple idea that with a little bit of help and guidance, most student loan borrowers can take control of their federal student loan debt and get on a repayment plan that makes sense for them and their families – even if they are in default.

What We Do

Our mission is simple – we help borrowers take control of their federal student loans through education and action. (We do not assist borrowers with private student loans).

Education

You can’t get to where you want to be if you don’t understand where you are. So before we do anything, we give you a free custom analysis report. This analysis takes about 3 minutes to complete and will explain:

•    the type of federal student loans you have;
•    the amounts you owe;
•    the interest rates you are being charged;
•    the current status of each loan; and
•    the repayment plans available to you.

Our free analysis report is customized to each borrower’s profile giving you a very detailed understanding of your current federal student loan status and how it affects your options going forward.

Take Action

In addition to helping you understand your federal student loans and options, we help you take action. With a click of a button, our proprietary systems will create your customized applications and instructions needed to obtain the repayment plan selected by you. You only need to print, sign and send the completed applications to the servicer.

Revolutionary

Much like TurboTax™ revolutionized tax preparation, StudentLoanify is revolutionizing how federal student loan borrowers take charge of their loans.

Federal Student Loans...Made Affordable

When it comes to Federal Student Loans, borrowers have options even they are in default. Below are a few examples of how borrowers can take control over their Federal Student Loans. The names and number are made up. The results are very real.

Example 1
Bob has $60,000 in Federal Student Loan debt. He defaulted on his loans but wanted to get out of default and handle his loans. He is a teacher earning $45,000 and heard about Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) but wasn't sure what it all really meant. Bob got out of default by consolidating his loans and is now making payments that qualify for PSLF. Under the Standard Repayment Plan, Bob was paying $690 per month (which he couldn't afford) but under his consolidation and REPAYE plan, he pays only $225 and will only have to pay for 10-years so long as he teaches for those 10 years. Not only does Bob save $465 per month, but by making qualifying payments under PSLF, Bob's loan will be forgiven after making 120 PSLF qualifying payments. That’s a potential tax free forgiveness of $60,000.

Example 2
Mary is a divorced woman working as a retail manager. She earns $55,000 a year and supports 2 children. Her Federal Student Loan balance is also $55,000. The minimum payment is over $600. She called her servicer who told her she could extend the term of payment to 25 years, but that only drops her payment to just over $300. While that’s a 50% savings, it still wasn’t affordable for Mary. Then Mary learned about REPAYE. With REPAYE, Mary’s payment is only $200 a month. If Mary can’t pay off the balance within 20 years, anything she still owes will be forgiven.

Example 3
Paul is retired. While he made good money while he was employed, the foreclosure meltdown a decade ago nearly drained his retirement account. Worse, Paul has several Parent PLUS loans he took out for his children, with a balance over $100,000. Even with an extended 25-year term, the minimum payment is over $800 a month. Paul cannot afford that with his limited retirement income. By consolidating his loan, he became eligible for the Income Contingent Repayment Plan. Based on Paul’s income, he now only pays just $215 a month. He only has to pay for 25 years. Anything not paid after 25 years is forgiven. If Paul passes before 25 years, the loan is written off with no taxability to his estate.

These are just a few examples of how understanding your options and knowing what to do can help you obtain an affordable repyament for your Federal Student Loans. In theory, this should be easy. In reality, it is not. That's why we built StudentLoanify. We are here to educate you and help you take action - quickly and easily.

Student Loans 101
The Basics

Most students attending college today rely on some type of loans to help pay for their education. And while there are many types of loans, most student loans are federal loans.

The good news about federal student loans is that there are many repayment plans and even borrowers that have defaulted on their loans have options to get out of default and back on their feet. Under some circumstances, borrowers may remain in good standing while making payments as low as $0. Some borrowers may even be able to cancel some or even all of the debt.

There are also private student loans which are made by private lending institutions. These loans are not backed by the federal government. Unlike federal loans, there are no interest rate limits and borrowers do not have the same range of flexibility in terms of repayment plans.

If a borrower does not know which type of loans they have, they should visit the National Student Loan Data System. If the borrower’s loan is a federal loan, it will be listed there. If it is not listed there, it is NOT a federal student loan.

Note: StudentLoanify only works with federal student loans. Our proprietary system will sync a borrower’s NSLDS data with our systems.

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Student Loans 101
Repayment Plans

There are nine repayment plans for federal loans. Four are based on the balance of the loan. Five are based on the borrower’s income and family size. The availability of each plan for a particular borrower depends on several factors including the type of loans and their current status. Don’t worry…StudentLoanify’s analysis will tell you exactly which repayment plans a borrower is eligible for as well as the payments under those plans.

Balance-Based Repayment Plans

Balance based plans are exactly what someone expects when they borrower money. There is a definite term with definite payments and at the end, the borrower is expected to pay off the full balance of the loan. The four balance based repayment plans and their key characteristics are:

•   Standard (fixed monthly payments over a fixed term)
•   Graduated (payments start lower and increase every 2 years)
•   Extended (fixed monthly payments over longer term, balance must be greater than $30,000)
•   Extend Graduated (payments start lower and increase every 2 years, balance must be greater than $30,000)

Income Driven Repayment Plans

Income Driven Repayment plans are based on the income of the borrower (and sometimes the spouse too). The formulas for these payment plans ONLY look at the borrower’s income and family size. Expenses and amount of the loan are irrelevant. Payments can be as low as $0! If at the end of the repayment term, the borrower still has an outstanding balance, that balance will be forgiven. (Please consult with a tax expert as there may be tax consequences). The five Income Driven Repayment plans and their key characteristics are:

•   REPAYE (10% discretionary income, eligible for forgiveness after 20-25 years)
•   PAYE (10% discretionary income, must be new borrower as of 10/1/07, eligible for forgiveness after 20 years)
•   IBR (15% discretionary income, eligible for forgiveness after 25 years)
•   IBR NEW (10% discretionary income, must be new borrower as of 7/1/14, eligible for forgiveness after 20 years)
•   ICR (20% discretionary income, eligible for forgiveness after 25 years)



Not all loans qualify for all plans but StudentLoanify will help borrowers understand for which plans they qualify, how to qualify and even prepare the applications needed. Just print, sign and send.
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Student Loans 101
Default

A borrower is considered in default on their federal student loans if they haven’t made a scheduled payment for a period of at least 270 days (about 9 months). The consequences of defaulting on federal student loans can be dire with the federal government having extraordinary collection powers including administrative wage garnishment, offset of federal benefits and offset of federal tax returns. Not to mention the impact a default has on the borrower’s credit.

There are two ways to deal with a default – settle it or cure it.

If borrower can afford a lump sum payment, then settlement of the outstanding debt can be an option. However, borrowers should not expect heavy discounts. There are very strict guidelines for collector when settlement offers are made. Usually, the best deal one can hope for is 90% of the outstanding principal and interest.

If settlement through a lump sum payment isn’t a viable option, borrowers can either rehabilitate the defaulted loan(s) or consolidate them. To rehabilitate a defaulted loan, a borrower must make 9 “voluntary, reasonable and affordable monthly payments”. The nine payments must be made during a period of 10 consecutive months. Rehabilitation payments are usually 15% of a borrower’s discretionary income. Fees of up to 16% may be added to the balance. Once the rehabilitation is completed, borrower will be placed on their original repayment plan.

Another option if borrower has defaulted is to consolidate the loan(s) and select an Income Driven repayment plan (see Repayment Plan section for details). With a consolidation, the borrower is deemed to be out of default once the consolidation is completed. Borrower will also have the ability to select the new servicer and make only one payment for all of the loans consolidated. Fees of up to 18.5% will be added to the balance.


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Student Loans 101
Forgiveness

Believe it or not, federal student loans can be forgiven. Yes, that’s right – forgiven! This means that after certain conditions are met, any remaining balance of the federal student loans will no longer be owed (although there may be tax consequences as a result of the forgiveness for some of the programs).

Generally, there are 2 types of forgiveness programs. First, any borrower on an Income Driven repayment plan will be eligible for forgiveness after 20 or 25 years of making payments (the time will depend on the plan).

Second, there are forgiveness programs available to teachers and public service employees. Full time teachers working at a qualifying school for 5 years may be eligible for forgiveness. The exact amount will depend on the grade levels and subjects taught. If the borrower is a high school teacher teaching STEM or a special education teacher at any grade level, the amount forgiven is $17,500. If the borrower is an elementary teacher or high school teacher that teaches a different subject, the amount of forgiveness is $5,000.

Public service employees are also eligible for loan forgiveness after 10 years. To be eligible, borrower has to meet 3 criteria:

•   Work for a qualified employer (government entity or non-profit)
•   Borrower’s loans must be Direct loans
•   Borrower must make 120 qualifying payment under a qualifying plan (Income Driven repayment plan)


As part of StudentLoanify’s program, we will help the borrower determine if they may be eligible for any of these forgiveness plans and provide borrower with the necessary applications and information to obtain the forgiveness.
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Student Loans 101
Private Loans

These days, there are many private student loan lenders offering to refinance student loans. These lenders purport to lower interest rates and payments and may be a very good option for some borrowers. But, borrowers should do their homework and understand that private student loans are a whole different animal from federal student loans. Once federal student loans are refinanced, borrowers will lose ALL of the flexibility that comes with federal loan programs such as:

•   Picking a repayment plan based on borrower’s income and family size;
•   Rescuing a loan if they default;
•   Discharging the loan because of disability; and
•   Qualifying for forgiveness of their loans.
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