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6 Alternatives to Emergency Student Loans

You’re getting ready to start your classes but something unexpected comes up. Maybe you lost your job and are having trouble making rent. Or maybe a parent who was helping with college costs can’t help anymore. It can be hard to come up with extra cash to make ends meet.

But financial aid can help you out. There are individual colleges or non-profits that might offer assistance to students who have emergencies come up. While these loans might seem like a good idea, you have other options when you’re in a financial pinch.

The Basics of Emergency Student Loans

So, what are emergency student loans? Precisely what they sound like—loans available to students in extreme or dire circumstances, typically offered by colleges or universities. If you are the victim of an emergency situation, such as if you’ve been displaced because of a natural disaster, you might be eligible. An unexpected medical expense or job loss may also qualify.

Not every college and university offers emergency student loans, and those that do may have limited funds for emergency student loans and varying eligibility requirements. It’s best to contact your financial aid office to find out what (if anything) your school offers by way of emergency financial aid.

Alternatives to Emergency Student Loans

While emergency student loans can help in life-changing circumstances, they might not always be the best option. Consider these alternatives:

1. Private Student Loans

If you’re having trouble affording all your college costs, you might want to take a look at private student loans. If, after exhausting “free money” options like grants and scholarships and using federal student loans, you’re still coming up short, private student loans can help fill in any funding gaps.

Private student loans are a great asset, but they typically have stringent requirements for approval. Many have strict credit score requirements, and if you don’t meet them, you could be denied unless you have a student loan cosigner who does meet the requirements. And some lenders may not allow cosigners at all.

But if you do qualify, either with a cosigner or on your own, you could receive your funds quickly, depending on your lender. Some lenders send the money straight to the school while others send the funds to you to make the appropriate payments.

2. Grant Assistance

Since some colleges allow for emergency grants , you might qualify for “free money” that doesn’t require repayment.

Emergency grants work a lot like emergency student loans. You’ll need to get in touch with your financial aid office to see if you qualify under your circumstances. If you don’t qualify for emergency grants, you might still be able to get financial help through your school via tuition assistance or tuition waivers.

3. Extensions or Payment Plans for Bills in an Emergency

Help might just be a question away. If you’re struggling with rent, utilities, or other monthly bills, you can try asking for a payment extension.

You could contact your providers, lenders, or landlords and explain your situation. Even extending payments by a couple weeks or a month might help you get your funds together.

Late payments can be detrimental to your credit history. Being proactive about asking for help could prevent an impact to your credit score before anything drastic happens.

After You Graduate

Once you’re done with school, if you need help paying off all your student loans, refinancing might be a smart choice for you. With multiple student loans, refinancing will help you keep track by combining all of them into one monthly payment. Low fees and easy terms can save you when you’re in a bind.

Refinancing your student loans can lower your interest rate and streamline your payments. At SoFi, you can select the terms that are right for your financial situation. For example, if you’re struggling to pay your monthly bills after graduation, you might consider opting for a refinanced loan with a longer term to potentially secure lower monthly payments.

Student loans can get complicated—SoFi is here to help. From helping you finance your education to helping you get out of your college debt, we’ve got you covered.

Check out what kind of rates and terms you can get in just a few minutes.

Private Student LoansPrivate Student Loans
Refinance Student LoansRefinance Student Loans

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.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
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 .
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. View payment examples. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. 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.


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Budgeting for Your Honeymoon

The last thing any engaged couple wants is to start their new life together by going into debt. And yet, the costs can easily add up fast. First, there’s the wedding and all the events leading up to the big day. Then, there’s finding a place to live and making it your home.

Next, there’s the honeymoon—your chance to really relax and enjoy yourselves before married life gets real. You should remember this trip for the rest of your lives because it was a wonderful time spent together—not because you’re still paying for it. Here are some tips to make financing your honeymoon the least of your worries:

Setting a Limit on How Much You Can Spend

Maybe you’ve saved up for this dream trip, or Mom and Dad have floated you some cash. Boom. You’re done.

If not, you’ll have to come up with a realistic number and make it work. Sit down with your betrothed and have a frank discussion about what you want to do and how you’re going to pay for it. Talk about whether you’re willing to take on some debt, if necessary, and how you’ll pay it back if you do.

Looking for a place to house your honeymoon budget? SoFi Checking and Savings is a checking and savings account that earns you interest on all your cash. Plus, with SoFi Checking and Savings you are your +1 can easily merge your finances and get no account fees. We work hard to give you high interest and charge zero account fees. With that in mind, our interest rate and fee structure is subject to change at any time.

Setting Priorities & Making Trade-offs

For example: Would you be willing to cut the trip short a few days if it meant you could stay at a nicer resort? Would you be willing to pass on a day at the spa if it meant you could go snorkeling or skydiving? Can you do without room service breakfasts so you can have dinner at the Eiffel Tower?

Breaking Down Your Expected Costs on a Budget Worksheet

You can use Excel or any other spreadsheet program, or a simple checklist could do. Just keep in mind that your costs will start before you ever leave for your trip. You may need a passport or specific vaccines if you’re traveling overseas.

You might want new clothes or better luggage. Also consider where you’ll stay, how you’ll get around, what you’ll eat and drink, things you’ll do for fun—and don’t forget about taxes and tip.

Finding Ways to Save

If you have enough set aside in your honeymoon fund to pay for everything you want, good for you—start making reservations. But what if you’ve got a shortfall?

Before you start arguing, crying, or crossing off some of the most appealing plans on your list, start searching for savings:

Talking to a Travel Agent: A good travel agent can help you find honeymoon destinations on a budget and steer you to experiences that will make your trip special without costing a fortune. Yes, you could do hours of research online and book it all yourself, but don’t you have enough on your plate?

Booking early: Not only will you have a chance at better choices for cruise cabins, hotel rooms, and airline seats that fit within your budget, you can stop sweating those details.

Considering an all-inclusive resort: If you don’t have time to hunt down individual deals, consider searching for all-inclusive resorts or cruises, which usually include lodging, meals, soft drinks, gratuities, and some activities and services in the price.

Go on a “mini-moon”: If your honeymoon budget just can’t handle a blowout trip, plan a shorter excursion, maybe closer to home. You can still go luxe with spa days and gourmet dinners at a five-star hotel; just tighten up on other details.

You can always take a longer honeymoon later, when your financial reserves (and vacation days) have had a chance to replenish.

Promoting You Are On Your Honeymoon: Whenever you make a call, be sure to mention this is for your H-O-N-E-Y-M-O-O-N. It might get you a better room, a better table, a free bottle of champagne or some extra attention from staff. If they don’t offer a discount or freebies, ask.

Making a Plan for How You’ll Pay

When you’ve done all you can to close the gap between what you want and what you can afford, it’s time to figure out how you’ll cover the difference.

Creating a honeymoon registry: You can use all the cash gifts you receive to augment your vacation stash, or you can set up a registry (like The Knot’s Newlywed Fund ), where wedding guests can contribute to a general honeymoon fund or make a gift of specific honeymoon activities.

This way, family and friends know where their money is going, and you get to go horseback-riding on the beach or shushing down the slopes in Aspen.

Pillaging your credit card points: If ever there was a time to use up every credit card point and frequent flier mile you’ve ever earned, this is it. If you plan ahead you could get strategic—use cards that earn you points to pay for wedding expenses, then use the points you just earned for the honeymoon, flights, upgrades and more.

Be sure you can make the monthly payments on those cards as you go—or better yet, pay off the balances. Otherwise, you’ll be racking up interest.

Looking into a personal loan: Maybe your finances are temporarily flagging because of the wedding, but you and your spouse-to-be both have a good credit record, excellent salaries, and the wherewithal to make payments on time. If your shortfall will be short-lived, taking out a personal loan might help.

Sure, you could pile those travel costs onto a credit card. But think about it: If the interest rate is high or variable and you can’t pay off the balance on your card as soon as you get back home, you could ultimately be spending far more for every souvenir and spa visit than you planned.

With a personal loan, you can borrow just what you need at a competitive rate and make manageable payments. Knowing upfront what you’ve borrowed could even help you keep better control of what you spend.

Another plus: You can sign on as co-borrowers and have the funds delivered to a joint account, so the loan will belong to both of you—you won’t have to fret or fume about who’s paying for what.

Personal Loans with SoFi

Arguing about finances can put stress on many a relationship—but that doesn’t have to be you.
If a vacation loan sounds like a good option, shop for the best deal you can get. SoFi’s Personal Loans offer competitive rates, great member benefits, and customer service that’s there whenever you need it.

You can pay back the loan early if you like—there are no prepayment fees. And as a SoFi member, you’ll also have access to the financial services you’ll need in the future, from home loans to investing.
If you plan well, cut costs where you can, and borrow wisely if needed, you can start your life together on sound financial footing.

In need of some extra funds for your honeymoon? See if a SoFi vacation loan is right for you.

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.
SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance.
This information isn’t financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on specific financial needs, goals and risk appetite.
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.
SoFi Checking and SavingsTM is offered through SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC, a registered investment advisor.


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10 Tips to Help Break The Debt Cycle

Just like visiting the dentist or having your car towed, the debt cycle can add unwanted stress to your life.
Taking on some debt can be beneficial, allowing you to invest in your future by getting a college education or buying a home. But every debt you borrow will eventually need to be repaid. In some cases, the repayment process can seem daunting.

Mortgages, student loans, and car loans can add up to a considerable portion of your monthly expenses. Add in credit card debt and unexpected financial emergencies, and it could feel like your debt is ever-growing. But don’t fear, with a few tips and some strategic planning, you can organize your finances and help to break the debt cycle for good.

Avoiding Credit Cards

Credit cards can be a great tool to earn rewards points and track your spending, but only if you are paying them off in full every billing cycle. Credit cards can make it easy to spend money you don’t have, since you don’t feel the immediate effects of the money leaving your account or the cash leaving your hand.

You don’t have to cancel your cards, since that may negatively impact your credit score . You can store them somewhere you won’t have easy access to them, or even cut them up so you’re not tempted to use them. If you’ve been using your credit cards to pay for your daily expenses and not paying the bill at the end of the month, it may be time to review your spending and see if there are places you can cut back.

Considering Interest Before Charging Purchases

When you’re shopping it can be easy to get swept up in finding a great deal and put it on a credit card. Before you do, you may want to pause and think about what it might cost you in interest.

If you aren’t able to pay off your credit card bill at the end of the month, your sweet deal could end up costing you a lot more than what you originally paid for it.

Before you swipe your card, consider taking the time to evaluate the purchase, the price, and what it may cost you in interest for as long as it will sit on your credit card. You can use a tool like our credit card interest calculator to estimate how much interest you will pay on your credit card debt.

Revisiting Your Shopping Habits

It might be time to take a look at your shopping and spending habits. You can start by reviewing how much money you are spending each month on things like food, clothes, and entertainment. Be honest with yourself and see if there is any opportunity for you to cut back.

One way to create more structure when you hit the store is to shop with a list. While your top of mind association may be grocery shopping, being prepared with a list doesn’t have to apply to just that. Planning ahead could help you save money in all areas of spending.

When shopping for the holidays, birthdays, or other events, set a list of what you plan to buy and a budget to match. This can help you get exactly what you need without going overboard.

Differentiating Between Wants and Needs

Is that new pair of shoes a want or a need? Latest video game? A night out on the town? As you’re trying to get ahead of the debt cycle, you might want to evaluate your wants against your needs. For example, before you make a purchase, carefully think about whether you need it, or if it’s just a want. If it’s something you can live without, maybe holding off is wiser.

Breaking out of a long-term debt cycle requires discipline and determination. While skipping out on wardrobe upgrades or the newest tech gadgets now can seem like a huge sacrifice, when you start making headway on your debt repayment, odds are you’ll feel the reward.

Saving an Emergency Fund

One of the biggest reasons people fall into the debt cycle is their failure to plan ahead. You can’t predict the future, but you can do your best to prepare for it. For example, say your car breaks down and you’re unable to pay for repairs upfront.

Deferring the cost on your credit card can send you deeper into the debt cycle. On the other hand, having an emergency fund on hand can help you prepare for unexpected costs and events.

If you don’t have anything saved up, you can try starting with a windfall—like a bonus at work or your tax refund. You can put this money in a dedicated emergency fund savings account (or another cash equivalent, if you prefer).

Need a place to put your emergency fund? Learn more about opening a SoFi Checking and Savings checking and savings account.

Then each week, you can try to save a specified amount of money in your emergency fund. Even saving just $10, $15, or $20 a week can help you be more prepared when a financial emergency strikes. It can be good to aim to save somewhere between three and six months’ worth of living expenses in your emergency fund.

Reviewing Your Credit Card Statements and Setting a Budget

Credit card debt prevents many people from breaking the debt cycle. Taking action by printing out your credit card statements and reviewing them closely can be a great first step toward getting credit card debt under control. You can also make note of your expenses and see exactly where all of your money is going.

Are you spending hundreds of dollars a month on take-out? Have you been giving in to the convenience of Amazon Prime? Are there a few subscriptions you enrolled in but have since stopped using? Be honest with yourself as you review your spending habits. Note any areas where you can adjust or cut back your spending.

After you’ve had a reality check on your spending, you might want to set up a new budget. You can start by tallying your monthly income and your monthly expenses. Don’t forget to include saving in your budget and set up new limits for your discretionary spending.

Accelerating Your Repayments

If you’re paying off debt, one way to speed up your repayment is paying more than the monthly minimum. Making additional payments on your debt each month could not only help you eliminate your debt more quickly, it could also potentially reduce the money you spend in interest in the long term. Even just $25 a week could have an impact on your repayment.

There are a couple of debt repayment strategies that could help get you back on track. First, there is the debt snowball method. This method encourages you to start focusing on your smallest debt, regardless of the interest rate. While making the monthly minimum payments on all of your debts, you would throw as much extra money as possible toward the smallest debt.

Once it’s paid off, you’d take the minimum payment you were paying on that first debt and add it to the minimum payment on your next-smallest debt. Repeat the process and let the snowball work its magic. While this method may not reduce the money you spend in interest, the rewarding feeling of seeing your debt dwindle could encourage you to stick with your repayment plan.

Another debt repayment strategy is the debt avalanche, or debt-stacking method. Unlike the snowball method, which is structured around behavior and motivation, the avalanche method is about streamlining your debt repayment so that you save the most money on interest. It can require more discipline, but keeping track of how much you are saving in interest can be a great motivator.

With the debt avalanche method, you would make a list of all your debts by order of interest rate, highest to lowest. While making your minimum monthly payments on all the debts, “attack” the highest interest rate loan with as many extra payments as you can. For extra motivation, you can use an extra payment loan calculator to keep track of how much you’re saving in interest.

Living within Your Means

With all the fancy gadgets, cutting-edge technology, constant advertisements, and the rise of social media, it can be easy to get swept up in having the best and fanciest of everything. But living in debt to sustain that can ultimately add stress to your life. You can rise above this by living within your means.

Conventional wisdom is pretty straightforward: don’t borrow more than you can afford. Before you borrow, review your budget and understand how much you can realistically afford to spend on a given item.Then stick with what you already determined you can pay.

Getting a Side Hustle

Another great way to help end the debt cycle: find some extra income by getting a side hustle. You could use money you earn from your new side gig to make extra payments on your debts. Not sure where to start? Sometimes it’s a straightforward as taking a look at your skills and interests and seeing where you may be able to find an extra job or make some passive income.

There could be a ton of different opportunities to find a side hustle that fits your skills and works with your current schedule.

From driving for a rideshare to freelancing as an editor, or even selling your crafts at an online marketplace, with a little legwork, you could find a side job that you love, while also speeding up your debt repayment.

Consolidating Credit Card Debt with a Personal Loan

If you’re currently living in debt, it can feel like there is no way out—but with some strategic planning and a bit of discipline, you may be able to get out from under it. One option to help you repay your debt is a consolidation loan.

A debt consolidation loan is type personal loan you could use to consolidate other sources of debt, such as credit card debt. If you’re repaying a number of high-interest debts, a consolidation loan could help you get your repayment plan on track, and lower your overall interest rate which could reduce the amount you spend in interest, depending on your loan term.

When you take out a debt consolidation loan with SoFi, there are no origination fees or prepayment penalties. If you’re ready to see how a debt consolidation loan from SoFi can help you break the cycle of debt, you can apply easily online and get a rate quote in less than two minutes.

Learn more about SoFi personal loans today!

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.
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.
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 .
SoFi can’t guarantee future financial performance.
This information isn’t financial advice. Investment decisions should be based on specific financial needs, goals and risk appetite.
Neither SoFi nor its affiliates is a bank.
SoFi Checking and SavingsTM is offered through SoFi Securities, LLC, member FINRA / SIPC . Advisory services offered through SoFi Wealth, LLC, a registered investment advisor.


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What is a Bridge Mortgage and What Are They Used For?

There’s a great Apple commercial spoof where an iPhone®​ owner is trying to upgrade to the new model without his current model’s Siri finding out she’s getting dumped. She freaks him out and hijinks ensue.
And while the connection may seem flimsy at best, upgrading to your next home can feel equally precarious, at least when it comes to your mortgage. After all, what do you do when you’ve found your new dream home, but selling your current one could take months, if not longer?

That’s where bridge loans can come to the rescue. A bridge loan, also known as a swing loan, gap financing, or interim financing, is a temporary loan that bridges the gap between the down payment of a new property and the mortgage balance of your previous home. Basically, a bridge loan is a short-term loan taken out by a homeowner against their current property in order to finance the purchase of a new property.

Bridge loans are designed to help home buyers purchase a new property in the event that their old property has not yet been sold. And assuming you don’t have a contingency contract or an extra couple hundred thousand dollars in the bank, you may well need to bridge that gap.

Pros & Cons of Bridge Loans

Bridge loans can be a major benefit in a time crunch: The home seller can immediately put their home on the market and move into another house. This can be especially helpful if you are a homeowner going through a period of sudden transition.

For example, if you have a new job or have children who need to switch schools soon, this could be necessary. Bridge loans are not a replacement for a mortgage but a temporary solution. They are generally designed to be repaid within six months to three years.

The terms vary widely for bridge loans, but they can have high interest rates because bridge loans are usually tied to a variable rate index such as the Prime Rate.

Borrowers may also encounter differences in how lenders deal with interest payments . Some require monthly interest payments while others require an upfront or end-of-term lump sum interest payment.

Bridge mortgage loans are secured to the borrower’s existing home, which means your old house can be claimed in the event of defaulting repayments. The standards for qualifying for a bridge mortgage tend to be high. After all, you’re trying to prove that you can afford not one, but two homes.

Many lenders do not actually have a set credit score requirement or a maximum debt-to-income ratio. Most of the time, your ability to qualify will depend on your future home purchase and the long-term financial benefits the lender predicts.

Exploring Other Financing Options

Borrowing a bridge loan can be risky—you may be required to start paying off your mortgage and the bridge loan at the same time. You are also depending on the sale of your home in order to pay off the bridge loan, which could take time depending on the state of the real estate market as you are selling your home.

If you are planning on taking out a bridge loan to cover the cost of a new home, you may want to negotiate for the extension of your bridge loan in the event that your home does not sell in a timely manner. Bridge loans can be a risky investment for banks too , which means they can be extremely difficult to get.

Due to the risks and costs that come with a bridge mortgage, borrowers may want to consider other options. One alternative to a bridge loan is a home equity line of credit (HELOC) which allows you to draw equity against the value of your current home in a similar way to a bridge loan.

With a HELOC you’ll usually get a better interest rate, pay lower closing costs, and have more time to repay the loan than you would with a bridge loan. It’s important to note that many lenders will not loan a HELOC on a home that is currently on the market for sale, so it may require advance planning.

If you are considering borrowing a HELOC, you may want to look for one without any prepayment penalties or early closure fees, which could significantly cut into your profits in the event that your home sells quickly.

Another alternative to bridge loans is borrowing a personal loan. If you have decent credit history and a solid income, you may consider applying for a competitive-rate personal loan, especially because bridge loan interest rates can run fairly high .

In addition, because personal loan lending is a more diversified market, you can likely find personal loans without the expensive origination fees. Personal loans, including the ones available with SoFi, are often unsecured and therefore require no collateral.

And when you borrow a personal loan with SoFi there are no prepayment penalties, which means if your home sells quickly, you can pay off the loan without losing any of your profits.

No matter what, make sure to do your research. As long as you do your homework, you can find the option that works best for your personal situation, so you can get the home you need at a cost that works for your budget.

Looking to move into a new home? With SoFi personal loans, you can bridge the gap so that you can move into your new house now instead of later.

Check out SoFi’s personal loans today to see if you qualify.

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.
SoFi Mortgages are not available in all states. Products and terms may vary from those advertised on this site. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria#eligibility-mortgage for details.
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 .


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A Guide to Student Loan Forgiveness for Nurses

Whether you’re thinking about a career in nursing, or you’re already working as a nursing professional, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll have to shoulder a good bit of student loan debt. The cost of nursing school, like other forms of education, keeps rising, and many students are taking on higher levels of student loan debt as a result. Balancing a student loan payment with all the other expenses you have, especially if you recently graduated from college, can really add to your stress.

The good news: The median income for registered nurses in 2017 was $70,000. Want another bit of really good news? There are many programs to help you manage your student loan payments and debt. Nursing is one of the careers that has numerous options for student loan forgiveness. And if you don’t qualify for student loan forgiveness for nurses, you can leverage one of the many federal loan repayment plans to help you pay back what you owe more easily.

The government considers nursing to be a vital service to society, so they offer multiple ways to help nurses with student loan debt. If you’re starting to research the right options for you, some key places to contact include your school, your employer, your state’s department of financial aid, and studentaid.ed.gov , for the federal government’s loan repayment and forgiveness plans.

But before you do that, check out our quick guide to student loan forgiveness for nurses. We’ll start by talking about what loan forgiveness is, the repayment plans nurses may be eligible for, and loan forgiveness and assistance plans specifically targeted at nurses. And if for some reason you don’t qualify for a loan forgiveness program, you may still have options.

What Is Loan Forgiveness?

Simply put, loan forgiveness means the borrower of the loan is no longer required to pay all or part of the remaining principal and interest balance. To qualify under most federal forgiveness plans available, your student loan must not be in default. Private loans do not qualify for federal loan forgiveness programs.

There are nurse-specific loan forgiveness programs, and loan forgiveness programs designated specifically for those working in public service. Nurses can also take advantage of federal student loan repayment plans that offer forgiveness after 20 or 25 years of qualifying payments. (The caveat is that it takes quite a bit of time before the loans are forgiven. And your loan forgiveness balance may be subject to taxes.)

Getting to Know Your Federal Student Loans

Before we get into loan forgiveness, let’s talk about the loans you may have taken out for undergraduate or nursing school.

1. Direct Student Loan Program

Most federal student loans are part of the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. When you borrow funds for your education, you’re borrowing directly from the U.S. Department of Education. Here’s a rundown of eligible student loan options:

Direct Subsidized Loans : Undergraduate students can take advantage of these if they demonstrate financial need.

Direct Unsubsidized Loans : Students don’t have to demonstrate financial need for these loans, plus they are available to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Direct PLUS Loans : These loans allow parents to help pay for a dependent student’s education, and are meant to bridge the gap after other financial aid has been exhausted. Some graduate, professional, and certain undergraduate students may be eligible for PLUS Loans on their own as well.

Direct Consolidation Loans : This loan allows you to consolidate all your federal loans into one, at an interest rate that’s a weighted average of all your loans’ interest rates rounded to the nearest one-eighth of 1%.

2. Federal Perkins Loan Program

This plan is usually reserved for students with severe financial needs. The loans are sourced by the school to help students pay for their education. P.S., the loan program has been discontinued, but those still paying them off may be eligible for forgiveness.

3. The Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL)

This loan program has been discontinued and has not been available since 2010. However, if you have one, these loans can still be forgiven.

Federal Loan Forgiveness Programs

The federal government provides several loan forgiveness programs, but borrowers must be in good standing with their lender, meaning they have a history of making full payments on time.

Just don’t fall for the “Obama Student Loan Forgiveness Act,” because it doesn’t exist. There was a bill called the Student Loan Forgiveness Act that would’ve capped how much you paid on your student loan, but it never became law. So check out these bona fide programs that provide loan forgiveness for nurses and see if you qualify.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)

This program forgives loans after you’ve made 10 years (120 months) of on-time, qualifying payments. These are for Direct Student Loan Program loans, but FFEL loans can be included if you combine them with your direct loans in a Direct Consolidation Loan.

To be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you must work for a qualifying government organization, tax-exempt not-for-profit organization, certain other not-for-profits, or as a volunteer for AmeriCorps or Peace Corps.

Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation

While we’ve been mostly using the term loan forgiveness, the phrase “cancellation of loan” is basically the same thing, and that’s how it’s used under the Federal Perkins Loan cancellation program. Nurses may be able to have their Perkins Loans cancelled if they qualify and meet the eligible service requirements .

NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program

The federal government wants to encourage careers in nursing, especially as the nation ages. The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment program will repay some of a nurse’s eligible student loans when they work full-time at a Critical Shortage Facility (CSF) or as a faculty member at a qualifying nursing school. The financial award depends upon the nurse’s role at the facility.

Successful applicants are eligible to receive 60% of their outstanding student loan balances over a two-year employment commitment. Those who qualify may be able to get an extension to a third year and an additional 25% of their original loan balance forgiven.

You have to be a licensed registered nurse, advanced practice registered nurse, or a faculty member at a qualifying nursing school to be eligible for the award. There are additional requirements, so check out the details at the Bureau of Health Workforce , which administers the program.

National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program

This program can provide up to $50,000 of student loan forgiveness for nurses if they commit to working two years in clinical practice at a National Health Service Corps site.

Not only do federal student loans apply, but so do some state and local loans. The program is available for nurse practitioners, mental health nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, or psychiatric nurse specialists.

Other Loan Forgiveness Options

It’s not just the federal government that’s offering student loan forgiveness for nurses. Other entities have programs you can take advantage of, too. Individual states may also provide some type of loan forgiveness for nurses.

Just like the federal government, states seek to place health professionals in needy areas, designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). Each state has its own program requirements and benefits, so you’d just need to call your state’s department of health to see what’s available.

A newer trend can be found in the private sector. More and more employers offer loan forgiveness or loan repayment assistance as a way to retain and recruit qualified professionals.

If you’ve got an in-demand specialty or designation, you could even consider negotiating for assistance or loan forgiveness as part of your compensation package. Of course, this is far from guaranteed when starting a new job. But if you’re looking at potential new employers, you may want to check online resources like Glassdoor or even contact their HR department before applying to see if they offer any kind of student loan repayment program.

If You Don’t Qualify for Loan Forgiveness

It’s not the end of the world if you can’t find a student loan forgiveness program. You’ve still got options. If you have federal loans, there are plenty of repayment plans that may suit your financial needs.

Here are some federal loan repayment plan options to consider. If one of these plans speaks to you, check studentaid.ed.gov to see if your loan qualifies.

Graduated Repayment Plan: This plan allows you to start with a lower monthly payment that grows larger over time, increasing usually every two years. The idea is that as your career progresses, so does your income. You have 10 years to repay your loans (within 10 to 30 years if you have a Direct Consolidation Loan).

Extended Repayment Plan: You must have at least $30,000 in outstanding Direct Student Loan debt to be eligible for this repayment plan. These plans extend the time to pay off your direct student loans out to a maximum of 25 years. You can choose a fixed or graduated payment.

Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (REPAYE): This plan might be an even easier-to-live-with option because, if you qualify, it caps your monthly payment at 10% of your discretionary income. You have 20 years to pay for undergraduate loans and 25 years for graduate or professional education loans.

Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE): To qualify for PAYE, you must have taken out the loan on or after October 1, 2007 and begun receiving loan funds by October 1, 2010. Payments would be 10% of your discretionary income (never more than what you would pay on the Standard Repayment Plan); any qualifying remaining balance after 20 years is forgiven, and you have 20 years to repay the loan.

Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR): This plan is available for certain loans under both the Federal Direct Student Loan Program and the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL). Payments would be between 10% and 15% of your discretionary income. You’d have between 20 and 25 years to repay the loan, with any remaining balance forgiven at the end of those periods, depending on when you first acquired it.

Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR): If you have high debt relative to your income, this plan allows you to make payments equal to 10% to15% of your discretionary income. Both direct student loans and FFEL loans qualify. You’d have 25 years to pay the loan and any remaining balance is then forgiven.

Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan: Those with subsidized and unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans, FEEL Plus Loans, and FEEL Consolidation loans may be able to qualify for income-sensitive repayment. While your new monthly payment is still based off your income, it is calculated on a timeline that allows you to be done with repayment in 10 years.

Refinancing Your Student Loans

Here’s one more option for nurses who have both federal and private loans. You can combine your federal and private loans into a new loan by refinancing—ideally at a lower interest rate. When you refinance, you lose access to federal loan benefits such as income-based repayment plans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. However, you gain the chance to potentially qualify for a more desirable interest rate and loan term.

For example, if you qualify to refinance your student loans with SoFi, you could choose a fixed-rate loan, where the interest remains steady over time, or a variable-rate loan, in which payments may start lower, but could rise and fall over time.

Plus, with refinancing, you may be able to change the term of the loan, lengthening it to reduce the monthly payment, increasing the total interest you’d pay over time, or shortening it, so your monthly payments are higher, but you could pay less in interest over time.

If you’ve exhausted your options in finding loan forgiveness for nurses, consider refinancing your student loans with SoFi. You can do it all online, so it’s fast and easy—and with no hidden fees.

Learn more about whether SoFi can help you refinance your nursing school loans.

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

CLICK HERE for more information.

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

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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