Navient ranked consistently among the most hated student loan servicers. In fact, Navient Corp., a major private and federal student loan service provider, faces six lawsuits alleging it has harmed student loan borrowers throughout the repayment process. The cases are still pending, and might take years to finish.
If you have student loans, you may be interested in getting out of debt quicker or cutting down on your monthly loan payments. If you have loans serviced by the Navient company, you may have heard your student loans can be forgiven. While this may be true, forgiveness for the Navient student loans is more complicated than it sounds. It’s important to understand where you and your loans fit in.
There are many general student loan forgiveness programs that Navient borrowers may qualify for, however. Let’s take a look at the Navient loan forgiveness options available today.
Navient and Sallie Mae are now completely separate organisations, despite being once the same company. Forgiveness for Navient loans is not the same as forgiveness for the Sallie Mae loans.
Because of their history with Sallie Mae, however, Navient services a mix of private and federal student loans. You’ll want to know which kind you have. It makes a big difference in terms of which forgiveness programs you qualify for.
To find out what kind of student loans you have with Navient, you can contact them directly or conduct a “Financial Review” on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). If you have federal student loans, those loans will be eligible for all of the federal forgiveness programs. But private student loans won’t be. Private student loans may be eligible for forgiveness through state or profession-specific student loan forgiveness programs.
Navient student loan forgiveness for federal loans 2020
If you have federal Navient student loans 2020, here are three forgiveness options that are available to you.
1. Income-driven repayment forgiveness
Currently, the Department of Education offers four income-driven repayment (IDR) plans.
Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Plan
Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan
Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan
Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan
With each of those arrangements, once you reach the end of your repayment schedule, you will be prepared for Navient student loan forgiveness. You will be eligible for forgiveness within 20 to 25 years depending on the plan you choose, but you will want to remain vigilant to ensure that your payments are handled correctly. And each year, you’ll have to recertify your salary and family size.
And, note, if you seek forgiveness, you’ll owe income tax on the amount you’ve been forgiven. So if IDR forgiveness is your strategy, make sure you save a little money on the tax bill that’s coming down the road each year.
2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness
If you work in the public sector, such as for the government or a non-profit organization, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), is probably your best student loan forgiveness option. With PSLF, you can earn tax-free student loan forgiveness in as little as 10 years (or 120 qualifying payments).
If you’re working in the public sector, such as for government or a non-profit organization, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) may be your best option to forgive student loans. With PSLF you can earn forgiveness for tax-free student loans in as little as 10 years (or 120 qualifying payments).
It should be noted that FedLoan Servicing is the exclusive PSLF service provider, meaning you can qualify for this program only if FedLoan is your service provider. But don’t worry if you are presently with Navient.
3. Teacher Loan Forgiveness
Teachers can receive up to $17,500 of Navient student loan forgiveness through the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.
But to qualify, you’ll need to be considered a “highly qualified” teacher. And you’ll need to teach five consecutive years in a low-income school or educational service agency.
It’s important to point out that PSLF and Teacher Loan Forgiveness don’t mix well. In many cases, you may be better off sticking with PSLF.
4. Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Discharge
This type of loan forgiveness is available to borrowers who are unable to make their student loan payments due to total and permanent disability.
How to Apply for Navient Student Loan Forgiveness in 2020
Navient makes it easy to apply for repayment plans and other forgiveness options. When you log into your Navient account online, click the link to apply for income-driven repayment, and enter your information. You can also use the government issued forms to apply for each forgiveness program.
Income-Driven Repayment Plan Application
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Application
Disability Discharge Application
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Application
Remember that since Navient is your loan servicer, it manages your loan repayment process and is there to help you apply for and switch repayment plans. If you have questions regarding repayment plans, Navient is who you want to contact.
What to Do if You Have Private Navient Student Loans
While private Navient student loans aren’t eligible for Navient student loan forgiveness, there are some private student loan forgiveness options. This includes private loan assistance programs, like those offered to health care providers by the National Health Service Corps, as well as refinancing and negotiating lower monthly payments.
Most loan servicers, including Navient, would rather work with you to find a repayment plan that works than see you default on your loan because you’re unable to pay.
Get Rid of Navient by Refinancing
If you don’t qualify for any of the above programs — or even if you do — you may want to consider refinancing your Navient student loans. By refinancing, you could kill two birds with one stone.
It’s your chance to kick Navient to the curb, and you may save money on student loan interest, too. So, while refinancing isn’t technically student loan forgiveness, it could be your best Navient student loan strategy.
But how can you know when refinancing is the right move? Here are questions to ask yourself:
1. Will you be eligible for federal forgiveness soon?
If you’re just starting repayment, refinancing could save you a lot of money over the life of your loans. But if you’ve already made three years of payments toward Teacher Loan Forgiveness or five years of payments toward PSLF, that changes the discussion completely. If you’re already well on your path toward earning Navient student loan forgiveness through a federal program, you should avoid refinancing.
If you do choose to stay with Navient, make sure you’re on the right repayment plan and filing your taxes the right way. You should also be vigilant in making sure that Navient is handling your loans correctly.
2. What is your financial situation?
When you refinance student loans, you become ineligible for IDR options and federal forbearance or deferment. In other words, you’ll have less payment flexibility with private loans. Rain or shine, those bills will just keep on coming. So do you have an emergency fund in place? If not, you may want to reach that goal before refinancing your student loans.
There are two other financial factors to consider: your credit score and debt-to-income ratio. If you have a credit score over 650 and you owe less than 1.5 times your income, you could be a prime candidate for refinancing. Otherwise, you may want to wait.
3. Have you achieved career stability?
If you only expect your income to grow over the next few years, refinancing could be a great move. IDR plans will become progressively less helpful as you make more money. Plus, you’ll be shackled to your student loans for 20 years or more and you’ll pay a lot more in interest.
But if your job situation is unstable, you may want to stick with federal student loans. Knowing that IDR is available if you were to need it can be a comfort. And if your job situation stabilizes, you can always refinance later.
4. What is a Loan Servicer?
Loan servicing is the handling and billing of a loan. The servicer of a loan works with the borrower to establish repayment plans and consolidate or refinance when necessary. Your servicer is the one you contact if you have any questions or concerns about your loan. Both federal and private student loans are managed by loan servicers.
5. Is Sallie Mae same as Navient?
Part of the confusion surrounding Navient loans comes from Navient’s relationship to Sallie Mae. While Sallie Mae and Navient originated from the same company (called Sallie Mae), they are two different and independent corporations. This means that Sallie Mae loans aren’t Navient loans, and Navient student loans aren’t Sallie Mae loans.
Navient student loan forgiveness even in 2020 doesn’t exist specifically. Instead, your Navient loans may qualify for loan forgiveness with the federal government’s loan forgiveness and repayment programs.
If you have Navient loans and you want to get out of debt faster or reduce your monthly loan payments, you may be able to qualify for a federal loan repayment or forgiveness program.
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