There’s No Guarantee the Lender Will Agree
You May Have to Pay Taxes
If you settle your debt, you ount since the IRS views the waived portion as income. If the discharged amount is more than $600, the loan holder will send you a 1099 form, and you’ll have to report it on your tax return and pay taxes.
Although you can make a compelling argument to your loan holder, there is no guarantee that they will agree to your settlement proposal.
Keep in mind that the borrower is legally bound by the promissory note they signed and a lender is under no obligation to accept a settlement and can instead choose to litigate to collect, says Mayotte.
Federal loans may be harder to settle than private loans, since the government can garnish the borrower’s wages without a court order. Private lenders typically have fewer tools available to collect online payday loans Rhode Island on the debt, commonly relying on lawsuits instead.
Alternatives to Student Loan Settlement
Student loans settlement shouldn’t be the first course of action. If you’re struggling to make payments, there are other ways to make your loans more manageable.
Before going into default, try to find ways to repay and work with your creditor, says Leslie Tayne, a student loan expert and founder of Tayne Law Group. Remember that defaulting on a student loan will damage your credit. However, resolving it can help improve your credit if done correctly.
Student Loan Rehabilitation
Federal loan borrowers that have defaulted on their loans may be eligible for student loan rehabilitation. It’s a process where you work out a payment amount with your lender and make nine payments on time within ten months.
Before you negotiate a settlement, try to rehabilitate your federal student loan to get it out of default, says Tayne. If you’re able to do it, the default will get removed from your credit report, which will bring up your credit score. You can also apply for an income-driven repayment plan to get more manageable monthly payments.
Income-Driven Repayment Plans
If you haven’t defaulted on your federal loans yet but are struggling to afford your payments, you can apply for an income-driven repayment plan. If approved, your repayment term will be extended and your monthly payment will be calculated based on a set percentage of your discretionary income.
Private loans don’t have the same benefits or processes as federal loans, but you may be able to get help if you reach out to your lender.
Some lenders have alternative payment plans or their own rehabilitation processes for borrowers experiencing financial hardships, so there may be ways to get back on track that don’t involve student loan settlements.
If you need help negotiating with your lender or coming up with a plan to repay your debt, contact a non-profit credit counseling agency for free or low-cost assistance. A debt counselor will review your situation and work with you to develop a plan to repay your loans.
- Discretionary: If you can’t afford the other settlement options due to extraordinary financial issues, you may qualify for a discretionary settlement. However, your loan servicer will have to submit the discretionary settlement proposal to the Department of Education for its approval.
If you successfully settle the loans, the default will be removed from your credit report. However, the account will show up as a settled debt. Settled accounts note that you didn’t pay the full amount, and they’ll stay on your credit report for seven years. Having a settlement on your credit report could make it difficult to qualify for other forms of credit.