How Do I Get My Student Loan Tax Form?

What Is a Student Loan Tax Form? How Do You Get One?

If you’re a borrower who paid interest on a qualified student loan, it’s possible to deduct some or all of that interest on your federal income tax return with a special tax form for student loans.

To do so, you’ll need to acquire a student loan tax form commonly known as IRS Form 1098-E. You can use this form to report how much you paid in student loan interest. One copy will go to the IRS, and you’ll keep the other.

To learn how to get your hands on your student loan tax form, when to deduct student loan interest and how to file a student tax form, keep reading.

What Are the Tax Forms for Student Loans?

The IRS Form 1098-E is a tax form for student loans that’s sent out by your loan servicer, or the company that collects your student loan payments. Sometimes, your lender services their own loans. Other times, they hire an outside service to collect their payments for them.

The loan servicer is required to send borrowers a 1098-E to complete their taxes if the borrower owes at least $600 in student loan interest. Typically, they’ll get them out by the end of January, since the interest forms for student loans and tax season coincide.

If you have more than one loan servicer, you’ll receive a 1098-E form from each.

The Purpose of a Student Tax Form

The student loan tax form is designed to give people with student loan debt the opportunity to deduct some or potentially all of the interest the debt accrues on their federal income tax return.

If you paid at least $600 in interest on a qualified student loan, the lender you paid that interest to should send you a 1098-E. Regardless of how many student loans you have, the $600 threshold still applies.

Recommended: What is the Average Student Loan Debt After College?

Uses of a Student Loan Tax Form

The student loan tax form is used to calculate your student tax interest deduction on your tax return.

As long as you meet certain conditions, you may be eligible to deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest from your taxable income:

•   You are filing separately and/or not married

•   Your income is below the annual limit

•   You are legally obligated to pay the interest, not someone else

•   If you’re filing a joint return, neither you nor your spouse is being claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return

The eligibility for the student loan interest deduction is determined based on a borrower’s modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), or their adjusted gross income (AGI) after factoring in any tax penalties incurred and allowable deductions. At a certain higher income bracket, the deduction is reduced or eliminated.

•   For taxpayers filing as single: The deduction is reduced once they have $75,000 of modified AGI and it’s eliminated at $90,000.

•   For taxpayers filing jointly: The deduction is reduced at $150,000 of modified AGI and it’s eliminated at $180,000.

Getting Your Student Tax Form

To obtain your college student tax form and ensure you aren’t missing any tax documents this season, there are a few steps you can take:

1.    Go directly to your loan servicer ’s website, where a downloadable 1098-E form will likely be available.

2.    Contact your loan servicer via telephone if you’re unable to visit their website.

3.    If you don’t know who your loan servicer is, visit StudentAid.gov or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID, then complete steps 1 and 2.

Finally, note that student tuition tax form 1098-E is not available for download through the Federal Student Aid website .

There are plenty of useful tools on the site to get you where you need to go, but, ultimately, you can’t download your student loan tax form directly from the website.

If you have private student loans, contact your lender directly.

Recommended: What Is IRS Form 1098?

Filling Out a Student Loan Interest Tax Form

When it comes to filling out a college student loan tax form, the IRS provides detailed instructions for the 2023 tax season to help financial, educational, and governmental institutions and borrowers cover all their bases.

At the most basic level, according to the IRS , if a loan servicer receives student loan interest of $600 or more from an individual during the year in the course of their trade or business, they must:

•   File a 1098-E form and;

•   Provide a statement or acceptable substitute, on paper or electronically, to the borrower

There are two boxes on the 1098-E form:

•   Box 1 is the amount of student loan interest received by the lender. It’s important to note, this figure represents interest paid, not loan payments made.

•   Box 2, if checked, denotes the fact that the amount in Box 1 does not include loan origination fees and/or capitalized interest for loans made before September 1, 2004.

Once you receive the 1098-E form, it’s up to you to include it when you file your taxes.

When to Deduct Student Loan Interest?

Student loan interest tax deduction is a type of federal income tax deduction that lets student loan borrowers deduct up to $2,500 of the interest paid on qualified student loans from their taxable income. It’s one of many tax breaks available to students and their parents to help them pay for college.

To know when to deduct student loan interest, it’s important to know if you meet the necessary qualifications:

•   Your student loan was taken out for the taxpayer (you), your spouse, or your dependent(s).

•   Your student loan was taken out when you were enrolled at least half-time in an academic program that led to a degree, certificate, or recognized credential.

•   Your student loan was used for qualifying education expenses such as tuition, textbooks, supplies, fees, or equipment (not including room and board, insurance, or transportation).

•   Your student loan was used within a “reasonable period of time,” and its proceeds were disbursed 90 days before the beginning of the academic period in which they were used or 90 days after it ended.

•   The college or school where you were enrolled is considered an eligible institution that participates in student aid programs managed by the U.S. Department of Education.

Do International Students Have a Different Tax Form?

For international students, it’s possible to deduct student loan interest from a foreign country, as long as their student loan is qualified (meeting the requirements listed above) and they’re legally obligated to make student loan payments on that loan.

There’s no need for international students to acquire a special international student tax form, however. The year-end financial statement from their loan servicer is typically sufficient enough proof for them to claim the student loan interest.

The Takeaway

If you paid interest on a qualified student loan for yourself or a dependent, you can likely deduct that interest on this year’s tax return. Once you’ve determined when and whether you’re able to deduct student loan interest and how to file a student loan interest form, you can simply wait for your loan servicer to send along a copy of your 1098-E or visit their website.

When you work with a private student loan lender like SoFi, you can access your 1098-E online, making it even easier to file your taxes and deduct student loan interest without waiting by your mailbox.

Photo credit: iStock/FG Trade


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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-criteria 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.


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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What Is the Dean’s List?

What Is the Dean’s List? Typical Dean’s List Requirements & Benefits

The dean’s list is a list of undergraduate students recognized for outstanding academic achievement in a given semester, quarter, or year. Each college and university has different dean’s list requirements, but students who finish the term with a high grade point average (GPA) and are in the top percentile of their class for academic performance can earn a spot on the dean’s list.

Not only is having the dean’s list award on your transcript a remarkable personal achievement, but it could also make a big impact on grad school admissions and future employers.

Dean’s List Meaning

The dean’s list is a scholarly award for undergraduate students who achieved high scholastic standing during the academic year. The award is released after each semester, quarter, or academic year and is typically based on a student’s GPA. However, specific dean’s list requirements will vary by institution and can change each term.

Dean’s List Requirements

Dean’s list requirements vary by college and can change each term, but there are typical conditions that a student must meet. To meet basic dean’s list requirements, students must:

•   Meet the minimum GPA requirements set by the school.

•   Be in the top percentile of their class for academic achievement.

•   Be taking a minimum number of credit hours. Most schools require students to be enrolled full-time, but some schools may include part-time students in the dean’s list.

•   Have zero incompletes, no shows, or late grades.

What GPA Is Needed to Make the Dean’s List?

While schools may base eligibility for the dean’s list on the student’s GPA, the award is comparative rather than absolute. The award is only given to the top percentile of students rather than everyone who earns a certain GPA. This means that the required GPA can change each semester based on the academic performance of the student body.

Students can strive for a GPA of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale and be taking a minimum of 12 credit hours, but this may be different depending on your school and your degree program. Check with your school to determine the minimum GPA requirement to make the dean’s list.

Recommended: How Much Does GPA Matter When Applying to College?

What Is the Benefit of Being on the Dean’s List?

Earning a spot on the dean’s list is one of the highest levels of recognition for academic achievement. Students who earn the award can enjoy a variety of benefits that can continue throughout their educational career and beyond.

Personal Achievement

Making it onto the dean’s list requires academic commitment and dedication. Being on the dean’s list means you’ve ranked in the top percentile amongst your peers, which will be noted on your school record and should be seen as a great personal achievement.

Prestige

Having your name on the dean’s list, especially for multiple terms, is one way to help you stand out from the crowd. The dean’s list award is a testament to your academic success and has traditionally been looked upon favorably by the school’s administration as well as by other students.

Recognition

Some schools recognize students who made it onto the dean’s list by posting students’ names on the school website and sometimes local publications. Outstanding academic performance can also help you build relationships with your professors, who may be able to write letters of recommendation and references later on.

Special Events

Because your GPA is ranked among the top of your class, you might receive invitations to special events. These are typically networking events with top company executives. Networking can allow you to form connections with other people in your field of study and open the door to possible employment opportunities.

Attract Prospective Employers

Some colleges may include your dean’s list award on your school transcript, and you can also attract potential employers by mentioning this award on your resume. However, employment website Indeed doesn’t recommend adding this achievement to your resume if you were only on the dean’s list for one or two semesters or inconsistently.

Even if you don’t include the dean’s list on your resume, prospective employers may still consider your GPA when making hiring decisions. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2022 Spring Update report, 43.5% of employers screen by GPA when making interviewing and hiring decisions.

Scholarships

While being on the dean’s list doesn’t guarantee any financial aid, a high GPA could make you eligible for merit scholarships. Merit-based scholarships typically use your GPA, test scores, leadership capabilities, and other factors to determine your eligibility.

Are There Any Student Loan Benefits When Getting on the Dean’s List?

There usually aren’t any financial perks for getting on the dean’s list with federal student loans or most private lenders. Some private lenders may offer a reward for a certain GPA, but most lenders typically only consider your GPA if it’s too low.

Your GPA could affect your eligibility for other types of financial aid, like scholarships and grants, though. You’re required to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to meet the basic eligibility criteria for certain types of financial aid. A higher GPA also makes it easier for you to receive more financial aid.


💡 Quick Tip: You can fund your education with a low-rate, no-fee private student loan that covers all school-certified costs.

What Other Academic Awards Can You Earn in College?

The dean’s list isn’t the only academic award that you can earn in college. There are several other awards that are given to students in recognition of outstanding achievement and as a means to further encourage academic excellence. Here are a few academic awards for college students.

The Honors List

The honors list is similar to the dean’s list; however, it may have different GPA requirements — usually lower. For example, students may be eligible for a spot on the dean’s list if their GPA is 3.5 or higher, while students on the honors list have a GPA between 3.25 and 3.5.

The President’s List

Undergraduate students earn the president’s list award if they get straight A’s in college and earn a 4.0 GPA. Part-time and full-time students may be eligible for this award.

The Chancellor’s List

At schools that offer this award, the chancellor’s list is typically ranked slightly higher than the dean’s list. Both full-time and part-time undergraduate students may usually qualify for the chancellor’s list.

Ways to Pay for College

If you’re aiming to see your name on the dean’s list, financial stress can hinder your ability to succeed academically. According to Inside Higher Ed, 48% of students who experienced financial challenges while in school admitted they had difficulties focusing on their academics.

Luckily, there are options out there for prospective and current students who are struggling with how to pay for college. Here are a few options:

•   Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) to see if you qualify for financial aid. Make sure to read our FAFSA Guide and fill this out as soon as possible because many colleges award money on a first-come, first-served basis.

•   Search for scholarships, which are a form of merit aid to help pay for tuition and other education expenses. There are thousands of available scholarships to students with some even offering a full-ride to a four-year institution.

•   Apply for grants. Grants are another form of financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. Students can apply for federal, state, or school grants.

•   Find a work-study position. The federal work-study program offers funds for part-time employment to help college students in financial need.

•   Look at student loans. If you are still struggling to afford school-related expenses after exhausting all other forms of financial aid, there are a variety of federal and private student loan options to help.

Recommended: FAFSA 101: How to Complete the FAFSA

The Takeaway

Students who make the dean’s list are recognized for outstanding academic achievement. Benefits include personal achievement, prestige, public recognition, the opportunity to attend special events, being granted scholarships, and standing out on job applications.

And, students who are less stressed financially tend to do better in school. Options for paying for college include scholarships, grants, federal student loans, and private student loans.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.


Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.

FAQ

What GPA is required to get on the dean’s list?

The minimum GPA for the dean’s list varies by school and it can change every term. However, most schools require at least a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale.

What does it mean when you get on the dean’s list?

What it means to be on the dean’s list is that you’ve ranked in the top percentile of your class. The dean’s list is one of the highest levels of recognition for scholarly achievement.

What is the benefit of being on the dean’s list?

Earning a spot on the dean’s list comes with several benefits. Not only is it a prestigious award and a significant personal achievement, but you could be invited to special events, network with others in your field of study, and attract prospective employers.


Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio

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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-criteria 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.


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.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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.

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9 Top Online MBA Programs

9 Top Online MBA Programs

If you’re interested in earning a master’s degree in business administration, an MBA program that is partially or totally online might suit your needs. These programs can give you the flexibility you need (in terms of the time you have available for your education, your geographic location, and your finances) to get the graduate diploma you’re seeking.

An MBA can unlock a fascinating and lucrative career path, but not everyone can turn up on a campus full-time for a couple of years. So in this guide, you’ll explore the top online MBA programs available. Equipped with this information, you can then move ahead with your plans, accommodating your particular set of needs and wants.

What Is an MBA Program?

MBA programs offer master’s degree level courses in a variety of business-related content, including economics, finance, marketing, accounting, entrepreneurship, and statistics. Many provide hands-on learning through capstones or client projects, and some also offer the opportunity to study abroad.

There are many types of MBA programs, just as there are many undergrad majors. Some details:

•   There are in-person one- or two-year programs as well as partially and fully online MBA programs.

•   In terms of e-learning opportunities, some programs are 100% online, while others require you to attend classes on the weekend once a month or so. Your willingness and ability to travel, if necessary, should be a part of which format you choose for your MBA studies.

•   There are also executive MBA programs, which are geared toward working professionals with a bit more professional experience than the average undergrad.

You can pay for an MBA program in several ways: paying out of pocket, taking out a student loan for your MBA, securing scholarships, or a combination of these.


💡 Quick Tip: Ready to refinance your student loan? You could save thousands.

What Are the Benefits of an MBA Program?

You may wonder whether getting an MBA is worth the investment. Generally, studying topics like management, marketing, or finance can help make you a more knowledgeable employee, which may help you secure a job or a promotion in one of these fields.

And having a master’s degree can potentially make you more appealing to employers, helping you stand out from the sea of applicants. The degree may also help increase earning potential, which can be a good thing since you may have to finance your degree.

The top online MBA programs may also present networking opportunities, whether virtual or in-person, that can connect you with others in your field as well as employers looking to hire MBAs from your university.

Choosing the Best Online MBA Program for You

The program you ultimately choose will depend on factors like:

•   How much do you want to spend?

•   Are you willing to be on campus for classes occasionally?

•   What concentration are you interested in?

•   How quickly do you want to complete your coursework?

Each of the MBA programs on this list is ranked highly, but the choice will be personal based on your own criteria. Spend time speaking with admissions reps at each of the schools you’re interested in, as well as talking to grads to understand their experience.

Recommended: Which Debt to Pay Off First: Student Loan or Credit Card?

Top Online MBA Programs to Consider

What defines an MBA program as being one of the top online business schools will vary depending on your criteria. To give you a place to start, here are some of the top online MBA programs in several categories, culled from online reviews, ratings, and other lists.

Top Affordable Online MBA Programs

Online MBA programs can get fairly expensive. Consider an affordable MBA program with a smaller price tag, such as these three highly rated options.

Louisiana Tech University

This university, located near Ruston, Louisiana, has one of the best rated affordable MBA programs in the country, and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Courses can be taken wholly online, and the degree requires 30 credits. Its MBA program has been ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report.

Total tuition: $14,250

University of Texas Permian Basin

Another award-winning online MBA program comes from the University of Texas Permian Basin. This program is accredited, affordable, and ranks highly for services and technologies, as well as being a good option for military veterans. Between 30 and 36 credits are typically required.

Total tuition: $11,729.70 -14,075.64

Fitchburg State University

This Massachusetts-based program requires 30 credits and presents the same learning as in-person classes in the online studies, which are recorded and archived. The business administration-focused course doesn’t require graduate exam results with the application.

Total tuition: $13,080

Top Executive Online MBA Programs

If you’ve been in the workforce for several years and are looking to move up in your career, an executive online MBA program could be a good fit, as it’s typically flexible in how and when you do your coursework so it doesn’t interfere with your job. That said, these programs can be significant investments of time and money, with some programs approaching or topping the $200K mark. So research your financing options for graduate school as you determine your next steps. What follows are affordable options.

Washington State University

WSU’s Carson College of Business offers an EMBA that can be completed in as little as 16 months. This program offers perks like an option for international field study in a seven-day overseas program, an annual Leadership Conference, and professional coaching.

Total tuition: $57,162

Texas Southern University

Texas Southern University offers an online executive MBA program; it can be completed in 24 months. It has received recognition both for its reasonable costs and its academic excellence. Since it’s online, you can fit it in around your professional and personal obligations. While the degree can allow for growth in a variety of fields, there can be an emphasis on the energy sector.

Total tuition: $36,000

Southeastern Louisiana University

If you’re interested in combining online executive MBA curriculum with in-person learning, Southeastern Louisiana University offers that balance in its 17-month program. The program is 40% online and 60% face-to-face, with classes on Saturdays only. The program offers three options: general MBA with accounting and financing electives, general MBA with business electives, or MBA with a healthcare concentration. The MBA program has small classes, and is accredited by the AACSB.

Total tuition: $20,676

Top Overall Online MBA Programs

Maybe you just completed your undergraduate degree and want to move straight into your MBA program, and you’re looking for the cream of the crop. Here are some of the top online MBA programs for you to consider.

Yes, they may be more expensive than other options, but exploring scholarships, grants, and loans can help you afford this degree.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business offers several different MBA programs, including full-time, online, executive, professional flex, and fast-track. The program offers diverse concentrations, including business data analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, and international business. The online MBA has been rated a top-ten program by U.S. News & World Reports.

Total tuition: $66,266

Pennsylvania State World Campus

PennState’s World Campus’ Smeal College of Business offers flexibility in how you build your personal MBA program. There are 20 possible concentrations with the program, including advanced accounting, international affairs, and strategic leadership. There is a three-day residency to kick off the program in person, as well as other sessions throughout.

Total tuition: $59,904

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business offers a highly-recognized Executive Master of Business Administration degree. It’s designed to accelerate the careers of high-performing professionals. The program, which covers the same learning as the on-campus courses, has been recognized as a top-ten option by U.S. News & World Report.

Total tuition: $78,000

The Takeaway

Online MBA programs can be one way for students to gain skills desirable for a future career in business. They can offer more flexibility than traditional in-person MBA programs because lectures can generally be viewed on the student’s schedule.

But even paying for an online program can be costly. Some students may turn to student loans to finance all or a portion of the cost of tuition.

Some students may find that later refinancing their loans can help make their education costs more manageable. However, it’s worth noting that when you refinance federal loans with private loans, you forfeit federal benefits and protections. In addition, if you refinance for an extended term, you may pay more in interest over the life of the loan. For these reasons, it’s wise to think carefully to uncover the best fit for your debt repayment.

Looking to lower your monthly student loan payment? Refinancing may be one way to do it — by extending your loan term, getting a lower interest rate than what you currently have, or both. (Please note that refinancing federal loans makes them ineligible for federal forgiveness and protections. Also, lengthening your loan term may mean paying more in interest over the life of the loan.) SoFi student loan refinancing offers flexible terms that fit your budget.

With SoFi, refinancing is fast, easy, and all online. We offer competitive fixed and variable rates.


Photo credit: iStock/Miljan Živković

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If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


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Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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.

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.

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College Visit Checklist for Parents

College visits can be an important part of the school selection process, as parents and high schoolers tour campuses of interest. These visits provide a glimpse of the campus grounds, dorms, classrooms, and more, which can be vital info when deciding whether a school is a good fit or not. Also, the tours are typically led by current students who have insights about what life at the college is like.

But what exactly should you, as a parent, look for? What questions should you ask? The checklist that follows can help you get the most out of the experience.

How to Visit Colleges on Your Lists

Sometimes, students visit college campuses to decide whether or not to apply there. In other cases, they already believe that a particular college is a perfect match for their major and they want to investigate further.

Schedule Visits Strategically

Perhaps your child has applied to — or is interested in applying to — eight colleges. At a basic level, you’ll want to make sure you have enough time to visit a good number of them. How far they are located from your home and from each other will help to dictate how much time these visits will take. As part of this scheduling, you might ask yourself these questions:

•   Which of these campuses are most important to visit? Prioritize appropriately.

•   Which of these colleges are located near (or relatively close to) one another?

•   Do I want to have an informal visit, or do I want to be part of an official open house? If the latter, check as early as possible to see when these events are being held. Are there scheduling conflicts?

•   How much time will each visit take?

•   How can I space out these visits so we can be efficient without rushing through them?

•   What is most important to see and do during each visit?

Pro tip: Once you know that you’ll be visiting a college, you can review its website and social media pages to gather intelligence ahead of time and gain key context.

When Do Virtual College Visits Make Sense?

Perhaps, as just one example, there is a college that is more challenging to visit than others on your list. Maybe it’s a significant distance from your home, or perhaps you have scheduling conflicts or financial pressure that means an in-person visit isn’t looking realistic. In that case, consider going on a virtual tour.

By doing so, you may discover that this college isn’t as appealing as you’d originally thought (which might cause it to drop on your priority list) or it may make you realize that, yes, you need to make a physical tour happen.

One option is to check the college admissions website. You may be surprised to see how many have interactive video tours available.

As a related resource, YouTube has plenty of videos if you search for such terms as “college tours,” “college tour TV,” and other similar words.

Another idea for gaining information without setting foot on campus: You can use the Rate My Professors tool, too, to find information about who teaches at a particular school, noting that ratings are subjective and can be used, as just one example, by students who aren’t happy with grades received.


💡 Quick Tip: Parents and sponsors with strong credit and income may find much lower rates on no-fee private parent student loans than federal parent PLUS loans. Federal PLUS loans also come with an origination fee.

What to Bring to a College Visit

During college visits, you’ll likely be flooded with information and visual impressions, plus with thoughts, ideas, conversations, and more. So, it makes sense to bring something to help you capture all of this information to review later, as needed.

In this quest, your smartphone can be a real asset. You can use it to take pictures of intriguing places on campus or to remind you to ask questions about it. Take videos in the same way and/or record explanations given by college officials.

And, wonderful as technological devices are, don’t forget to bring old-fashioned pen and paper. You might also want to bring along a college visit planner, one where you can list crucial dates and deadlines.

Depending upon how long you’ll stay, make sure you bring enough comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing — and, perhaps most important of all, comfy shoes! You may be doing a whole lot of walking.

Also consider if you will need an umbrella. Or a warmer coat than what you would wear at home. Do you need gloves? Or will it be sunny and warm, requiring sunglasses and sunscreen? You’ll want to have these things on hand to make the visit as comfortable as possible. After all, you’re there to give your full attention to the tour, not your cold hands or soaked shoes.

Pro tip: Depending on your relationship with your child, you may want to take separate tours. You kid can go on one tour group and absorb information without your commentary swaying their opinion or without being embarrassed if you ask a lot of questions. Then you can compare notes after you’ve each seen the campus.

Key Questions to Ask

At some point during the tour, you’ll almost certainly be shown student housing options. Now is the time to ask about the range of dorm choices, how many students live on campus, what percentage of students live on campus versus off-campus, what apartment options exist for, say, juniors and seniors — and any other questions you or your child have about housing.

Other questions to consider:

•   How safe is this campus and the surrounding area?

•   What kind of security do you have?

•   What activities are available for students?

•   Who is allowed to have a car?

•   Where can they park?

•   What transportation options are available for students without a car?

What other questions to ask on a college tour? You can also ask about academics, ranging from sizes of classes, the use of teaching assistants, how much homework is assigned and how much time it typically takes to complete assignments, and more. How easy is it for students to get the classes they need? Is there an honors program? What kind of tutoring services are available?

You might also be curious about the following:

•   What college internship opportunities are available? How easy are they to obtain?

•   How many students study abroad? What opportunities are available?

•   What career services do you offer?

Recommended: What Can You Use Student Loans For?

Financial Issues to Explore

Of course, paying for college is often a key concern. This is an ideal time to get information about typical financial aid packages offered at each college. You might ask some questions of your tour guide or attend a financial aid session to inquire about:

•   What financial aid package can a typical freshman expect to receive at the college?

•   What mix of scholarships, grants, and loans can be expected, on average?

•   What work-study opportunities exist and how easy is it for a student to qualify?

•   If there is scholarship money set aside at a college for students, what are its parameters? Some, for example, may be set aside for female students or minority students.

•   What aid is available after freshman year?

•   Are enough classes offered at flexible times to help students graduate in under four years (and therefore potentially save significant sums of money)?

•   If your child doesn’t qualify for federal work-study, what other jobs are typically available on campus? Off-campus?


💡 Quick Tip: Parents and sponsors with strong credit and income may find much lower rates on no-fee private parent student loans than federal parent PLUS loans. Federal PLUS loans also come with an origination fee.

Financing College

It isn’t unusual for students to need to borrow money to pay for their education. Scholarships and grants are available to help qualified students reduce college expenses and, sometimes, parents may help their children out financially.

Students can get jobs while in college and use their savings to help pay expenses, of course. But if that isn’t enough, many students typically end up borrowing money, with the two main sources being federal student loans (from the government) and private student loans (from private lenders).

To qualify for federal funding, you and your child must fill out the FAFSA®. It can be wise to explore all federal aid options before turning to private student loans.

Recommended: Guide to Parent Student Loans

Parent Student Loans With SoFi

If private loans seem to be a potential path for you, see what SoFi offers. Parents should consider their own financial situation and needs (like retirement) as they consider such options as borrowing a parent student loan.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.

Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.


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-criteria 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.


Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

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.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

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.

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Can You Go to Jail for Not Paying Student Loans?

Can You Go to Jail for Not Paying Student Loans?

Staying on top of student loans and other financial obligations can be challenging. If you’re having trouble making monthly payments, or you’re concerned about how you’ll repay your loans down the road, you might be wondering what happens if you don’t pay your debt.

While you cannot be arrested or put in jail for failing to pay your student loans, there are repercussions for missing student loan payments, including damage to your credit and wage garnishment.

Here’s a look at the potential legal and financial consequences of not paying debt, as well as tips for tackling student loan debt after you graduate.

Going to Jail for Debt

No matter how much or what type of outstanding debt you have, a debt collector cannot threaten to or have you arrested for that unpaid debt. Doing so is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and would be considered harassment.

A lender can, however, file a lawsuit against you to collect on an outstanding debt. If the court orders you to appear or to provide certain information, but you don’t comply, a judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. A judge can also issue a warrant for your arrest if you don’t comply with a court-ordered installment plan (such as child support).

Bottom line: You never want to ignore a court order, since doing could result in an arrest and, potentially, jail time.


💡 Quick Tip: Pay down your student loans faster with SoFi reward points you earn along the way.

Can You Go to Jail for Not Paying Student Loans?

No, you can’t be arrested or put in prison for not making payments on student loan debt. The police won’t come after you if you miss a payment. While you can be sued over defaulted student loans, this would be a civil case — not a criminal one. As a result, you don’t have to worry about doing any jail time if you lose.

As mentioned above, however, ignoring an order to appear in court could result in an arrest. And, unless you want to deal with a long, messy legal process and added expenses on top of your debt (in the form of attorney and court fees), it’s in your best interest to do whatever you can to avoid defaulting on your student loans.

Statute of Limitations on Debt

In terms of debt collection, the statute of limitations refers to the amount of time that creditors have to sue borrowers for debt that’s past due.

Federal student loans don’t have a statute of limitations. This means that federal loan servicers can collect your remaining student loan balance at any point. Keep in mind that the federal government doesn’t have to sue you to start garnishing wages, tax refunds, and Social Security checks.

For other types of debt, including private student loans, many states have statutes of limitations between three and six years, but some may be longer. The timeframe can vary based on the type of debt and the state law named in your credit agreement.

If you’re sued by a debt collector and the debt is too old, you may have a defense to the lawsuit. You may also have a claim against the collector for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which prohibits suing or threatening to sue for a debt that is past the statute of limitations.

Recommended: Private Student Loans vs Federal Student Loans

What Are the Consequences of Not Paying Off Student Loan Debt?

The consequences of not paying your student loan debt differ depending on what type of student loans you have.

Federal Student Loans

Typically, with federal student loans, the loan becomes delinquent the first day after a payment is missed. If you don’t make a payment within 90 days, your loan servicer will report the delinquency to the three national credit bureaus.

If you don’t make a payment for 270 days (roughly nine months), the loan will go into default. A default can cause long-term damage to your credit score. You may also see your federal tax refund withheld or some of your wages garnished.

Once your federal student loan is in default, you can no longer receive deferment or forbearance or any additional federal student aid. Plus, you’re no longer eligible for an income-driven repayment plan, and your lender can sue you for the money you owe.

If, however, you had student loans that were on the pandemic-related pause, there is good news: Until September 30, 2024, borrowers who miss making payments on their federal student loans won’t be penalized in the ways described above. The Biden administration is providing a 12-month “on-ramp period,” during which a borrower won’t be reported as being in default to the national credit agencies. Interest will still accrue, though, so you’re not completely off the hook.

Private Student Loans

If you don’t pay private student loans, the consequences will depend on the lender. Generally, however, this is what happens: As soon as you miss a payment, your loan will be considered delinquent. You’ll get hit with a late fee and, after 30 days, your lender can report your delinquency to major credit agencies.

After 90 days, your loan will typically go into default. At that point, your loan may be sold to a collections company. Your (and any cosigner’s) credit score will also take a hit. In addition, your lender can sue you for the money you owe. They may also be able to get a court order to garnish your wages. However, they can’t take any money from your tax refunds or Social Security checks.

Tips for Getting Out of Student Loan Debt

You won’t go to jail for not paying back your student loans, but you can still face some significant consequences for missing payments. Here are some ways to stay (or get back) on track.

1. Set up a Budget

It can be hard to manage your finances without a plan. Creating a monthly budget is a helpful way to keep your spending in check and make sure you have enough money for your loan payments. Once you write down everything you’re spending on each month, you may find some easy places to cut back, such as getting rid of streaming services you rarely watch or spending less on takeout and afternoon coffees. Any money you free up can then go towards loan repayment.

2. Increase Cash Flow

Reining in your spending with a budget is a good place to start, but it may not be enough for getting out of debt. Having some extra cash on hand can help manage debt payments and offer some breathing room within your monthly budget.

To boost your income, you might consider taking on more hours at your current job, getting some freelance work, or picking up a side gig (such as food delivery, dog walking, or babysitting). You don’t have to do this forever — just until your student debt is paid off, or at least well under control.

3. Create a Debt Reduction Plan

If you have multiple debts, it’s a good idea to take an inventory of everything you owe and then set up a comprehensive debt reduction plan.

A popular system is the avalanche method, which calls for putting any extra cash toward the debt with the highest interest rate while making minimum payments on other balances. When that debt is paid off, you put your extra money towards the debt with the next-highest interest rate, and so on.

Another option is the snowball method, which focuses on ticking off debts in order of size, starting with the smallest debt balance, while still taking care of minimum payments on other debt.

4. Apply for an Income-Based Repayment Plan

If you have federal student loans, there are four income-driven repayment plans you can apply for to make your monthly payments more manageable. These include:

•   Saving on a Valuable Education Plan (SAVE; replacing Revised Pay As You Earn)

•   Pay As You Earn

•   Income-Based Repayment Plan

•   Income-Contingent Repayment Plan

Monthly payments are a percentage of your discretionary income, usually 10% or 20%. What’s more, all four plans forgive any remaining balance at the end of the 20- or 25-year repayment period. Note that in some situations, you may be required to pay taxes on the forgiven amount, according to IRS rules.

5. Find Another Repayment Plan

Besides income-based repayment, borrowers can explore a variety of other federal repayment plans to help pay off debt. For example, the graduated repayment plan helps recent college grads find their financial footing by setting smaller monthly payments at first before increasing every two years.

Some private lenders also offer a choice of different repayment options.

6. Look Into Forgiveness Programs

The federal government offers student loan forgiveness to borrowers who meet certain eligibility criteria, such as working in a certain profession, having a permanent disability, or after making payments for a certain amount of time on an income-driven repayment plan. Similar programs are available at the state-level across the country, and generally base eligibility on specific professions or financial hardship.

The Rural Iowa Primary Care Loan Repayment Program, for instance, provides up to $200,000 toward repaying eligible student loans for doctors who commit to working five years in designated locations.

The NYS Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program, on the other hand, offers up to 24 months of debt relief to recent graduates in New York who are participating in a federal income-driven repayment plan.

7. Ask About Employer Tuition Reimbursement Programs

Besides health insurance and a 401(k), your employer may provide other benefits, including tuition reimbursement programs, to support and retain their employees.

Often, these programs are focused on annual tuition expenses that employees incur while studying and working concurrently. Still, employers may offer to contribute to student loan payments as well.


💡 Quick Tip: Master’s degree or graduate certificate? Private or federal student loans can smooth the path to either goal.

8. Explore Refinancing Your Student Loans

Student loan refinancing could help you save interest and make your monthly payments easier to manage. Generally, though, refinancing only makes sense if you can qualify for a lower interest rate.

Refinancing involves taking out a new loan with a private lender and using it to pay off your existing federal or private student loans. You can often shop around and “browse rates” without any impact to your credit scores (prequalifying typically involves a soft credit check). Just keep in mind that refinancing federal loans with a private lender means losing access to government protections like income-driven repayment plans, student loan forgiveness programs, and deferment and forbearance.

Also know that lenders typically require your loans to be in good standing before approving a refinance. That means you generally can’t refinance a student loan in default. You can, however, consider refinancing after recovering from a student loan default.

The Takeaway

Although you won’t go to jail for failing to pay your student loans, there are a number of negative consequences, like late fees, a damaged credit score, wage garnishment, and even being taken to court. The current “on ramp” to repayment of federal student loans, however, removes these consequences until September 30, 2024.

Whatever type of student loan you have, you can help the road to repayment go smoothly by setting up a budget that makes room for monthly loan payments, picking a repayment plan that fits your needs and budget, and investigating forgiveness options.

Finding a student loan with a competitive interest rate and flexible repayment terms can help avoid the stress and repercussions of not paying student loans down the line.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.


Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.

FAQ

Do student loans go away after 7 years?

No, student loans won’t disappear after seven years. Negative information about your student loans (such as late payments or defaulting on a loan) will be removed from your credit report after seven years, but the loans themselves will stay on your reports until you pay them off or have them forgiven.

Many states have statutes of limitations of between three and six years to prevent creditors and debt collectors from using legal action to collect on older debts. However, federal student loans don’t have a statute of limitations.

How long before student loans are forgiven?

The Public Service Forgiveness Program requires making the equivalent of 120 qualifying monthly payments under an accepted repayment plan (while working full-time for an eligible employer) for student loan forgiveness. With an income-based repayment plan, you need to make payments for 20 to 25 years to have the remaining balance forgiven. State programs may offer more rapid repayment assistance and forgiveness.

Can student loans seize bank accounts?

Yes, but not right away. If you have federal student loans, your wages or bank accounts can be garnished only if you have officially defaulted on your loans (i.e., you haven’t made a payment for at least 270 days). The government does not need a court order or judgment to garnish your wages.

If you default on a private student loan, your creditor must first sue you to obtain a judgment and submit a court order to your employer before your wages can be garnished.


Photo credit: iStock/shadrin_andrey

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-criteria 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.


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.

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.

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