Posts Tagged: ‘Parent PLUS Loans’

Study Finds Parent PLUS Loans to African American Families Can Be Predatory

June 1, 2018 Posted by kingcade

College is expensive and finding ways to pay for tuition and associated costs can be difficult for many students, as well as their family members. When options are limited, sometimes parents resort to taking out loans themselves to help their children pay for the costs of a higher education. Recently, one such loan has been criticized, the Parent PLUS loan for its terms and conditions, and also the effect it has on the parents who sign on the dotted line, not fully knowing what they are agreeing to.

A study recently issued by New America reports that a higher percentage of low-income African American parents rely on the use of Parent PLUS loans more than low-income whites. The study recommends making the use of Parent PLUS loans off limits to any family of limited financial means and offering additional, and affordable federal loan options for lower income families.

Families often resort to the parent PLUS loans after their children have maxed out other federal loan options. Many of the features of Parent PLUS loans have given them the reputation of being a loan of “last resort.” The limits tend to be fairly generous, the underwriting limited and the interest rates high.

The repayment options that parents are given on these loans are very limited, which only increases the risk that the borrower parents will default on the loan obligation. By having parents take these loans out, creates a level of “intergenerational debt” that can be crippling.

An additional problem with Parent PLUS loans have been the fact that lenders have issued these loans without evaluating the borrower’s ability to repay them. Without properly qualifying the borrower, issuing the loan simply puts them in a situation where he or she ends up falling behind on payments.

These loans were originally intended for families with more financial resources and in higher income tax brackets whose children may not qualify for need-based aid. In fact, most of the PLUS borrowers are from families earning more than $75,000 annually, many of them coming from upper class, Caucasian families with only 10 percent of Caucasian families earning less than $30,000 taking out these loans. However, for African American families, one-third of these individuals who have ended up taking out a PLUS loan earn less than $30,000, which is the opposite of what the study found with Caucasian families in the same tax bracket.

Because of the high fees associated with these loans, repaying the Parent PLUS loans can be difficult. If the parent is already struggling to make monthly payments, few options exist for that parent when it comes to repayment options. Currently the only income-based payment plan is an income-contingent repay (ICR) plan. To qualify, the parent must convert the loan into a federal Direct Consolidation Loan, and the minimum monthly payment in an ICR is normally 20 percent of that person’s disposable income. The monthly payment may be lower, but the interest rate does not decrease. At some point, it becomes nearly impossible for that parent to get caught up.

The study recommends making these loans off-limits to families in the lower-income categories and encourages the Department of Education to allow students from these brackets to borrow more from themselves rather than resort to having their parents take out these types of loans.

The study also recommends no longer allowing schools to characterize these loans as “aid” in financial aid award letters. They also recommend requiring parents who take these loans out to complete counseling that makes it abundantly clear to them that these loans are their sole obligation and not their children, as well as explain the terms of the loans so that they are clearly understood.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available.  Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. There are ways to file for bankruptcy with student loan debt.  It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

The Student Loan Crisis Facing Older Americans

January 13, 2017 Posted by kingcade

When we think of those struggling with student loan debt, we typically think of millenials still living with their parents.  However, many boomer parents are struggling, too.  According to a report from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), older Americans are carrying an “unprecedented amount of student loan debt into retirement.”

In 2015, older consumers owed an estimated $66.7 billion in student loan debt.  Nearly 867,000 borrowers 65 and older owed federal student loans in 2015, now the fastest growing segment of student loan borrowers.

With these new findings, it seems the education debt crisis and retirement are closely tied.  A growing number of older borrowers are struggling to make their loan payments, oftentimes due to reduced incomes in retirement.

A growing number of federal student loan borrowers age 65+ had their Social Security benefits reduced or offset because of unpaid student loans – 8,700 in 2005 and 40,000 in 2015.   The vast majority of the older borrowers, approximately 73%, took out student loans to finance their children’s or grandchildren’s education.  Many of these loans were taken out under the Parent PLUS Loan Program, with a current interest rate of 6.31%, the only federal program that allows parents to borrow for the undergraduate education of their children.

Here are some tips for older borrowers struggling with student loan debt:

If you have co-signed your child or grandchild’s student loan, request the servicer send you an account statement so you can learn the outstanding balance and pay off the loan.

If you are struggling to make federal student loan payments, you may qualify for a payment plan that can substantially cut your costs.  For example, if you retire and your income drops substantially, you can apply for an income-based repayment plan.  This could reduce your payments and even suspend them.

Click here to read more on this story.

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Parents with poor credit: Beware of this Student Loan Rule Change

February 5, 2015 Posted by kingcade

There has been much criticism that federal student loans are too easy to get and that borrowers can take on large amounts of debt with little verification that they can ever pay it back. The Department of Education has announced new regulations that are aimed at one type of federal loan that currently does not require a credit check- Parent PLUS Loans.

PLUS loans are available to parents to help provide financing for children who do not qualify for enough financial aid on their own. But there are no specific limits on the amount that can be borrowed under this program- other than that parents cannot borrow more than the total cost of their child’s education after other financial aid has been deducted.

In the final regulations issued by the Department of Education, which go into effect March 29, 2015 borrowers who have an “adverse credit history,” may find it harder to qualify for these type loans. The evaluation will take into account whether the borrower has:

• One or more debts that are 90 days or more delinquent with a total outstanding balance larger than $2,085;

• Accounts placed for collection or charged off in the two years before the credit report is pulled;

• Bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off of a federal student loan debt in the past five years.

PLUS loans can be dangerous and are often accompanied by higher interest rates than other federal loans and fewer flexible re-payment options. For example, one parent shared on Credit.com’s blog that he has $45,000 in outstanding parent loans, but only makes $28,000. His children are unable to help him repay the loan at this time.

These changes are likely going to make parents look harder at the true burden of student loan debt and the potential return they are getting with taking out these loans. Parents thinking about borrowing money to help their children pay for college would be wise to review their annual credit reports to identify any discrepancies and think twice about whether PLUS loans are the best option.

Click here to read more on this story.
http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2015/02/02/student-loan-rule-change-that-could-hurt-parents-with-bad-credit/

For borrowers who are struggling with student loan debt, relief options are available. Many student loan borrowers are unaware that they have rights and repayment options available to them, such as postponement of loan payments, reduction of payments or even a complete discharge of the debt. It is important you contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at http://www.miamibankruptcy.com.