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TISLA in the News

04/02/2024

FFELP student loan forgiveness: Routes to relief, plus alternatives if you don’t qualify

Whether you should consolidate FFELP loans comes down to your specific situation and plans for loan forgiveness.

“Some FFELP borrowers should absolutely consolidate into the Direct Loan program to take advantage of things such as PSLF and … the one-time account adjustment,” said Betsy Mayotte, president and founder of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, a donor-based organization.

Thanks to this adjustment, you don’t have to worry about losing credit for past loan payments — as long as you apply by April 30, 2024. After this date, however, consolidating FFELP loans will mean resetting the clock on your progress toward loan forgiveness.

03/28/2024

Do This by April 30 if You Want Loan Forgiveness This Year

In the past, consolidation could reset your payment counts to zero for IDR and PSLF forgiveness. That’s no longer always the case.

If you meet the April 30 consolidation deadline, your consolidation loan will get credit for the oldest underlying loan. For example, if you’ve been repaying a commercially held FFELP loan for 18 years, and a direct loan for five years, your new consolidation loan would get 18 years of IDR forgiveness credit after the adjustment.

“The most common example is somebody who goes to undergraduate, gets loans for undergraduate, then they take a break and go into repayment. And then years later, they go back for their graduate degree and they take out new loans,” says Betsy Mayotte, president and founder of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors.

03/28/2024

Delays in federal financial aid form leaves students in limbo during college acceptance season

To understand what’s going on, we need to go back to 2020, when Congress ordered an update to what used to be considered a notoriously difficult and complex FAFSA form, hoping to expand federal student aid to more low income students. The new application now has only 50 questions, compared to the 108 questions on the old form. It’s also designed to make more generous calculations for financial aid eligibility.

But the revamp meant the new applications weren’t available until Dec. 31 last year, three months later than usual. And it wasn’t until last Sunday that colleges first began receiving the federal data they need to put together these financial aid packages, which has left many students and their families frustrated, confused and, by some accounts, giving up hope altogether.

In addition to the delayed form, many families experienced difficulties with the new system.

“Unfortunately, the result of that is we’re seeing a significant decline in the number of families filling out the FAFSA,” Mayotte said. “In fact, it’s estimated that by the time this all shakes out, FAFSA submissions might be down by as much as 30%.

I’m very confident that the errors that we’re seeing are going to shake out, and in the end, these families will be okay. But I do worry, and I think the industry as a whole is worried about that 30% that may, as you put it, just throw up their hands for this year.”

In response to these problems, Mayotte said colleges and universities are being encouraged to extend their deadlines beyond May 1 to give students more time to figure out financial aid.

03/22/2024

Student loan forgiveness may come for 380,000 borrowers, Biden says. How to know if you qualify

If you’re not enrolled in a program that leads to student loan forgiveness, you can find “great information” on the U.S. Department of Education’s website, Studentaid.gov, about the different opportunities, said Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, a nonprofit.

Mayotte said students should “read all the things. They can also contact their loan servicer to talk about their potential eligibility and steps they may have to take to qualify.”

03/21/2024

Women with student loan debt face ‘multiple financial pressures,’ expert says. These tips may help with repayment

“We find that women borrowers tend to have multiple financial pressures that contribute to their student loan struggles,” said Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, a nonprofit that helps borrowers navigate the repayment of their debt.

“Over 63% of the borrowers that reach out to us for advice are women,” Mayotte added.

03/21/2024

When will your student loan be forgiven?

“If you get any emails that say they can get you student loan forgiveness for a fee or promise forgiveness is a scam. Look up your loan servicer number, call them directly, and ask them any questions you may have,” said Betsy Mayotte, President of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors.

The place to go if you have a question about your loan, who your servicer is, or what your payment is StudentAid.gov.

Mayotte says you should expect to hear about monthly emails going out that automatically forgive loans for those borrowers who are enrolled in the SAVE plan, have made at least 10 years of payments, and borrowed $12,000 or less originally.

03/19/2024

How to figure out when (and if) you’ll get student loan forgiveness

If you’re not enrolled in a program that leads to student loan forgiveness, you can find “great information” on the U.S. Department of Education’s website, Studentaid.gov, about the different opportunities, said Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, a nonprofit.

Mayotte said students should “read all the things. They can also contact their loan servicer to talk about their potential eligibility and steps they may have to take to qualify.”