November 2019
5 Tips to Consider if you have Federal Student Loans
Are you currently or about to start paying back your federal student loans? Did you know there are many different repayment plan options? Or that you might qualify for loan forgiveness? Here are 5 tips to consider if you have federal student loans. 
1. Choose the repayment plan that is best for you!
When you start repaying your student loans, you are automatically entered into the Standard 10-Year Repayment Plan. However, there are actually a variety of repayment plan options available, including income-based repayment plans. Check out your options and find the plan that best fits your situation. To get an estimate of your monthly payment, which could be as low as $0 per month, under each of the repayment plan options, visit and click on “Use the Repayment Estimator.” If you want to discuss your options further or are ready to make a change to your plan, contact your loan servicer.
2. If you are struggling financially contact your loan servicer.
Your loan servicer is there to help you navigate your student loan repayment. If you are struggling with repayment, contact your loan servicer. You may qualify for a deferment or forbearance, which will allow you to take a temporarily break from repaying your student loans. Deferment is preferable to forbearance as no interest accrues on subsidized loans while in deferment. To learn more, go to . These options are a good way to help keep your loan payments current, with no damage to your credit, while you get on your feet financially.
3. Pay off your loan early if you can .
If you can afford to pay more than your required monthly payment - every time or now and then - you can lower the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan. To pay down your loan more quickly, contact your lender to find out how to apply the extra amount to your loan principal . Otherwise, your prepayment may automatically be credited to a future payment and you may not be billed for the next month. There is no financial penalty for paying off your student loan early. Check out Student Loan Hero’s Student Loan Calculator to see how paying off your loan early can save you money!
4. Shop for a better interest rate .
Refinancing your student loans, particularly if you also have private student loans, might help you get a better interest rate, which could lower your total monthly payments and save you a lot of money over the life of your loan. Before you refinance, carefully review the benefits of your current loan(s), especially if you are considering refinancing any of your federal student loans. Be sure you do your research to determine whether a new loan is best for your situation. To learn more about how to determine if refinancing or consolidation may be right for you, visit .
5 . Know about federal loan forgiveness options .
Did you know that if you work for a government agency or non-profit organization you may qualify for Public Service Loan forgiveness? Or that certain highly qualified special education, secondary mathematics, or science teachers can qualify for up to $17,500 in teacher loan forgiveness? There are several federal loan forgiveness programs and you can learn more by visiting the Federal Student Aid website . If you think you might qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, log into the PSLF tool to make sure your loans are on track for forgiveness.
Bonus Tip: Maine has some great programs available to help borrowers with student loan repayment. Be sure to learn more about these two programs:
  • The Maine Educational Opportunity Tax Credit (often referred to as Opportunity Maine) provides a credit that can be claimed on the Maine state tax return for eligible borrowers.
  • Alfond Leaders is student debt reduction program that provides student loan repayment assistance to people who live and work in Maine in a STEM designated occupation at a Maine-based employer.
Want More Information?
Join us for this month's FREE Wednesday Webinar:

What You Need to Know About Student Loan Repayment

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
10:00–11:00 a.m.

Student loan repayment is one of the hottest topics in the news. Many borrowers are struggling with their loans especially when they don't know the details of the options available that can make federal student loan repayment easier. Determining which option is best can be overwhelming, but is critically important, especially for students pursuing loan forgiveness. In this webinar, we’ll review payment options and discuss the pros and cons of each. We’ll also discuss loan forgiveness programs, with a focus on Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and tax credits, including Opportunity Maine, that are available to help students repay their student loan debt!
For additional helpful information and resources, find  previous issues of 5 on the 5th on our website.

FAME's College Access and Financial Education Team:

Mary Dyer , Financial Education Officer
Maria MacDougal , College Access Counselor
Floreka Malual , College Planning Advisor
Nikki Vachon , College Access Counselor
Jessica Whittier , College Access Counselor 
Mila Tappan , College Access and Outreach Manager
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