How to Deposit Cash at an ATM

How To Deposit Cash at an ATM

Can you deposit cash at an ATM? The answer depends on your bank, the ATM you’re using, and a variety of other factors — but generally speaking, yes, you can make cash or check deposits at many modern ATM terminals.

For most customers, though, depositing money at an ATM isn’t the only option — or even necessarily the most convenient. Still, it’s a good system to understand if you’re someone who regularly deals with cash payments and you’d like to use those monies to pay for things like utility bills, which can be inconvenient to pay in cash.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of making an ATM cash deposit, as well as highlighting potential problems with doing so and alternatives that may work better for some customers.

How to Make ATM Deposits

In order to deposit cash via ATM, the first thing you need to do is ensure that the ATM you’re visiting is capable of taking cash deposits — and that your bank takes deposits through that particular type of ATM. For example, if you have an account with Bank of America, you’ll likely be able to make a cash deposit at an ATM located at or inside a physical Bank of America location — but you may not be able to make a cash deposit at the third-party ATM at your local grocery store or concert venue.

In order to avoid wasting time at an ATM that won’t do the trick, it’s a good idea to do some research ahead of time. Log onto your bank’s website and look for an ATM locator, which will show you all nearby locations and may also specifically mention which services those ATMs can perform (including whether or not they accept cash or check deposits).

When you arrive at the ATM, you’ll most likely need to use your bank card and personal identification number (PIN) to confirm your identity and pull up the ATM’s service options, though some banks may allow you to access an ATM using cardless technology through your phone. Either way, once you’ve got the ATM’s options screen pulled up, you’ll follow the instructions to make a cash deposit, and then select the account you want the deposit to go into (if you have multiple accounts, such as a checking and a savings account, for example).

Some ATMs may have limits as to how many paper bills they can take at once, and ATMs typically don’t take coin deposits. As with any situation where you’re feeding bills into a machine (like when you’re trying to get a vending machine snack in your office lobby), you may end up with one or more bills fed back to you if the machine reads them as damaged or potentially counterfeit.

In general, though, it’s as simple as that: just feed the money in, confirm the amount of the deposit, and be sure to verify that you’re signed out of the ATM before you get on your way!

Recommended: Don’t Let Your Bank Rob You: How To Avoid ATM Fees

When is the Money Available with ATM Deposits?

Once again, the answer to this common question is, “it depends.” At some ATMs, cash deposits are made available immediately, while with other ATMs you may experience some lag between the moment you feed the money into the machine and the moment the money shows up in your account balance.

The FDIC does have regulations that require banks to make cash deposits available within a certain amount of time — but in the case of a proprietary ATM, availability is not required until the second business day after the deposit. And at a third-party ATM, funds don’t have to be made available until the fifth business day, so be sure to plan ahead if possible!

Again, your bank may have more specific information available on their website as to their specific policies.

Recommended: Understanding Funds Availability Rules

Potential Problems with ATM Deposits

So, what can go wrong with ATM deposits?

Well, for starters, the length of time a deposit may be held can be problematic for some customers if they need access to the funds as soon as possible. And the automated reader on some ATMs may refuse to accept legitimate bills, at least on the first try, which can be frustrating.

For another thing, your bank or financial institution may simply not allow it. Certain online-only banking services, such as Chime and Axos Bank, don’t offer ATM cash deposit capabilities. Instead, you must deposit cash at local retail partners through an at-the-counter transaction.

The good news is, most ATMs have a phone number printed on the machine itself that you can call if you experience any technical errors or other problems. And, as always when interacting with ATMs, be sure to look out for your personal safety. Make the deposit during the day and ideally with the company of someone you trust. Never give out your PIN.

Are There Any Fees for Depositing Cash at an ATM?

Yet again, the answer to this question is, “it depends.” If you’re using an in-network ATM that’s directly linked to your bank, you’re unlikely to encounter any fees. But if you’re using an out-of-network ATM, there are a couple of fees you might need to be on the lookout for.

•   ATM fees are sometimes charged by the third-party owner of the ATM itself, and may be as little as $1.50 or as much as $10 per transaction.

•   Out-of-network ATM fees may also be charged by your bank, which could add an additional charge of $2 to $3.50 to the transaction.

•   Finally, keep in mind that foreign transaction fees can rack up quickly if you’re using an ATM overseas.

As always, we recommend checking with your bank ahead of time to get a better grasp of their specific policies and avoid these unnecessary fees if possible.

Why Make an ATM Cash Deposit?

You may be wondering why this topic even needs to be addressed. So many of us rarely use or even see cash these days, now that cards are nearly universally accepted. Digital money transfer apps like Venmo and CashApp make it easy to split the bill and pay back friends and family without touching paper money. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic caused some businesses to at least temporarily suspend the use of cash altogether to avoid further potential routes for contamination.

But many workers still get paid at least partially in cash, particularly those whose income includes cash tips, such as waiters and baristas. And as digital-first, online-only checking accounts become more common, some people don’t have the option of walking into a brick-and-mortar bank to make their deposits.

Making ATM cash deposits is sometimes the best way to get that money into an account where it can be more readily used to pay bills — or transferred to a savings or investment account, where it may earn more interest.

The Takeaway

If you need to make your cash available for paying bills or other non-cash financial transactions, depositing it at an ATM is one way to do so — and it can be quite straightforward and cost-free, depending on your bank’s policies.

A SoFi Money® cash management account makes it possible to get a bird’s-eye view of your money while also earning interest on the cash you’ve got stashed in your checking account. While SoFi doesn’t offer ATM cash deposits at this time, cash deposits can be made to a SoFi Money account using Green Dot services at participating retailers.

Learn more about SoFi Money, an interest-earning spending account.

Photo credit: iStock/RgStudio


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
The SoFi Money® Annual Percentage Yield as of 03/15/2020 is 0.20% (0.20% interest rate). Interest rates are variable subject to change at our discretion, at any time. No minimum balance required. SoFi doesn’t charge any ATM fees and will reimburse ATM fees charged by other institutions when a SoFi Money™ Mastercard® Debit Card is used at any ATM displaying the Mastercard®, Plus®, or NYCE® logo. SoFi reserves the right to limit or revoke ATM reimbursements at any time without notice.
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 or products 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 considering furthering your education by earning a master’s degree in business administration, you may be interested in MBA programs that are all or partially online.

Online MBA programs give students the flexibility to work on assignments and view lectures on your time. If you’re working full-time right now, this could be a great way to expand your knowledge while getting a competitive edge in the workplace…without having to take time away from work to do so.

Most online coursework can be accessed on your schedule, rather than you being required to attend class at a certain time.

Start your research with the top online MBA programs available and then narrow down the list based on your specific needs.

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, from an in-person one- or two-year program to an online MBA program. There are also executive MBA programs, which are geared toward working professionals with a bit more professional experience than the average undergrad.

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.

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

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 more well-rounded in these areas, 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 .

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.

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, we researched, compared, and synthesized online lists to find some of the top online MBA programs in several categories.

Top Affordable Online MBA Programs

Online MBA programs can get fairly expensive: top executive MBA programs can range from $62,000 to $213,000. And not everyone can afford such prestigious education. Instead, consider an affordable MBA program with a smaller price tag.

West Texas A&M University

This university , located near Amarillo, Texas, 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 in person or online. Its MBA program has been ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report, The Financial Engineer Times, and the Princeton Review.

Tuition per credit: $500, for in-state tuition

Oklahoma State University

Another award-winning online MBA program comes from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business . Not only is it affordable; it also ranks highly for active-duty military personnel looking to expand their education. There is also a mentoring program available for students.

Tuition per credit: $471, for in-state tuition

Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University’s MBA program is a 36-hour program with flexibility: you can choose whether to take courses in person or online from one semester to the next, rather than being locked into one or the other for the entire program.

Tuition per credit: $320, for in-state tuition

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.

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 10-day overseas program, an annual Leadership Conference, and professional coaching.

Tuition per credit: $1,264

Bethel University

Bethel University offers a Master of Business Administration: Executive Concentration that can be completed in 21 months. The classes are writing-based, and there is no GRE required. Courses offered through this executive-focused program include Organizational Behavior, Strategy and Managerial Decision-Making, and Business Ethics.

Tuition per credit: $613

Southeastern Louisiana University

If you’re interested in combining online 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.

Tuition per credit: $626

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.

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.

Tuition per credit: $1,343

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.

Tuition per credit: $1,236

Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology’s Saunders College of Business offers a highly-recognized Master of Business Administration degree. The program is cohort-based and centers around high student-faculty engagement. You can choose from among the many concentrations offered or customize your own. The program also includes an 18-week client capstone project, as well as an international client project to provide more hands-on experience for students.

Tuition per credit: $1,237 per credit hour

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 watched 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 them lower their interest rate, and lessen the cost of the debt over the life of the loan.

Refinancing federal student loans means they’ll no longer be eligible for federal protections like deferment, forgiveness, and income-driven repayment plans, so this option won’t make sense for everyone.

Find out more about refinancing student loans with SoFi.

Photo credit: iStock/Miljan Živković


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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 or products 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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The Top Gifts for College Students

The Top Gifts for College Students

The best gifts for college students offer convenience, practicality, and a little bit of fun. Whether your college student needs gadgets, dorm room necessities, or new apparel, you can send them off with something extra special this year. However, shopping for college students can be difficult—especially with so many options out there.

While parents of college students may have a difficult time adjusting to this new independence, giving your college-bound student a gift will make them feel closer to home. To help narrow down your choices, here are gift ideas for college students to prepare for the new school year, whether they’re a recent high school graduate or entering their last year on campus.

Recommended: 5 Ways to Start Preparing For College

Apparel and Accessory Gifts for College Students

College students need to be prepared for any situation on campus, whether that’s a winter storm, an interview, or a visit to the school’s gym facilities. Clothing and accessories are college gifts that will always be appreciated.

1. Backpack

A good-quality and versatile backpack is a college staple. Your college student may want a waterproof bag with plenty of compartments with room for books, a laptop, and other personal items. The backpack should also be comfortable to carry around throughout the day and durable enough to last for several semesters.

2. Messenger Bag or Tote Bag

An officer-ready tote or messenger bag can be great for internships or interviews. Plus, it can be used beyond college.

3. Activewear

Whether they’re playing on a college team, a regular at the gym, or just like the style and comfort, activewear can be a useful gift for most college students. There are many different styles and brands at various price points.

4. Gym Bag

For college students who may use the school’s gym facilities or participate in a sport, a gym bag is essential. Make sure to get an appropriate size bag depending on how much they need to carry.

5. Outdoor Winter Gear

This may not be as important if they’re attending school in a warm location, but students need warm winter clothing when they’re walking back and forth between classes. Your college student may need warm winter boots for the snow, a heavy coat, thick socks, a hat, and gloves. Be mindful of where your student is headed off to school. Depending on the region, they may have different needs.

6. Waterproof Gear

The last thing a college student wants is a wet bag while they’re carrying their textbooks and laptop. A waterproof backpack and an umbrella should help protect expensive gear and a raincoat and boots should keep your college student dry between classes.

7. College Hoodies/Sweatshirts

One popular gift for college students is a hoodie or sweatshirt with the school’s team logo. This can typically be found through the college’s website or they may sell them on campus as well.

8. Loungewear

The dorm will be home for the next couple of semesters so it’s important to be comfortable. Loungewear can be found online or in stores and come in a variety of styles and prices.

9. Professional Attire

A professional outfit is a must for the college student going on interviews or for any formal gathering. If you don’t feel comfortable picking out an office-ready outfit, there are subscription services available with styles based on the information filled out by the recipient, or a gift card to a specific store may work as well.

Recommended: What Is College Like?

Dorm Room Gifts for College Students

There are too many dorm room college essentials to list. The little things go a long way and can help make college life more comfortable and enjoyable.

10. Bedding/Blankets

Most colleges only supply a mattress, so students must bring their own sheets, blankets, and pillows. Colleges typically have dorm beds with a twin XL mattress, but it should be confirmed with the school before buying bedding. Make sure to buy an extra set of sheets so that they always have a clean set.

11. Basic Kitchenware

Whether your college student has a dorm room kitchen or will mostly be eating in the dining hall, basic kitchenware is a necessity for a quick meal or a late-night snack. Basic kitchenware includes utensils, knives, plates and bowls, cups, and food storage containers.

12. Laundry Basket

Dorms typically don’t provide a washer and dryer in the dorm room so students will need to bring their laundry to the communal laundry room.

13. Alarm Clock

Getting up on time for classes can sometimes be a struggle so your college student may need a little help. A digital alarm clock should do the trick even for the heaviest of sleepers.

14. Bathrobe

Aside from the comfort and luxury that bathrobes may bring, they’re a necessity for college. A bathrobe will give a little bit of extra security when your college student goes to take a shower.

15. Storage

Dorm rooms are usually small, so your student will want to maximize every inch they have. There are tons of great storage solutions from under-bed bags and bins, over-the-door storage racks, and hanging strips or hooks.

16. Desk Supplies

Desk supplies are a must-have and make great gifts for college students. Consider desktop organizers, pens and pencils, a lamp, and also a comfortable desk chair.

17. Lap Desk

A lap desk can make a convenient gift for college students to make studying around campus more comfortable. They’re portable and perfect for taking notes or setting a laptop.

18. Streaming Service

It’s easy to spend a lot of money on streaming services, and college students are typically on a tight budget. Get a gift card for one or a couple of streaming services to gift your college student.

19. Personal Safe

If your student has expensive or important items, it’s important they’re kept in a safe location. A small personal safe to protect valuables can give your college student some peace of mind when living with a roommate.

20. Games

Board games or card games are perfect for a relaxing night with roommates and friends.

Food and Drink Gifts for College Students

College cuisine doesn’t have to be instant ramen or dining hall meals. Before purchasing any kitchen appliances, contact a residential assistant to double-check if they are allowed in dorm rooms at the student’s school.

21. Insulated Water Bottle

It’s a simple gift but a leak-proof insulated water bottle will keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for hours.

22. Microwave

A microwave for a college dorm needs to be compact as college students aren’t working with much space. It should be big enough to fit a full-sized plate but small enough to fit on a narrow counter.

23. Mini-Fridge

A mini-fridge is good for keeping drinks cool or storing a few snacks.

24. Electric Multi-Cooker

Multi-cookers, like the InstantPot, are simple machines but can take dorm room dishes to the next level. With a multi-cooker, college students can free up space and replace multiple kitchen appliances: rice cooker, frypan, pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, and steamer. Worth noting again, before buying any kitchen appliances — confirm they are allowed in the dorm rooms at your student’s school.

25. Coffee Maker

It may be nice to get a coffee from the local coffee shop every morning, but the cost can add up. College students on a budget can save some cash by using a coffee maker instead.

Recommended: 33 Ideas for Saving Money While Dorm Shopping

Tech Gifts for College Students

When picking out a tech gift, choose something that will make school life a little easier and maybe add some fun in between classes. The right gadgets will make workloads more seamless and save your student a lot of time and energy.

26. Laptop

A laptop is an essential school supply. While there’s always the library, laptops give students the freedom and flexibility to work on academic assignments anytime and anywhere. Laptop quality, functions, features, and prices vary widely, so make sure you know what your college student is looking for in a laptop.

27. Portable Charger

A portable charger ensures your college student can study, take notes, and work on assignments without worrying about their battery dying. Portable chargers come in a variety of forms with a range of features.

28. Noise-Canceling Headphones

Dorm rooms and other areas around campus sometimes don’t make the best environment for studying. Noise-canceling headphones give your college-bound student a distraction from the surrounding noise.

29. Power Strip

You can never have too many power outlets. Your college student’s dorm room may not have enough outlets for their needs.

30. USB Flash Drive

College students may need a reliable USB flash drive to use when going to the library to work on a project, when a printer isn’t working, or when moving large files. Flash drives come in a range of storage capacities and prices.

31. Portable Bluetooth Speaker

It may not be a must-have, but a portable bluetooth speaker is a fun gift for college students. There are even waterproof models for a little extra protection.

The Takeaway

Still, stumped when it comes to finding gifts for college students? Cash or gift cards go a long way and it allows your college student to purchase exactly what they want or need. A gift card can be used for their favorite restaurant or store or some cash can go towards college books, saving for college tuition, or anything else they may need.

SoFi offers an online cash management account with no account fees, no-fee overdraft coverage, and the ability to get paid up to two days early. Plus, SoFi Money® members with recurring monthly deposits of $500 or more each month will earn interest at 0.25%.

Learn more about reaching your financial goals faster with SoFi Money’s automatic savings features.

Photo credit: iStock/Prostock-Studio


SoFi Money®
SoFi Money is a cash management account, which is a brokerage product, offered by SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA / SIPC .
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank. SoFi Money Debit Card issued by The Bancorp Bank. SoFi has partnered with Allpoint to provide consumers with ATM access at any of the 55,000+ ATMs within the Allpoint network. Consumers will not be charged a fee when using an in-network ATM, however, third party fees incurred when using out-of-network ATMs are not subject to reimbursement. SoFi’s ATM policies are subject to change at our discretion at any time.
As of 6/9/2020, accounts with recurring monthly deposits of $500 or more each month, will earn interest at 0.25%. All other accounts will earn interest at 0.01%. Interest rates are variable and subject to change at our discretion at any time. Accounts opened prior to June 8, 2020, will continue to earn interest at 0.25% irrespective of deposit activity. SoFi’s Securities reserves the right to change this policy at our discretion at any time. Accounts which are eligible to earn interest at 0.25% (including accounts opened prior to June 8, 2020) will also be eligible to participate in the SoFi Money Cashback Rewards Program.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products 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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Can You Get Your Sallie Mae Loans Forgiven?

The reality is that — much like that red wine stain on the rug — Sallie Mae student loans aren’t likely to evaporate into thin air. That’s because Sallie Mae is a private lender now.

And despite what you may have heard — or hoped for based on some 2020 presidential campaign promises — currently there is no such thing as private student loan forgiveness.

Forgiveness is limited to federal education loans, and even then, the options are few. There are federal student loan forgiveness programs for those who go into public service or teaching. But other than that, it’s extremely difficult to cancel student loans.

Can Older Sallie Mae Loans Be Forgiven?

If you’re confused about whether your Sallie Mae loans are private or federal, it may be because the company has evolved over the years.

Though Sallie Mae, aka the SLM Corp., no longer services federal loans, that wasn’t always the case.

Sallie Mae was created in 1972 as the Student Loan Marketing Association, a government-sponsored enterprise that serviced federal education loans. Even though it became fully privatized in 2005, the company continued to service federal loans made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program until that program ended in 2010. Then, in 2014, Sallie Mae split into two companies: SLM Corp. and Navient Corp and shifted all its federal student loans to Navient.

So, if you have an older loan — one that originated before 2014 — it may have been a federal loan that started out with Sallie Mae and then moved on to Navient. And if that’s the case, you may be able to apply for Sallie Mae loan forgiveness.

Applying can be complicated, and you may have to consolidate your loans into a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan as part of the process.

You can see if your old debt is a federal education loan by visiting the Federal Student Aid website. If it is, and you want to seek loan forgiveness, you’ll eventually make your application to the government.

Keep in mind that Navient federal student loan accounts were to shift to Maximus after Navient cut ties with the Department of Education in late 2021.

You can contact your current loan servicer for information on how to get started.

What If You Don’t Qualify for Loan Forgiveness?

If federal student loan forgiveness seems a long shot for you, don’t despair — you also may want to look into deferment or forbearance. These strategies allow qualifying borrowers to temporarily reduce or stop their federal student loan payments. However, depending on the type of federal loan you have, interest may continue to accrue while payments are paused, which could increase the overall cost of the loan.

Looking for a more long-term solution? An income-based repayment plan can offer qualified applicants another way to lower federal student loan payments. The four options limit monthly payments based on family size and discretionary income (the difference between your annual income and 150% of the poverty guideline for your family size and state of residence).

You can contact your loan servicer for assistance with federal loan repayment. If you don’t know who your servicer is, you can find out by visiting your Federal Student Aid dashboard or calling 800-433-3243.

Are There Alternatives to Private Student Loan Forgiveness?

Although there currently is no such thing as Sallie Mae private student loan forgiveness, there are alternatives available to borrowers struggling to manage their private loans.

Private lenders don’t offer income-driven repayment plans. But if you feel comfortable calling Sallie Mae (or any lender) directly, you could ask about other repayment plans they might offer or what ideas they might have for your situation. At the very least, it doesn’t hurt to learn more about your loans.

And some lenders, including Sallie Mae, offer deferment and forbearance for those who qualify.

The timeline and cost for each of these programs may vary by lender. Sallie Mae, for example, may require a “good faith payment” to go into forbearance, and you can press pause on payments for only three months at a time, for a maximum of a year.

Something else to consider if you’re thinking about deferment or forbearance is that — just as with federal loans — even though the payments are paused, interest may continue to accrue. And this can increase the total cost of the loan.

Recommended: What Happens If You Just Stop Paying Your Student Loans

What About Refinancing?

If you can’t make any headway with your current repayment plan, you can always look into refinancing.

While Sallie Mae doesn’t offer loan consolidation and refinancing anymore, you could potentially reduce your interest rate by refinancing your student loans with a different private lender, especially if you have a good credit history and strong potential earnings.

If you’re approved, the new lender will pay off your old loans and issue you one new student loan — hopefully with a lower interest rate. A lower rate can save money on interest payments over the life of the loan, provided that the loan term isn’t extended.

Though you can’t combine federal and private student loans through a federal loan consolidation program, some private lenders will refinance both.

You could extend your loan term if you’re hoping to make your monthly payments more manageable, or you could opt for a shorter loan term to try to get out of debt sooner.

You’ve probably been warned that you could give up some important benefits if you refinance your federal student loans through a private lender, and it’s true. You’ll lose access to federal repayment programs.

But refinancing with a private lender makes sense for some borrowers.

Recommended: Student Loan Consolidation vs Refinancing

The Takeaway

Lender Sallie Mae used to offer federal student loans, and if you received one, you may be able to qualify for loan forgiveness. But federal student loan forgiveness can be hard to get — and if you have a private student loan through Sallie Mae, forgiveness is not available.

There are, however, repayment options, including refinancing. SoFi offers flexible terms and competitive rates for student loan refinancing, with no origination fee.

View your rate in two minutes.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. 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.

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.
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What Happens When Your Student Loans Go to Collections?

When a borrower stops making payments on student loans for a period of time, they could end up in default. And in some cases, lenders may send loans that are in default onto collections.

In general, it’s ideal to avoid defaulting on student loans and having them sent to collections in the first place. But if your student loans have already gone to collections, fear not — there are steps you can take.

Before we dive in, it’s important for you to know that this is an incredibly complex topic. We’re going to try to break it down the best we can, but full disclosure: this info is general in nature and does not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs; it should not be considered advice. SoFi’s just trying to be real with you and recommend that you speak to a professional about your unique situation.

How Student Loans End up in Collections

Student loans don’t go away until you’ve paid them off. If you haven’t been paying off your student loans, your debt can go into default, because you are failing to fulfill your contractual obligation to repay your loan.

Americans owe more than $1.7 trillion in student loan debt as of the second quarter of 2021. When you consider that the average student loan debt for the class of 2020 was over $29,900, it’s no surprise that some have trouble keeping up with it. In fact, an average of 15% of student loans are in default at any given time.

Delinquent Federal Student Loans

The first day after missing a payment on a federal student loan, the loan becomes delinquent. The loan will remain delinquent until the overdue balance is paid, or the borrower makes alternate arrangements such as applying for deferment or forbearance or switching their payment plan.

After 90 days of missing payments for federal student loans, the loan servicer will report the late payments to credit bureaus, which could negatively impact the borrower’s credit score.

Recommended: Defaulting on Student Loans: What You Should Know

Federal Student Loans in Default

For federal loans, you typically go into default after you haven’t paid your loan bill for nine months or 270 days.

When in default, the entire balance of the loan comes due. But just because a loan is in default, doesn’t mean it automatically goes to a collections agency.

At this point, you may have the opportunity to make arrangements with your loan servicer. For example, your lender may help you tailor solutions that lower your monthly bill to make payments more manageable for you.

However, if you don’t come to an agreement, your lender can send your debt to a collections agency that will collect it for them.

Private Student Loans in Default

The timeframe may vary for private loans depending on the terms and conditions of the loan. Generally speaking, private student loans may go into default after 90 days ​of missed payments.

What Does It Mean to Have a Loan Sent to Collection?

Once your debt is sent to a collections agency, that agency will do everything they can to get you to pay. Unfortunately, on top of collecting the debt, collections agencies typically charge fees, for which you’ll also be responsible.

Once your debt is in collections, the collections agency might try to work out a repayment plan with you as a first step. If you continue to not pay, the agency can then take actions to recoup the money, such as trying to garnish your wages.

Garnishment means the agency can take a certain amount from each paycheck and apply it toward your debt. For federal student loans, lenders are not required to take the borrower to court before garnishing wages.

Once this happens, you no longer have control over that money. Whereas, if you’d come to an agreement earlier, you may have been able to make smaller payments each month.

Private student loans function differently. They are not subject to the same special regulation as federal student loans. Private lenders interested in garnishing wages must follow garnishment rules laid out for private debt. In this case, the lender is required to take the borrower to court and obtain a judgment in their favor before any wages can be garnished.

Recommended: What Happens If You Just Stop Paying Your Student Loans

What Happens When Your Loans Go into Default and Collections?

Some other not-so-great things can happen when your loans go into default and collections.

First, if you have defaulted on federal student loans, you may lose access to various federal loan repayment plans and forbearance or deferment on federal loans. These programs are important tools designed to make it easier for you to pay off your loans. Loan forgiveness is offered to those who follow career paths in certain government, healthcare, and nonprofit sectors. Forbearance allows you to temporarily stop making student loan payments or reduce the amount you pay each month.

Your credit score may take a hit as well. For both private and federal student loans in default, the lender or the collections agency will report the late payments to the three major credit bureaus, who might then lower your credit score.

A low credit score might cost you down the line, making it difficult to secure future loans at reasonable interest rates, should you want to buy a house or a car, for example. It may even mean you won’t qualify for a loan at all. Avoiding default might help you maintain these important financial tools.

Recommended: Student Loan Deferment vs Forbearance: What’s The Difference?

How to Get Your Loans Out of Default

Of course, the best thing you can do to avoid default and collections is to pay your bills on time. But if you’ve defaulted, there may still be options for you to recover.

Options for Federal Student Loans

If you have federal student loans, you could try to rehabilitate your student loan in collections. Here’s how the program works — after you have made three consecutive on-time, voluntary, full payments on a defaulted loan, you can consolidate your federal loans.

The new direct loan pays off the old loans in full and consolidates them. Once you have made nine out of 10 consecutive, voluntary, on-time payments to this new loan, the loan may be rehabilitated and the default may be removed from your record. With a Direct Consolidation Loan, your eligible federal loans will be combined into one loan with a fixed interest rate — and the new rate will be the weighted average of the rates on the loans being consolidated (rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of 1%).

Options for Private Student Loans

When it comes to private student loans, private lenders may or may not offer borrowers the opportunity to rehabilitate their loans. And, when it comes to private student loan rehabilitation there is not much federal legislation. Borrowers who have rehabilitated a private student loan may ask to have the default removed from their credit report, but there is no guarantee that it will be removed.

In some circumstances, the statute of limitations on debt may be a consideration for private student loan debt. This is a legal time frame in which a creditor is allowed to collect on the debt and it is determined by state law. In the case that the statute of limitations on private student loan debt has been met, entering into a rehabilitation plan may restart the limitations period.

Additionally, it’s important to note that some lenders may charge off private student loans that are delinquent for 120 days, or a set period of time, which may vary from lender to lender. If a debt is charged off, the lender may not be willing to work with the borrower.

What to Do If Your Student Loan Goes to Collections

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having debt in collections, there might be steps you can take.

First, you could talk to your collections agency. It might seem scary, and it may be tempting to ignore their calls and letters, but doing so isn’t going to make them stop. Remember: collections agencies want you to pay. It’s in their best interest for you to ultimately pay back your loan. In many ways, this is a situation in which the ball is in your court.

When you talk to them, the collections agency might offer options tailored to your individual circumstances, such as whether you have a job and what your income is.

They might offer solutions such as allowing you to pay a discounted lump sum, or they might set up a low monthly payment plan if you don’t have a lot of income.

Having your loans in default or collections might have serious effects on your credit and your financial stability. If you’re afraid of defaulting on your loans, or if you already have, consider taking action as fast as you can. Taking control of the situation could help keep it from getting worse.

The Takeaway

In an ideal world, the best way to avoid going into student loan default in the first place is to make payments on time and in full — or, better yet not to take out student loans in the first place.

However, that’s not the world we live in. The cost of education is so high that many students who pursue a college degree will need a little bit of financial help along the way. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get in over your head with student loans.

If you’re reading this article about loans going into default or collections, you’re probably struggling to make your monthly payments. And that’s pretty scary. There are ways to make your monthly payments lower, such that you’re more confidently able to make them. If you have federal loans, looking into federal income-driven repayment plans may be a good idea.

If you have private and federal loans, you could also potentially consider refinancing your loans with a longer-term. When you refinance your loans with a longer loan term, it will potentially cost you more in interest over the life of the loan. However, the (hopefully) lower monthly payments could help make ends easier to meet in the short term and keep you from worrying about imminent default.

Note that refinancing federal student loans eliminates them from federal borrower protections such as income-driven repayment plans or student loan deferment.

SoFi also offers a line of student loan and student loan refinancing programs, which could be an option. For those struggling with their income, it may be worth considering adding a cosigner with solid credit history and income, to possibly give you a better chance at approval. (Just keep in mind that a cosigner would be just as responsible for your monthly payments as you are.)

Learn more about whether SoFi student loan refinancing could be right for you.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY 2022 DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. 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.

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.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s
website
.

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.
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