TEACH Grant: Defined, Explained, and Pros and Cons

TEACH Grant: Defined, Explained, and Pros and Cons

If a student has goals of pursuing a career as a teacher, they may find that the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant can help them meet their goals and can save them some money. The TEACH Grant is a form of federal financial aid that is focused on helping those pursuing a career in teaching pay for their college expenses.

As part of the TEACH Grant, recipients are required to complete a teaching service obligation in order to get the grant. If this obligation isn’t completed, the grant will be transitioned into a loan that will need to be repaid with interest. Continue reading for more detailed information on the TEACH Grant.

What Is a TEACH Grant?

The TEACH Grant is a federal financial aid program designed to help students pursuing teaching careers pay for college expenses. In order to receive a TEACH Grant, applicants have to agree to teach a subject that is considered “highly needed” in a low-income area with a shortage of specific subject teachers. These schools can be elementary and secondary schools. Grant awards are up to $4,000 a year when the recipient is in school, but once they start working they will be paid their normal salary without the addition of any grant funds.

TEACH Grants are eligible for multiple subject areas, including:

•   Bilingual education and English language acquisition

•   Foreign language

•   Mathematics

•   Reading specialist

•   Science

•   Special education

•   Any other field that has been identified as high-need by select governing agencies

After graduating, recipients have to teach at a low-income school or educational agency for a minimum of four years. This four-year teaching requirement must be completed within eight years of the recipient’s graduation.

Recommended: FAFSA Grants & Other Types of Financial Aid

TEACH Grant Eligibility

The TEACH Grant comes with certain eligibility requirements, including:

•   Student must be eligible for federal student aid programs

•   Student has to be an undergrad or graduate student

•   The recipient’s school has to participate in a TEACH Grant-eligible program of study

•   Student has to be enrolled in one of these eligible programs

•   Recipient must score above the 75th percentile on one or more portions of a college admissions test or has to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or higher

How the TEACH Grant Works

Students who qualify for the TEACH Grant program may receive up to $4,000 a year in funding if they are in the process of completing — or one day plan to complete — the coursework required to start a teaching career.

In order to qualify for a TEACH Grant, the student has to sign a TEACH Grant agreement to work full-time as a teacher for four years at an elementary or secondary school or educational service agency that serves low-income students. They also need to teach in a high-need field and have to finish their teaching obligations within eight years after they graduate from or stop being enrolled at the institution of higher education where they received a TEACH Grant.

Do You Have to Pay It Back?

If the recipient fulfills all service obligations of the grant, they won’t have to repay their TEACH Grant. However, if they don’t fulfill the TEACH Grant requirements then all TEACH Grants they received will be converted to Direct Unsubsidized Loans that they must repay in full. They will be charged interest starting from the day of their TEACH Grant disbursement.

Can It Be Used for Living Expenses?

The TEACH Grant is intended to fund coursework (up to $4,000 annually) for students who are in the process of or will one day complete the coursework required to begin a teaching career. Consider consulting with the financial aid department of the school the student is attending to see if these funds can also be used for living expenses.

Pros and Cons of a TEACH Grant

Like any program, the TEACH Grant has some unique advantages and disadvantages associated with it.

Pros

Cons

Up to $4,000 in funding each year to pursue the coursework required to become a teacher Must work full-time as a teacher for four years at an elementary or secondary school or educational service agency that serves low-income students
If service obligation is fulfilled, the grant doesn’t need to be repaid If the service obligation is not completed within eight years, the grant will need to be repaid in the form of a Direct Unsubsidized Loan

Applying for a TEACH Grant

Applying for a TEACH Grant is pretty straightforward. The TEACH Grant application is a part of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). Students can apply for the TEACH Grant when they submit their FAFSA. Some grants may have limited funding, so it’s generally recommended that students submit the FAFSA earlier rather than later. When the student receives their financial aid offer, they’ll find out if they received a TEACH Grant.

Students must continue to apply for the TEACH Grant each year by submitting the FAFSA annually. They will also be required to complete TEACH Grant counseling and sign a new Agreement to Serve every year.

Not all schools participate in the TEACH Grant, so it’s helpful to contact the school’s financial aid office to find out if they participate in the program and to learn what specific areas of study are eligible for the program.

Alternative Forms of Funding

If a student doesn’t qualify for the TEACH Grant, finds it is not a good fit for their needs, or knows that they don’t want to complete the service obligations, these are some other options they may have for pursuing funding to help pay for college.

Scholarships

When a student receives a scholarship, they don’t have to repay those funds. It’s worth applying for multiple smaller scholarships, not just big ones. Those smaller scholarships can really add up.

Recommended: The Differences Between Grants, Scholarships, and Loans

Other Grants

Like scholarships, generally students don’t have to repay grants for college (unless the grant has obligations like the TEACH Grant). A student’s financial aid office can help point them in the direction of available grants and filling out the FAFSA annually can help them qualify for other federal grants, such as the Pell Grant.

Recommended: FAFSA Guide

Federal Student Loans

Federal student loans are funded by the U.S. Department of Education and there are a handful of different types of federal loans available to both undergraduate and graduate students. To qualify for federal student loans, students have to fill out the FAFSA each year. Federal student loans generally have better interest rates and terms than private student loans and they come with unique federal protections.

Recommended: Types of Federal Student Loans

Private Student Loans

Students can borrow private student loans from a variety of different financial institutions and they can help fill the gaps that scholarships, grants, and federal student loans leave behind. As mentioned, private student loans may not offer the same benefits as federal student loans, and for this reason, they are generally considered an option only after other funding resources have been exhausted.

Recommended: Guide To Private Student Loans 

Part-Time Work

If students are looking to avoid taking on student loan debt or want to lighten their student loan load, they could work part-time to help cover higher education costs and living expenses. There are often on-campus jobs designed to help college students balance their school work and their need to earn an income.

The Takeaway

Paying for college is expensive and a TEACH Grant can help soon-to-be teachers pay for college. That being said, the service obligations of this grant won’t appeal to all students and they may find they need to pursue alternative funding.

Some students may consider borrowing private student loans to fill funding gaps. SoFi Private Student Loans have no fees and can be completely managed online. SoFi student loans also offer a six month grace period after graduation before borrowers are required to make monthly loan payments.

Learn more about SoFi Private Student Loans today!

FAQ

Is the TEACH Grant worth it?

Each individual needs to consider carefully if the service obligation attached to the TEACH Grant makes the $4,000 in financial assistance worth it to them. If they don’t want to live or teach in an area that services low-income students they may find this program isn’t a good fit for them.

Do you have to pay back a TEACH Grant?

Recipients may have to pay back their TEACH Grant if they don’t meet the full requirements of their service obligation. If a recipient failed to meet these obligations, the grant funds they received through this program would be converted to Direct Unsubsidized Loans that have to be repaid in full with interest charges.

What does TEACH Grant stand for?

The acronym TEACH of TEACH Grant stands for Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH).


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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All You Need to Know About Subsidized Loans for Graduate School

All You Need to Know About Subsidized Loans for Graduate School

Subsidized loans, a type of loan offered by the federal government, used to be available to graduate students. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. The program that allowed graduate students to receive subsidized loans was ended in 2011 by the Budget Control Act. For now, these loans are only available for undergraduate students. However, there are other loans available to help pay for grad school. Continue reading for more information on subsidized loans and the other options available to graduate students.

What Are Subsidized Loans?

Federal student loans are offered through the U.S. Department of Education to help students cover the cost of higher education. The government helps students pay for degrees or certificates from colleges and universities, community colleges, and trade, career, or technical schools.

Direct Subsidized Loans are available to undergraduate students able to demonstrate financial need. The amount of the loan is determined by the school you are applying to.

The Department of Education pays all interest on the loans while you are in school at least half-time, during the six-month grace period after you leave school, and during periods of deferment. Outside of these periods, the borrower is responsible for making all principal and interest payments.

Subsidized vs Unsubsidized Loans

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans, on the other hand, are one of the student loans available to undergrads and graduate students. Students do not have to demonstrate financial need to qualify for these loans.

The loan amount is still determined by your school, and you are entirely responsible for making interest payments during all periods.

When considering subsidized vs. unsubsidized loans, it’s important to understand both are subject to loan limits. In aggregate, dependent students, except those whose parents are unable to take out PLUS loans, may borrow no more than $31,000, at a given time, of which only $23,000 may be in subsidized loans.

For undergraduates whose parents are unable to access PLUS loans, the loans limit is $57,500, with no more than $23,000 in subsidized loans.

And for graduate students, the loan limit is $138,500, of which no more than $65,500 may be in subsidized loans. What’s more, the aggregate limit also includes whatever student loans you may have from your time as an undergraduate.

When you reach the aggregate loan limit, you will not be allowed to borrow any more money in federal student loans. However, if you are able to pay off some of your loans you may be able to borrow again up to the aggregate loan limit.

Interest rates for both types of loans are set by the federal government each year. In 2022, the interest rate for undergraduate borrowers was 3.73% for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans. The interest rate for graduate borrowers for Direct Unsubsidized loans is 5.28%. The interest rate is fixed over the life of the loan.

Alternatives to Subsidized Loans

In addition to unsubsidized loans, there are other loans available from the government and private sources that can help you pay for grad school.

Grad PLUS Student Loans

Grad PLUS Student loans are another federal loan available through the Department of Education. They are also known as Direct PLUS loans. Grad PLUS Loan requirements include that you must be a graduate student enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. Your program must lead to a graduate degree, a professional degree, or a certificate. You meet the basic eligibility requirements for federal student aid and must not have an adverse credit history.

Under the Grad PLUS program you are allowed to borrow the cost of attendance less any other financial aid. And you don’t have to repay the loan until six months after you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment.

Interest rates on the loan are fixed. For 2022, any loans disbursed before July 1 carry an interest rate of 6.28%.

To apply for federal student loans, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student
Aid (FAFSA®)
. Your school will use the information on this form to determine how much aid you are eligible to receive and present it to you in an offer letter. The offer letter will also give you information about grants and work-study programs you may be eligible for.

Recommended: Grad PLUS Loans, Explained

Private Loans

Private student loans are available through banks and credit unions and other private institutions. The individual lender will determine the amount you can borrow, terms of the loan, and interest rate based in large part on financial factors such as your income and your credit score. Many undergraduates will need a cosigner to qualify for a private student loan. Cosigners are responsible for making loan payments if you fail to do so.

Private loans may allow you to borrow beyond the federal limits imposed on federal loans, or help you pick up the slack if you didn’t qualify for enough federal funding. Though they may lack protections afforded to federal student loans, and as a result, are generally thought of as a last-resort option when paying for grad school.

Personal Loans

Personal loans are also available through private lenders. Borrowed funds can be used for practically any purpose, which means they could potentially be used to cover expenses beyond tuition, fees, room and board, such as transportation. As with private loans, the amount you can borrow will depend on your financial history or that of a cosigner.

How Much Can You Borrow for Graduate School?

The amount you can borrow for graduate school will depend on the types of loans that you use.

Grad PLUS student loans potentially allow you to borrow up to the full cost of attending your program less any other financial aid.

However, unsubsidized loans limit your aggregate borrowing to $138,500, and that’s including any federal loans that you took out as an undergraduate.

Borrowers who are enrolled in certain health profession programs may be subject to a higher aggregate limit for Direct Subsidized Loans, and should talk to their school’s financial aid office.

Private student loans may limit borrowers to the cost of attendance. Policies will likely vary by lender.

Personal loans may allow you to borrow as much as $100,000 with no limitations on how the money must be spent. Again, specific policies may vary by lender.

Recommended: What is the Maximum Amount of Student Loans for Graduate School?

The Takeaway

Federal subsidized loans are no longer available to graduate students. Though organizations like the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators are pushing for legislation that would reintroduce the loans. In the meantime, graduate students have other options, and may rely on federal unsubsidized loans, Grad PLUS Loans, loans from private lenders, or a combination of the above to help pay for school.

Visit SoFi, to learn more about options for private student loans.

FAQ

Does the US Department of Education offer subsidized loans for graduate students as part of financial aid packages?

Federal Direct Subsidized Loans are no longer available to graduate students.

Are Grad PLUS Loans subsidized loans?

Grad PLUS Loans are not subsidized, which means that interest accrues while the student is in school.

Can you pay off subsidized loans before graduating?

You can pay off federal subsidized loans before you graduate without paying any penalty. Note that federal subsidized loans do not accrue interest while you are in school.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Photo credit: iStock/Kseniia Ivanova
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Is There a $50,000 Student Loan Forgiveness Program?

Is There a $50,000 Student Loan Forgiveness Program?

While on the campaign trail, not-yet President Joe Biden tweeted , “Additionally, we should forgive a minimum of $10,000/person of federal student loans, as proposed by Senator Warren and colleagues. Young people and other student debt holders bore the brunt of the last crisis. It shouldn’t happen again.”

At a virtual summit on student loan debt, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Senate called for President Joe Biden to forgive $50,000 in student debt through executive action for all borrowers.

The U.S. Department of Education has said $50,000 student loan cancellation would take care of 36 million individuals’ loans and put a dent in the student loan debt that currently sits at about $1.5 trillion. Student loans represent the second largest portion of household debt after mortgages — more than credit card debt. About 43 million Americans have student loans.

At this point, the White House and Congress have not enacted legislation for $50,000 student loan forgiveness. In this piece, we’ll touch on $50,000 student loan forgiveness, preexisting forgiveness programs, and other ways to pay for school.

Is the $50,000 Student Loan Forgiveness Program Real?

Currently, no widespread federal student loan forgiveness order exists to wipe out student loans. Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, senior United States senator from Massachusetts, believe that one-time student loan forgiveness could relieve students of their debt burden as well as potentially:

•   Reduce wealth gaps, including racial wealth gaps

•   Help those without a degree who have lower lifetime earnings but owe on student loans

•   Economically stimulate the middle class

•   Increase home purchases and stimulate small businesses

•   Help more people save for retirement and start a family

•   Boost the economy

In April of 2021, President Biden asked the U.S. Department of Education to see if his executive authority gives him the ability to order student loan forgiveness without the approval of Congress.

Who Qualifies for $50,000 Student Loan Forgiveness?

Right now, nobody qualifies for $50,000 student loan forgiveness because a blanket forgiveness order hasn’t come from the Biden administration or Congress. That’s not without pressure from progressive Democrats, who have repeatedly asked the president to issue an executive order for $50,000 student loan forgiveness.

Instead, the administration has been focusing on already-established student loan forgiveness programs , including approving $1.5 billion in borrower defense claims and providing $7.1 billion in relief for borrowers eligible for total and permanent disability discharges. This includes $5.8 billion in automatic student loan discharges to 323,000 borrowers and the reinstatement of $1.3 billion in loan discharges for another 41,000 borrowers.

Is the $50,000 Student Loan Forgiveness for Private Lenders?

If a $50,000 student forgiveness legislation came to fruition, the measure would likely only apply to federal student loans. Those with private student loans would still have to continue making their payments unless individual private student loan companies make changes to authorize student loan forgiveness.

An income threshold may also go into effect. In that case, the amount of forgiveness you could hypothetically receive would depend on how much money you make. If you make more than what federal guidelines suggest, you may face restrictions on the $50,000 threshold.

Can the Government Forgive $50,000 in Student Loan Debt?

Warren says that the president has the power to take care of $50,000 of student loan debt with the flick of a pen. However, Biden does not plan to support Warren’s and Schumer’s calls for action, nor does Speaker Nancy Pelosi believe Biden can unilaterally make that call on his own.

In a town hall meeting a few weeks after he took office, a citizen asked about the possibility of $50,000 student loan forgiveness. Biden said in no uncertain terms that he did not support the idea.

Preexisting Forgiveness Programs for $50,000 Student Loan Debt

So, if $50,000 in loan forgiveness isn’t an option, what are the possibilities? Several loan discharge options might be available to you. Loan discharge means you no longer have to repay your loan as long as you meet certain requirements. Let’s walk through Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge, Closed School Discharge, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Keep in mind that these forgiveness programs only apply to federal student loans.

Total and Permanent Disability Discharge

A Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge absolves you of having to repay a few types of federal loans or grants:

•   William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loan

•   Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan

•   Federal Perkins Loan

•   TEACH Grant service obligation

You must complete and submit a TPD discharge application and documentation from one of these three sources: the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Social Security Administration (SSA), or a doctor.

Closed School Discharge

Closed School Discharge means that you may be eligible for discharge of your federal student loan if your college or career school closes during or soon after you leave it.

You may qualify for a percent discharge of the following types of loans:

•   William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loans

•   Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans

•   Federal Perkins Loans

You may qualify if you were enrolled when your school closed or you were on an approved leave of absence during the period when your school closed. You may also qualify if your school closed within 120 days after you withdrew (as long as your loans were first disbursed before July 1, 2020) or your school closed within 180 days after you withdrew (as long as your loans were first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020).

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program forgives the remaining balance on Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan. You must work full-time for a qualifying employer (a U.S. federal, state, local or tribal government, or nonprofit organization) in order to qualify for PSLF.

Other Ways to Pay for School

Let’s explore the various options available to you, rather than waiting for the government to help out with relief that might not come. It may be helpful to know the differences between grants vs. scholarships vs. loans.

Private Student Loans

Just like federal student loans, you can use private student loans to pay for college or career school costs, but they come from a bank, credit union or online lender — not the federal government.

Generally speaking, federal grants and loans should be prioritized before you take on private loans because you’ll usually pay higher interest rates for private student loans. The amount you can borrow depends on the cost of your degree as well as personal financial factors (such as your credit score and income). Private lenders also aren’t required to offer the same borrower protections and benefits as federal lenders — things like income-driven repayment plans or the forgiveness options discussed previously.

Recommended: Private vs. Federal Student Loans

Credit Cards

You can use a credit card to pay for books or other school supplies but your college or university bursar’s office may or may not let you pay for college tuition with a credit card. Speak with the bursar’s office to find out whether it’s possible to pay using a credit card as well as the fees you’ll incur to pay using this method.

Paying for college costs with credit cards carries some added risks. For example, fees from the bursar’s office may outstrip any rewards you earn. It’s also highly likely that you’ll pay more in interest on a credit card than you would with a student loan.

Using a credit card will also disqualify you from the perks of federal student loans — repayment plans, deferment, and the forgiveness programs listed above.

Borrow from Loved Ones

Will a trusted family member or close friend allow you to borrow from them? If so, you could rely on them to lend you money when you need money for school. However, this option can have both positive and negative consequences, the most negative being that you might tarnish your relationship with the individual who loans you the money.

Before you borrow from a loved one, set clear expectations, establish a realistic repayment plan, discuss what happens when you can’t make payments, draw up a formal contract and examine the tax implications for the other party when lending money.

You may also want to suss out the other party’s ability to loan you the money as well. If you think it’ll put the other person in a financial bind, you may want to consider alternative options.

Pay Cash

Do you or your parents have money set aside for you to attend college? This is one of the best ways to pay for college because you don’t have to pay interest on borrowed money. You can tap into money that’s earmarked for college or pull from monthly earnings as well.

The Takeaway

So far, $50,000 student loan forgiveness is not an option available to federal student loan borrowers. There are some options currently available, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which requires borrowers to make 120 qualifying payments while working for an eligible employer — such as one in the nonprofit sector.

If you’re looking for options beyond federal student loans to pay for college, private student loans may be an option to consider. SoFi’s private student loans make paying for your undergraduate or graduate education easier. You can receive up to 100% of school costs, including tuition and food, books, supplies, room and board, and other education expenses for your undergraduate, graduate school, MBA, and/or law school education. Specific undergraduate loans and graduate loans are available from SoFi.

Compare rates for SoFi’s private student loans now.

FAQ

Check out some FAQs for student loan forgiveness $50,000:

Can the President forgive $50,000 student loan debt?

It’s unlikely that President Joe Biden will unilaterally forgive $50,000 of student loan debt for every borrower. In fact, he stated in a town hall in February 2021 that he doesn’t think he “has the authority” to cancel $50,000 per borrower. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also flatly stated that he cannot do it, either.

What are ways to pay off $50,000 in student loan debt?

There are many ways to pay off $50,000 in student loan debt, including paying off student loans one month at a time through monthly payments. However, you can also look into loan forgiveness programs like the ones listed above or income-driven repayment plans. You can also put more money toward your student loans by making more than the required monthly payment each month.

You can target specific loan-payoff methods, including the debt avalanche or debt snowball methods. The debt snowball method means you pay off the lowest amount of money you owe. For example, if you have three student loans, worth $1,000, $2,000, and $3,000, you’d pay off the lowest amount first because you can more quickly pay it off.

The debt avalanche method means you pay off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

It’s also important to remember that student loan forgiveness is not completely free. It’ll affect your taxes. Here’s how:

Let’s say that a federal mandate does materialize and cancels $10,000 worth of student loans. The money from the $10,000 student loan forgiveness program would get added to your taxable income, under what’s called Cancellation of Debt (COD) income. You would also receive Form 1099-C.

When you do your taxes, you’d report $10,000 as COD income and you’d owe based on your individual tax bracket. If you’re in the 22% tax bracket, you’ll pay $2,200 in taxes ($10,000 x 22%).

Do private lenders offer $50,000 student loan forgiveness?

No, private student loan lenders do not offer $50,000 student loan forgiveness but you may be able to explore different payment options with your lender. Talk to your private loan lender if you’re having trouble making your monthly payments.

Student loan lenders want to work with you to give you the best possible options for paying off your loans, but don’t expect to receive $50,000 student loan forgiveness automatically from private lenders.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Photo credit: iStock/fizkes
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Understanding a Student Loan Statement: What It Is & How to Read It

Understanding a Student Loan Statement: What It Is & How to Read It

Your student loan statement gives you all the important information about your student loan. If you took out one or more student loans to help pay for college, knowing how to read your student loan statements can help you manage your student debt and repayment.

What Are Student Loan Statements?

Student loan statements are detailed summaries of your student loan. They provide information such as the last payment received, the current amount due, and where to send payments.

You’ll typically receive your student loan statement from your loan servicer three weeks before payment is due each month. If you have multiple student loans with more than one servicer, you’ll receive a student loan statement from each servicer every month.

Why Is It Important to Know How Much You Owe?

Keeping track of any debt is essential. You’re responsible for your student loan debt and making monthly payments on time until it’s paid off. Even missing one payment could cause you to fall behind.

A missed or late payment on your student loan debt could also hurt your credit. Your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO® credit score, so having late payments in your recent credit history could make it more difficult to be approved for credit cards or other loans.

Missed student loan payments may also incur late fees. Private lenders have their own rules when it comes to late fees and consequences, but they may start adding late fees after a grace period. Private student loans usually go into default as soon as you miss three monthly payments, but some go into default after one missed payment.

If you default on a federal student loan, usually after payment is 270 days past due, the government can collect your debt by withholding money from your wages and your income tax refund and other federal payments.

Where Do I Find My Student Loan Statement?

Your first student loan statement will typically come by mail from your student loan servicer unless you’ve already opted to receive statements online. If you haven’t received your first student loan statement or if you’re not sure, there are ways to find your student loan balance.

Private Student Loans

If you took advantage of private student loan options, you can contact your lender or loan servicer directly and ask them how to get your student loan statements. If the loan servicer has changed, you should have been notified.

You can also try contacting your school’s financial aid office for information about your private student loan and the company that originated your loan.

Another option is to get a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This will give you details on your original lender, whom you can call to find your loan servicer.

Recommended: Guide To Private Student Loans 

Federal Student Loans

If you have federal student loans, there are a few ways to find your student loan statement.

One way is to go to studentaid.gov and log in with your FSA ID (the username and password you used to electronically sign your FAFSA).

You can find your student loan balances, loan servicers, and interest rates on the site.

As with private student loans, you can also contact your school’s financial aid office for more information on your federal student loans.

Recommended: FAFSA Guide

Student Loan Statements

Not all student loan statements look the same, but they generally provide the same key details about your student loan. Knowing how to read your student loan statement is an important step in helping you manage your student loan debt.

Payment Summary

The payment summary shows the current amount due if payment is made by the due date. If you have other amounts due in addition to the current payment, like fees or a past due amount, those will also be shown in the payment summary.

Monthly Payment

The monthly payment will tell you what you are expected to pay, which includes the principal and interest, by the due date. The principal is the amount you borrowed, and the interest is what you’re paying to borrow the money.

Your required payment will be the same each month unless you chose a variable rate for a private student loan or you’re enrolled in a federal income-driven plan.

Recommended: 7 Tips to Lower Your Student Loan Payments

Amortization Schedule

Your student loan repayment follows an student loan amortization schedule. Amortization is the process of paying back an installment loan through regular payments. When a student loan is amortized, it means that your monthly payment is divided into principal and interest payments.

Current Balance

Your current balance is what you owe on the date of the student loan statement. This is the total amount, including principal, interest, and any fees.

Original Balance

Your original balance is the amount that you borrowed before you made any payments toward your student loan.

Interest Rate

The interest rate on your student loan is how much you pay to borrow the funds.

The fixed rate for federal student loans depends on the type of loan. Loans for graduate or professional school run higher than loans for undergraduate study.

Private lenders determine rates for borrowers based on their creditworthiness. They offer undergraduate loans and graduate student loan options.

As you make payments on your student loan, the balance and accrued interest will shrink. Less interest charged means more of your monthly payments are applied to your principal balance.

Managing Your Student Loans

After you know your loan servicer, you can easily manage your student loans. Student loan management may be different depending on whether you have a federal student loan or a student loan from a private lender.

Federal student loans allow you to select a repayment plan. Repayment plans are typically divided into traditional plans and income-driven plans. This allows you a choice: quickly paying off student loan debt to minimize interest charges or lower monthly payments for greater affordability.

You may also defer repayment for a variety of reasons, or if your loan servicer grants forbearance, your monthly payment can be reduced or postponed for a limited amount of time due to financial hardship. You can also consolidate your federal student loans or refinance federal and private student loans, resulting in one monthly payment.

Private lenders may have their own flexible repayment plans. They may offer you the choice of deferring payments, paying interest only, paying your full monthly payment, or making a low fixed payment while you’re still in school.

Should You Refinance or Consolidate to Simplify Repayment?

Combining multiple student loans into a single loan with one monthly bill can simplify your student loan repayment. However, the choice to consolidate student loans vs. refinance depends on your personal situation and your end game.

Federal student loan consolidation combines multiple federal loans into a single loan through the Department of Education. Consolidating federal student loans can also make you eligible for some federal loan repayment programs. Federal consolidation won’t lower your interest rate but does lower your monthly payments by extending the repayment period. (A longer repayment period means more total interest paid over the life of the loan.)

Private lenders offer student loan refinancing — some refinance both federal and private student loans — which means paying off your current loans with one new private student loan, ideally with a lower interest rate.

Ways to Consolidate Student Loans

Consolidating your federal student loans typically involves applying for a Direct Consolidation Loan through the Department of Education at no cost. There are several more options if you want to consolidate your student loans.

Credit Card

It’s possible to consolidate your student loans by using a balance transfer credit card. You could transfer some or all of your student loan debt to a 0% limited-time rate to save on interest.

This can help if you plan to pay off a large amount of your student debt within the 0% period. But regular credit card interest rates tend to be higher than student loan interest rates. If you don’t pay your student loan debt before the end of the introductory period, you may end up paying much more in interest.

Refinance Student Loans

You can also combine multiple student loans into a single new loan by refinancing. This could also lower your interest rate and monthly payments. Private lenders will consider your creditworthiness when determining your eligibility. You might be able to add a cosigner.

Be aware that refinancing federal student loans removes eligibility for income-driven repayment, deferment, and other federal programs, but a lower rate could make it worthwhile for some.

Grants

Grants are another option to pay off student loans and get out of debt faster. Grants are a form of gift aid, and student grants can be found through federal and state government-funded programs as well as nonprofit organizations.

The Takeaway

Your student loan statements give all the details of your debt. If your balance or rate is high, refinancing your student loans may be an option worth considering, to simplify your debt management and potentially lower your interest rate.

SoFi refinances both federal and private student loans. There are no fees, and you can choose a low fixed or variable rate.

Find your rate on student loan refinancing with SoFi. It only takes two minutes.

FAQ

What is a student loan statement?

A student loan statement gives you a detailed breakdown of your loan, including the last payment received, the current amount due, and where to send your payments.

How do I get to my student loan statement?

Federal student loan borrowers can get their student loan statements from their loan servicer. If you don’t know who your loan servicer is, visit your Federal Student Aid account dashboard.

Private student loan borrowers can contact their lender or loan servicer directly to ask for student loan statements. If you’re unsure who your lender is, you can get a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies or contact your school’s financial aid office.

How do I read student loan statements?

Not all student loan statements look the same, but they generally provide the same information. Your student loan statement should give you a payment summary and tell you your monthly payment amount, due date, current and original balance, and interest rate.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended beyond December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since the amount or portion of your federal student debt that you refinance will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave unrefinanced the amount you expect to be forgiven to receive your federal benefit.

CLICK HERE for more information.


Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Photo credit: iStock/Ridofranz
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Cost of Vet School and Tips on How to Pay for Vet School

7 Ways to Pay for Vet School

Enrolling in veterinary school to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree means four years of additional coursework and clinical training beyond your undergraduate degree. The top options for paying for vet school involve accessing money you don’t have to pay back, such as scholarships, grants, and fellowships.

Many vet schools offer these types of awards based on academic achievement, financial need, clinical proficiency, leadership, and more. There are many other ways to pay for vet school in addition to these opportunities, such as through federal and private loans.

Read on to learn more ways on how to pay for vet school.

How Much Does Vet School Typically Cost?

In general, the cost of attendance (including tuition, fees and living expenses) for can vary widely, though is often upwards of $200,000 over for years. The VIN Foundations offers a comparison tool that provides information on vet school costs across the U.S. The cost of vet school can vary based on a number of factors, including whether you choose to attend an in-state vet school or a private school.

Continue reading for strategies to help students pay for veterinary school.

1. Choose an Affordable School

Choosing an affordable school means taking a look at a wide variety of colleges and universities and comparing the costs. Consider all costs involved, including tuition, fees, and living expenses. It’s a good idea to look beyond the sticker price on each school’s website — you may not pay the full sticker price.

Meeting with the financial aid office at each school will give you an idea about the types of financial aid you could potentially receive in order to offset the sticker price. Once you have an idea of the costs as they pertain to you, then you can more accurately compare the costs of vet schools.

When developing your list, consider looking at the list of American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)-accredited schools in the United States. These schools have achieved the highest standards, commitment to quality, and continuous improvement for veterinary medical education.

Recommended: 11 Ways to Make College More Affordable

2. Scholarships

Scholarships are a form of financial aid that you don’t have to pay back. You can find scholarships from vet schools themselves as well as through independent sources.

Colleges and universities often offer scholarships to first year as well as currently enrolled students. For example, Cornell University offers a list of available scholarships on its financial aid website.

Each college and university has a different approach and criteria for awarding scholarships. Contact the financial aid office of the schools on your list to understand the eligibility factors and process that each school uses to award each scholarship. For example, first-year students at the Ohio State University receive scholarships during the admissions process for the first year, while second-, third-, and fourth-year veterinary students must fill out a separate scholarship application.

Outside scholarships may come from any source, including local veterinarian offices, kennel clubs, businesses, and professional organizations. For example, the AMVA-American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AMVF) offers scholarships for first- through third-year students.

Recommended: The Differences Between Grants, Scholarships, and Loans

3. Fellowships

Fellowships and externships for veterinary students usually occur during the summer and often involve research-based and specific career development opportunities. For example, the Ohio State University lists a variety of summer-based internships and externships available for students.

In another example, the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) and the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR) combined to create a three-month summer fellowship which focuses on food security on a global scale as well as sustainable animal production.

Various stipends are available for veterinary fellowships — it’s a matter of finding the right program to meet your goals.

4. Grants

If you receive grants, you typically do not have to pay them back. Grants for college are need-based awards, which means you’ll qualify for them based on the level of your financial need. Withdrawing from school or failing to maintain eligibility for the grant means you may have to refund part or all the grant.

You may qualify for grants your state government , your college or career school, or a private, corporate, or nonprofit organization. Veterinary schools often offer research opportunities for those who demonstrate financial need.

In order to qualify for federal grants, and possibly institutional grants, you’ll need to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). The FAFSA allows students to apply for all forms of federal financial aid, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans.

5. Federal Loans for Health Profession Students

Just like your decision of becoming a vet, making decisions about how to pay for school could last for years after you graduate — in the form of paying off vet school debt.

Loans must be repaid with interest, but there are a wide variety of loans available for veterinary students, including federal student loans. Federal student loans come from the federal government.

Students can borrow up to $20,500 each year in Direct Unsubsidized Loans for veterinary school, up to a cumulative aggregate limit of $138,500. “Unsubsidized” means that the loan begins accruing interest immediately. The aggregate amount includes loans you received for student loans for undergrad.

As mentioned, you must file the FAFSA to qualify for federal loans for veterinary school.

The U.S. Department of Education isn’t the only government entity that offers loans. The Health Professional Student Loan (HPSL) is a need-based loan from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which offers help paying for pharmacy school as well as dentistry, podiatry, optometry, and veterinary loans.

For veterinary program students who apply , these loans come with a 5% interest rate (compared to current Direct Unsubsidized Loans at 5.28% and PLUS loans at 6.28%). The Department of Health and Human Services will consider your parents’ information to award HPSL funds. Interest does not accrue as long as you are enrolled at least half-time and there’s a 12-month grace period available as well.

There are other types of federal loans available. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) that offers up to $25,000 each year to veterinarians who agree to serve for three years in areas where a designated shortage of veterinarians occurs.

6. Graduate PLUS Loans

A Graduate PLUS Loan, also called a Direct PLUS loan, is also available to graduate or professional students enrolled at least half-time who do not have an adverse credit history and meet the general eligibility requirements for federal student aid.

The Graduate PLUS Loan, which can cover the full attendance for veterinary school (minus other aid received, such as scholarships, fellowships, grants, etc.) currently has a fixed interest rate of 6.28% for loans disbursed between July 1, 2021 and before July 1, 2022. Interest begins accruing as soon as your loan is disbursed.

Grad PLUS Loans are eligible for certain federal perks such as deferment programs and the opportunity to apply for loan discharge through programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Recommended: Complete Guide to FAFSA

7. Private Student Loans

Private student loans, which are not offered by the federal government, usually come with a higher interest rate than federal student loans. However, they may have their place in paying for veterinary school, particularly if you need to fill in other gaps between scholarships, federal student loans, grants, and other types of financial aid. It’s a good idea to compare the interest rates, fees, repayment terms, discharge options, and in-school repayment options for various private student loan lenders.

You can apply for a private student loan on a private student loan lender website. You’ll provide certain personal information as well as information about your vet school program, graduation date, and the loan amount you need. Requested personal information may include the following:

•  Social Security number

•  Proof of income

•  Identification, such as a driver’s license or other government-issued ID

•  Financial aid you expect to receive

You must also agree to the lender’s terms and conditions in order to receive the loan. Every student loan lender will have a slightly different process, so follow the steps for the student loan lender you choose.

Private student loans aren’t required to offer the same benefits or perks as federal student loans (things like income-driven repayment plans or Public Service Loan Forgiveness). For this reason, private student loans are generally considered an option after all other resources have been exhausted.

Recommended: How Private Student Loans Work

How Much Can Vets Make?

The 2021 median veterinarian pay was $100,370 per year, or $48.26 per hour. From 2020 to 2030, the profession is projected to grow 17%, much faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It’s a good idea to consider this figure but remember that you may not make that amount right after graduating from vet school — the amount reflected is the median pay of many practicing veterinarians.

The Takeaway

Paying for vet school requires some research. You’ll likely want to research the best “free money” opportunities at various veterinary schools like grants and scholarships in addition to loan options to determine the best combination of how to pay for your graduate school education.

If your vet school doesn’t offer enough financial aid to cover the costs, SoFi may be able to help. SoFi offers flexible private student loan repayment options and a platform to handle them online. You also won’t have to worry about paying for “extras” like origination fees, late fees, or insufficient funds fees.

Learn more about your private student loan options with SoFi.

FAQ

Can you get scholarships for vet school?

Yes, you can get scholarships for vet school, though they vary widely in the amounts you can receive. Scholarships can come from a number of sources, including the institution you attend, professional organizations, kennel clubs, veterinary practices, and even local businesses. You may need to do some research to learn more about the scholarship options available to you and the requirements for each scholarship. Each scholarship carries deadline dates, so carefully mark them on your calendar and turn the applications in well before deadlines.

Can FAFSA be used for vet school?

Yes, you can file the FAFSA for vet school. In fact, you must file the FAFSA if you want to qualify for federal student aid, which includes federal student loans, grants, and some institutional scholarships. One of the best ways to understand more about your eligibility for federal student loans involves talking to multiple financial aid offices of the vet schools on your list.

How much can veterinarians expect to make?

In 2021, the median veterinarian pay was $100,370 per year, which equates to $48.26 per hour. However, it’s worth noting that the median pay may not reflect the amount you may earn as soon as you graduate.


Photo credit: iStock/herraez

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Bank, N.A. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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