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Is it safe to rely on the SAVE Plan?

Student loan forgiveness has been a contentious, hot-button issue in U.S. politics for years and now many people are counting on it.

To put this into perspective, more than 50% of borrowers are seeking — or receiving — loan forgiveness. To break it down further, 18% have already received forgiveness on one or more loans, while 21% are waiting on approval. In addition, another 22% are likely to apply for student loan forgiveness, according to the Civic Science study.

The Biden-Harris administration’s SAVE Plan promises a clearer path to student loan forgiveness.

It’s an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, meaning that your monthly payments are commensurate with your income. It’s something that nearly one-in-two borrowers are already enrolled in or plan to enroll in.

As a SAVE Plan borrower, if you’ve already made payments for at least 10 years, and you originally took out $12,000 or less to pay for college, enrollment in the plan means forgiveness of your remaining balance. For every additional $1,000 you initially borrowed over $12,000, a borrower receives forgiveness after an additional year of payments.

In addition, all borrowers on the SAVE Plan receive forgiveness after 20 or 25 years of payments depending on whether they have loans for graduate school, regardless of their remaining outstanding balance.

But what happens if you don’t repay your student loans at all? This can result in defaulting on your loans, which will wreak havoc on your finances and negatively impact your credit score.

If you’re facing financial challenges, a job loss, or high medical expenses, it’s better to request a period of deferment or forbearance to avoid negative financial consequences.

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Other ways to eliminate your student debt

According to the Civic Science study, 58% of respondents revealed that they have concerns about paying off their student loan debt. Of those, 26% said they are “very concerned,” while 32% said they are “somewhat concerned.”

However, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Here are three other ways to take control of your student loan debt:

Aggressively repay your loans: If you have the financial means, you might want to consider paying down your loans faster and more aggressively. This will save you from further interest payments and help you crush your student loans without relying on forgiveness.

Refinancing your loans: Choosing to refinance your federal student loans can potentially result in lower interest rates, which can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. If you have a high credit score, you’re more likely to qualify for favorable interest rates if you refinance.

Take advantage of income-driven repayment (IDR) plans: Similarly to the SAVE Plan, IDRs could result in lower monthly payments (depending on your income) and a path to eventual forgiveness. However, you’ll need to carefully consider your personal (and family) total income before opting for an IDR plan. A higher total income could result in a larger monthly payment than you might be used to.

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Adam Palasciano Freelance Writer

Adam Palasciano is a freelance contributor to Moneywise.

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