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Student Loan Advocacy

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Upcoming Webinars

PSLF Waiver 2.0: Get a Second Chance with the IDR Recount

Have you sought to apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, but have more questions than answers? Have you heard about the PSLF Limited Waiver Opportunity but think you missed the deadline? Do you have Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (Parent PLUS) loans and think you don't qualify? In this webinar, you will learn how to get many of the benefits and more from the waiver under the upcoming Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) Account Adjustment: 

  • Get PSLF credit for previous payments made under PSLF ineligible repayment plans or loan types, including Parent PLUS loans!
  • Get PSLF credit for certain periods of forbearance and/or deferment.
  • Get automatic discharge if you have been in repayment for 20-25 years, even if you don’t qualify for PSLF.

Take advantage of the IDR Recount before it ends on May 1! We’ll provide time for questions and links to resources so you can take the next steps and navigate your way through the process. Register today and we look forward to seeing you online soon!

Presenters: Jessica M. Manfredi, PSLF Program Associate and Stephanie Sampedro, Washington Student Loan Advocate

Dates & Registration:

If you are not able to attend one of the webinars, we will soon post a recording of the presentation, the presentation slides and transcript.

Announcements

  • The Student Debt Relief plan has been put on hold and the application is currently closed. Visit this site for more info and updates Debt Relief | Application | Federal Student Aid
  • Update on the payment pause – The pause is extended until the US Department of education is permitted to implement the debt relief program, or the litigation is resolved. Payments will restart 60 days later. If the debt relief program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, 2023 – payments will resume 60 days after that (September 1st). 
  • Update: Starting in November 2022, the Department will be conducting a One-Time Payment Count Revision for eligible IDR borrowers. This account revision will be for borrower accounts that will count time toward IDR forgiveness, including:
    • Any months in which you had time in a repayment status, regardless of the payments made, loan type, or repayment plan; 
    • 12 or more months of consecutive forbearances or 36 or more months of total forbearance toward IDR and PSLF forgiveness;
    • Months spent in deferment (except for in-school deferment) prior to 2013; and
    • Any time in repayment prior to consolidation on consolidated loans. 
    • Any borrower with loans that have accumulated time in repayment of at least 20 or 25 years will see automatic forgiveness, even if you are not currently on an IDR plan.
  • Washington's Attorney General settles with student loan servicer Navient, providing debt relief to some student loan borrowers. See the Office of the Attorney General release for more information. 

Looking for information about public service loan forgiveness? Visit WSAC's PSLF page to learn more about loan forgiveness for eligible government and nonprofit employees.

Assisting student loan borrowers in Washington 

The student loan advocate supports current and future student loan borrowers in Washington State. Coordinating with other state agencies, Washington's loan advocate:

  • Addresses student borrower complaints.  
  • Provides information and resources about student loan repayment.
  • Educates the public about the rights and responsibilities of student loan borrowers.

Ask Washington's student loan advocate about: 

  1. Income-driven repayment (IDR)

  2. Public service loan forgiveness

  3. Delinquency and default

  4. Deferment and forbearance

  5. Total and permanent disability discharge

  6. Closed school discharge

  7. Consolidation

  8. Other student loan questions

Common terms

  • Loan servicer. A loan servicer is a company that handles the billing and other services on your federal student loan. 
  • Direct loans. A federal student loan borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education to attend a participating school. 
  • Loan discharge. Cancellation of a borrower's obligation to repay all or a portion of the remaining principal and interest owed on a student loan. 
  • Direct consolidation loans. When borrowers combine many loans into one new loan. 
  • Discretionary income. The difference between your annual income and 150 percent of the poverty guideline for your family size and state of residence.

Income-driven repayment 

Income-driven repayment (IDR)

Borrowers can base their monthly student loan payments on their income. Depending on loan eligibility, the loan payment could be anywhere from 10-20% of discretionary income. Low-income borrowers could have a monthly income-driven payment as low as $0.

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Loan forgiveness programs

Loan forgiveness programs

Public service and debt forgiveness. Borrowers who have full-time public service jobs could be eligible for debt forgiveness if they do all of the following:

  • Work at least 30 hours per week for local, state, federal, or tribal government or nonprofit organizations.
  • Have Direct loans.
  • Are on an eligible income-driven repayment plan.
  • Make 120 on-time payments on their student loans.
Get more information

Payment delinquency, default

Payment delinquency and default 

Borrowers with delinquent payments can get back on track. Many borrowers fall behind on their student loan payments at some point. Borrowers who are currently behind on their loans, but have not yet defaulted, may be able to lower their monthly payments.

Get more information

Borrowers can get out of default. Borrowers who have already defaulted on their loans still have options. They can get out of default and avoid having their wages garnished or tax refunds withheld. Visit these links below for more information.

Get more information

Deferment and forbearance

Deferment and forbearance 

Short break from making loan payments. Deferment and forbearance are good options for borrowers who need a break from making student loan payments. These options are best if used for a short period of time. Why? Interest continues to grow, which increases the amount borrowers must pay back.

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Disability discharge

Total and permanent disability discharge (TPD)

Discharge student loans due to disability. Loan discharge may be an option for borrowers who are disabled and unable to engage in substantial gainful activity due to their disability. Substantial gainful activity is a level of work performed for pay or profit that involves doing significant physical or mental activities, or a combination of both. Nelnet, a federal student loan servicing company, handles all TPD applications.

Get more information

Closed schools and loans

Closed schools and loans 

Class action lawsuit: Sweet v. Cardona. Sweet v. Cardona has reached a settlement and it has been finalized. For more information visit Sweet — Project on Predatory Student Lending (ppsl.org) 

Discharge student loans due to school closure. Sometimes schools close before students can finish their credential. Students in this situation, who have also taken out loans to pay for their education at the closing school, may be able to get a closed school discharge. Borrowers can qualify if they were:

  • Unable to complete their education because their school closed.
  • Attending classes when their school closed.
  • On an approved leave of absence when their school closed, or if the school closed within 120 days after they withdrew.

Students who do not meet one of the above qualifications can still apply for loan forgiveness through a separate program called Borrower Defense to Repayment. Borrower defense is an application for loan cancellation for students whose school misled them or engaged in other misconduct in violation of certain state laws.

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Consolidation

Consolidation

Update: Starting in November 2022, the Department will be conducting a One-Time Payment Count Revision for eligible IDR borrowers. Borrower who have commercially manage FFEL, Perkins, Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL) Program or other non-Direct loans should apply for a Direct Consolidation Loan by May 1, 2023, to get the full benefits of the one-time account adjustment.

Combine many loans into one loan. There are trade-offs to consolidating federal student loans. This might make monthly payments simpler or more affordable. However, borrowers can also lose some benefits and consolidation may extend repayment time.

It’s easy to consolidate federal student loans online, and there is no fee or cost for borrowers. Borrowers should research their options before making a decision.

Get more information

Resources in other states

Other state resources

State Student Loan Ombuds programs

Federal resources

About the student loan advocate

The student loan advocate has independent statutory authority to analyze and monitor laws and policies that impact student loan borrowers at the federal, state, and local level, and to make recommendations. The student loan advocate also works directly with loan borrowers to address complaints and help them navigate issues and identify resources.