There are three possible ways to reduce your student loan payments, provided you are making monthly payments to the US Department of Education student loan programs. This article will focus on the "General Forbearance" as the main tool to reduce your student loan payments.
1. You Can Request A Forbearance.
2. You Can Request Student Loan Consolidation.
3. You Can Change Your Student Loan Repayment Plan.
Types Of Forbearance:
Having trouble making those student loan payments? You may qualify for a student loan forbearance. A lot of people think that you either have to be in the military or be completely financially destitute to qualify for a student loan forbearance. Not True! ANYONE with trouble making the payments may qualify for a "General Forbearance," provided your student loans are held and managed by the US Department of Education.
Listed below are the four types of forbearance options and their requirements.
General Forbearance: This forbearance allows you to depone or reduce the amount of your monthly payment for a limited and specific period of time.
I will also note here that the "General Forbearance" allows you to skip all payments for one year and may be already eligible for as long as you qualify. You can also use the "General Forbearance" to simply reduce your payment. You can cut your payment in half, if you so choose.
Americorps (CNCS) Forbearance: This forbearance allows you to stop payments temporarily if you are serving in an approved national service position. The forbearance form must be certified by the Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS).
Internship / Residency Forbearance: This forbearance allows you to depone or reduce the amount of your monthly payment for a limited and specific period of time if you have been accepted into an Internship / Residency Program.
Loan Debt Burden Forbearance: This forbearance allows you to depone or reduce the amount of your monthly payment for a limited and specific period of time if you provide acceptable documentation showing that your monthly payments for eligible education loan (s) exceeded 20% of your total monthly gross income.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Forbearance: This forbearance allows you to postpone your monthly payment for a limited and specific period of time while you are performing qualifying teaching service as a teacher in an eligible elementary or secondary school.
If you write your monthly checks to the US Department of Education, you may apply for a "General Forbearance" at: http://www.dlssonline.com
Student Loan Consolidation:
You can also go to the same site to have you student loans consolidated, provided you have US Federally Subsidized loans and you are currently making your payments to the US Department of Education.
The interest rate for a Direct Consolidation Loan, is the weighted average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated rounded to the near higher one-eighth of one percent. As of this writing, the current rate is somewhere around 6%.
Student loan consolidation can be very tricky, therefore I suggest you call the consolidation hotline 1-800-557-7392, to estimate your weighted average interest rate and to see what your loan payments might be.
Change Your Student Loan Repayment Plan:
If a forbearance or loan consolidation is not for you, you can always choose to select a "Graduated Repayment Plan" which can also be very low for the first couple of years. Either way, you do not have to starve to death to make those payments. Once you have your PIN number, you can simply go here: http://www.ed.gov/DirectLoan
… and you can change your payment option to "Graduated Loan Repayment Plan" to get the lowest possible monthly payments. That's all there is too it!