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Graduate School (Blog or Resources)

A Physical Therapist’s Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

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As a physical therapist, you play a critical role in people’s lives. You help them manage their pain, improve their range of motion, and recover from serious injuries. It’s a serious profession that requires specialized education, so it’s no wonder that its job outlook is expected to grow much faster than the typical career. 

 

By Kat Tretina

 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapists’ median salary is $89,440, far higher than the national median wage for all occupations. However, debt is a major problem for new physical therapists since the field requires advanced degrees and professional licenses. 

 

The American Physical Therapy Association reported that nine out of ten physical therapy graduates have education-related debt, with an average balance of $116,000. Graduate and professional degree loans tend to have high interest rates. But since you have a higher-than-average income, you’re a prime candidate for student loan refinancing. 

 

Why student loan refinancing makes sense for physical therapists

While student loan refinancing* can be an effective tool for managing debt for many borrowers, it can be especially useful for physical therapists for the following reasons. 

 

1. You may not qualify for loan forgiveness

With Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), federal loan borrowers can qualify for loan forgiveness if they work for an eligible non-profit for 10 years while making 120 monthly payments under a qualifying payment plan.

 

While some physical therapists work for non-profit organizations or hospitals, many choose to work in private practice because it may offer more earning potential. 

 

If you work for a private practice, you aren’t eligible for PSLF. Refinancing your loans would cause you to lose your eligibility for PSLF, but if you’re in private practice and ineligible for it anyway, that’s not a drawback you have to consider. 

 

2. You likely had to take out private student loans

With such an expensive degree, you likely hit the borrowing cap on Direct Unsubsidized Loans and had to take out PLUS Loans, which have higher interest rates, or you used private student loans to finance your education. 

 

With private loans, you don’t have access to benefits like loan forgiveness or income-driven repayment plans. When you refinance private loans, you won’t lose any federal benefits. In fact, you may even get a servicer that offers more benefits. For example, ELFI offers forbearance for up to 12 months for borrowers facing financial hardships. 

 

3. You may have high-interest debt

Graduate and professional degree loans tend to have the highest interest rates. For example, Grad PLUS Loans issued before July 1, 2020, had an interest rate of 7.08%. Over time, that high rate can cause you to pay thousands more than you initially borrowed. 

 

Benefits of refinancing your debt

As a physical therapist, there are many advantages to refinancing your student loans. 

 

1. You can save money

Since you likely have a substantial amount of student loan debt, you can save a significant amount of money by refinancing your loans. If you have good credit, or a cosigner willing to apply for a loan with you, you can qualify for a loan with a lower interest rate. Over time, that lower rate will allow you to save thousands of dollars. 

 

For example, let’s say you graduated with $116,000 in PLUS Loans at 7.08% interest and a 10-year repayment term. By the end of your repayment term, you will repay $46,198 in interest charges on top of what you originally borrowed. 

 

If you refinanced your loans and qualified for a 10-year loan at 4.75% interest, you’d pay just $29,948 in interest charges. By refinancing your student loans, you’d save $16,249 over the life of your loans. 

 

chart displaying original vs. refinanced loan

 

Use the student loan refinance calculator to find out how much you could save by refinancing your loans with ELFI.* 

 

2. You can pay off your student loans sooner

When you refinance your loans, you can choose a new loan term. In general, the lowest interest rates are reserved for shorter loan terms. If you want the lowest rate possible, opt for a rate of five or seven years rather than ten, 15, or 20 years. 

 

With a shorter term and a lower rate, you’ll save more money over your repayment term. And, you’ll be out of debt years earlier. With your loans paid off, you’ll be free to pursue your other financial goals, like saving for a house or boosting your retirement nest egg. 

 

3. You can reduce your monthly payments

If you refinance your loans and qualify for a lower interest rate or extend your repayment term, you can significantly reduce your minimum monthly payment. If you’re struggling to make ends meet right now, especially when you’re just starting out in your career, the ability to get a smaller payment can be a significant relief. It can give you some breathing room in your budget for rent or other necessities.

 

As your career progresses and you get more financially secure, you make extra payments on your loans. Or, you can even pay them off early without a prepayment penalty. 

 

Managing your student loan debt

For a physical therapist, student loan refinancing can be a smart strategy for tackling debt. You likely had to take on six-figures of student loan debt to pay for school, so refinancing your loans can help you secure a lower rate and save money over time. You can use ELFI’s Find My Rate tool to get a quote without affecting your credit score.*

 


 

*Subject to credit approval.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, and More: Getting the Most Out of Student Discounts

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Student life can be expensive, but the good news is, most businesses are aware of that. Many provide college student discounts and special offers.

 

With the new school year rapidly approaching, now is the time to take advantage of the many deals available to you. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of student discounts to help you save some money during college.

 

Music Streaming Services

If you’re into streaming music, you’re in luck. Many music streaming services provide large discounts to students. Apple Music, Spotify, Youtube Music, and Tidal all offer 50% discounts to students for up to eight semesters. Some subscriptions even offer additional benefits, for example, Spotify provides student members with access to both Hulu and Showtime.

 

Apple

Apple is currently offering a variety of back to school deals for students or and teachers. Qualifying product purchases, including many models of MacBooks and iPads, come with a free pair of AirPods.

 

Amazon

Let’s be honest. We all love two-day free shipping. What a wonderful feeling it is to order something and have it delivered to your door in what feels like no time. The good news is, Amazon offers a Prime Student discount. After a six-month free trial, students can access Amazon Prime for $59 a year.

 

In addition to two-day free shipping, a prime student membership includes access to Prime Video and Amazon Prime Music. Canceling a membership is easy, so even if you don’t choose to pay for the membership, it’s worth taking advantage of the six-month free trial.

 

Best Buy and Other Tech Retailers

If you’re on the market for some new tech, don’t miss Best Buy’s student discount program. From TVs to TI-84s, Best Buy offers student discounts on a variety of products. A number of other tech retailers, including Logitech and Lenovo, also offer student discounts.

 

Clothing Retailer Discounts

If you’re a fashion icon, these retailers have your back. JCrew, Banana Republic, TopShop, H&M, and many other clothing retailers offer student discounts of around 10%-15%. Retail discounts will occasionally stack with other promotions, as well. For even better deals, check out your local Goodwill, as they, too, often offer student discounts.

 

Software Discounts

A number of companies provide student discounts on software. For instance, Adobe offers a 60% discount on their Creative Cloud software for students. Github also provides a number of developer tools at discounted student rates. If you’re into producing music, Ableton Live offers a student discount. For note-takers, Evernote offers their premium accounts at a 50% student discount. If you’re not looking to spend any money, check with your college to see if they provide any free software. For example, many colleges provide access to Creative Cloud programs and the Microsoft office suite, accessible through your .edu email.

 

News Sites

Several newspapers offer student discounts for current college students. The New York Times offers a discounted plan for students at $1.00 a week, which includes online access to the newspaper’s complete archives and articles. The Wall Street Journal offers a comparable student discount for digital access to the newspaper, and an additional option at $10 a month to receive a print copy of the newspaper six days a week.

 

Service Discounts

When you think of service discounts, senior discounts often come to mind. Several service-based industries, however, also offer student discounts. Many museums offer free or reduced admission to students. Several movie theater chains such as Regal and Cinemark also offer student discounts.

 

If you’ve caught the travel bug, don’t forget to keep an eye out for travel discounts. Amtrak, for example, offers regional student discounts. Greyhound has a similar program, offering 20% discounts to students. Student airfare is even up for grabs, so make sure to check with your airline before you buy your tickets.

 

Car Insurance Discounts

It’s no secret that car insurance is expensive for young people. Fortunately, many car insurance providers offer student discounts to help balance some of that cost. These discounts vary by provider, but often include discounts for good grades.

 

If you participate in any campus-sponsored activities, keep an eye out for organization-based discounts. For instance, Geico offers discounts to members of some fraternities, sororities, and honors societies.

 

Cell Phone Plan Discounts

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless all offer special student pricing. Several of them also offer student phone discounts. However, these discounts vary, so it’s best to check with your cell service provider and university to find out what discounts are available for students.

 

UNiDAYS

UNiDAYS is a great website for finding college student discounts on almost anything. It functions as a platform that shows student discounts as well as verifies the student. It makes it easy to apply student discounts to wherever you shop regularly.

 

By no means is this a conclusive list of all student discounts. If you’re curious whether a place you frequent offers student savings, the best thing you can do is ask. The discounts add up over time, so take advantage of them whenever you can.

 

If you’ve already graduated and you’re looking to save a little money, you may be out of luck on the student discount front. However, there are other ways to save money after graduation. One such option is refinancing student loan debt. Check out your student loan refinance options with ELFI.*

 


 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

Should You Refinance Student Loans After Medical Residency?

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Congratulations! You’ve graduated from medical school and completed your residency. You are most likely earning substantially more than you were as a medical resident. If you are focusing on paying down your student loans now that you are earning more, you might be wondering whether refinancing your student loans following residency is a good idea. In many cases, it can be a smart move. But there are important things to consider when deciding whether to refinance following medical residency.  

 

By Caroline Farhat

 

In 2018 the average student loan debt for a new medical graduate was $196,520. With the average medical resident salary of $61,200 per year in 2019, it may seem impossible to chip away at the debt balance. But after residency when the average salary for a family physician is $239,000, paying off your student loans can become much more manageable. But once you start thinking about your other financial priorities such as purchasing a house, starting a family, or saving for retirement, suddenly the loans seem like they will never be fully paid off. To combat this, refinancing student loans after you complete your residency can be a great way to reduce the loan amount you owe, making it easier to pay them off more quickly.  

 

What to Consider When Deciding Whether to Refinance After Residency

Here are the factors to consider when deciding whether to refinance your student loans after medical residency.

 

Student Loan Forgiveness

If you completed your residency at a non-profit hospital and think you will continue to work for a non-profit or government entity, you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness. If you have federal loans and are considering entering the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, refinancing your federal student loans to private loans would not be a good option for you since private loans are not eligible for forgiveness under that program. With only 46% of medical graduates planning to work towards student loan forgiveness, this may not be a big factor for many, but it is something to be aware of. The PSLF requires 120 on-time payments while you work in a qualifying non-profit organization or government entity. Only certain federal loans and payment plans qualify for the program. Once the criteria are met, the remaining balance of your student loans is forgiven. At this time, taxes would not be owed for the forgiven amount, however, legislation is frequently introduced to change the program terms. 

 

Your Loans During Residency

How did you handle your student loans during your medical residency? Did you put them in deferment or forbearance? Did you already refinance them? If your loans were in deferment or forbearance they most likely accrued interest, meaning you will be facing more debt to contend with. Although the balance may seem intimidating you may be able to stop the high interest from accruing by refinancing and qualifying for a lower rate. If you have already refinanced, you may qualify for a lower interest rate now since you have increased your income.

 

Your Financial Goals

Your financial goals and timeline are factors that will determine if refinancing after residency is a smart decision for you. Will you continue to live like you are in residency and be able to use your additional income to quickly pay off your student loans? Or is it your financial goal to purchase a home once your residency is completed? If you have other financial goals you want to focus on in addition to paying off your student loans, refinancing would be beneficial to save you extra money per month. Retirement savings is important to focus on since new physicians may be in their 30s when they finish residency. Refinancing earlier and having extra money to save for retirement while you are still young allows you to catch-up on your retirement savings and take advantage of compounding interest.    

 

In addition, refinancing can allow you to shorten the length of your loan. This will not only save you in interest costs over the life of the loan, but it also helps you pay off your loans faster.  

 

Your Current Financial Status

When deciding whether now is the time to refinance, take into account your financial status. Do you have a strong credit score and a good credit history? These are just some factors that are analyzed by lenders to determine your interest rate on a new loan. Lenders usually require a minimum credit score in the 600s, at ELFI the minimum required score is 680. But if you are looking to score a lower interest rate you want a credit score in the high 700s. Lenders will also want to see three years of good credit history. If your finances need a little improvement, refinancing right after residency may not be a good time because you may not see much savings. However, a financially prudent cosigner may be able to help you qualify for a lower rate. If you are already rocking a high credit score and strong credit history, refinancing after residency could save you money now. 

 

Your Current Income

If you are now earning a physician’s salary, instead of your medical resident salary it may be a great time to refinance. When you apply to refinance student loans, your debt-to-income ratio is calculated and helps determine your interest rate. The lower your ratio the better. All your debt is taken into account, including mortgage, car payment, student loans and credit cards. Most lenders will require a ratio of 50% or lower to qualify for refinancing. 

 

For example: if your debts are student loans of $2,000 per month, mortgage of $3,000 per month, auto loan of $500 per month, and credit cards of $200 per month, your total monthly debts are $5,700 per month. If your monthly income is $14,000 per month your debt to income ratio is $5,700/$14,000 = 40.7%.  

 

If you want to see how much you could save by refinancing, use our Student Loan Refinance Calculator to get a custom calculation of your potential savings.* You can also see how shortening the loan term could help pay your loans off faster and save you more interest over the life of the loan. 

 

Conclusion

For many physicians, refinancing student loans after residency will be advantageous. But be sure to consider your own circumstances and finances to determine what would be most beneficial for you. Either way, having a plan to tackle student loan debt is always a good start!

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

A Nurse’s Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

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As the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted, nurses play a critical role in our healthcare system, caring for patients, coordinating treatments, and keeping detailed records. 

 

By Kat Tretina
Kat Tretina is a writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

The demand for skilled nurses is only going to grow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for registered nurses is projected to increase by 12% by 2028, much faster than average. And, nurses can command high salaries. As of 2019, the median salary for registered nurses was $73,300 per year, significantly higher than the median wage for all occupations, which is just $39,810. 

 

While you likely had to take out student loans to pay for your nursing education, your higher-than-average income makes you a strong candidate for student loan refinancing. Consolidating your debt can allow you to save money and pay off your loans sooner so that you can focus on your other financial goals. 

 

Why you should refinance student loans after nursing school

Becoming a registered nurse typically requires only a bachelor’s degree. But if you want to become an Advanced Practice Nurse, nurse administrator, or nurse educator, you’ll need a master’s degree

 

Graduate student loans tend to have higher interest rates than other types of education loans, causing more interest to accrue and your loan balances to grow over time. For example, the interest rate on federal Grad PLUS Loans disbursed between July 1, 2019, and July 1, 2020, is 7.08%. 

 

If you have high-interest debt, refinancing can help you tackle your loans and lower your interest rate. With a solid income as a nurse and a good credit history — or a cosigner willing to apply for a loan with you — you can qualify for a lower rate and save money over the life of your repayment term. In fact, our customers reported that they saved an average of $272 every month and should see an average of $13,940 in total savings after refinancing their student loans with ELFI. 

 

How to refinance nursing school loans

You can refinance your nursing school loans in just five steps: 

 

1. See if you meet the lender’s eligibility requirements

Refinancing lenders all have their own borrower criteria, so it’s a good idea to review their requirements ahead of time to ensure you’re eligible for a loan. At Education Loan Finance, you must meet the following conditions: 

  • You must have at least $15,000 in student loans
  • You must earn at least $35,000 per year
  • Your credit score must be 680 or higher
  • Your credit history must be at least 36 months old
  • You must a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved college or university
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • You must be the age of majority — 18 years old, in most states — or older 
  • You must have a debt-to-income ratio low enough that you can afford your monthly loan payments

 

2. Consider asking a cosigner for help

When you apply for a refinancing loan, the lender will perform a credit check. If you don’t have an extensive credit history, or if your credit score is too low, you may not be able to qualify for a loan on your own, or you may not qualify for a competitive interest rate. 

 

However, there is a workaround — you can add a cosigner to your loan application. A cosigner is a parent, relative, or friend with good credit who signs the loan application and assumes responsibility for the loan if you fall behind on the payments. Having a cosigner increases your odds of the lender approving you for a loan and qualifying for a lower rate. 

 

3. Get a rate quote

To find out what kind of loan terms you can get, use ELFI’s Find My Rate tool. By entering basic information about yourself, you’ll get an estimated rate in just a few minutes without affecting your credit score.* 

 

You can see how different factors, like loan term and choosing a variable or fixed interest rate, can affect your monthly payment and total repayment amount. 

 

4. Gather documentation

Once you find a loan that works for your budget, you can move forward with the loan documentation. To speed up the process, make sure you have the following documents on hand: 

  • Recent pay stub or proof of employment
  • W-2 forms
  • Tax returns (if self-employed)
  • Government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license
  • Loan account information, such as loan servicer name and account number
  • Current loan billing statement or payoff letter

 

5. Submit your loan application

To complete the application, you’ll have to enter personal information about yourself, including your address, birthdate, and Social Security number. You’ll also have to include information about your employer and income. 

 

Once you submit the application, ELFI’s team will review the form and contact you with either an approval or denial. Until the loan is approved and disbursed, continue making payments to avoid late fees and penalties. 

 

6 other options for managing your loans

While student loan refinancing can be a smart way to pay down your loan balance and save money, it may not be right for you. If you decide against refinancing your education debt, there are alternative strategies for managing your loans. 

 

1. Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program

Under the Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will pay up to 85% of your unpaid nursing education debt. In exchange, you must commit to working for at least two years in a critical shortage facility or serve as nurse faculty in an eligible school of nursing. For more information, visit the HRSA website

 

2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

If you work for the government or a non-profit organization, such as some hospitals, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness through PSLF. Under PSLF, the government will forgive your federal loans after you work for an eligible employer for ten years while making 120 qualifying monthly payments. 

 

To find out if your employment and loans are eligible for loan forgiveness, use the PSLF Help Tool

 

3. State student loan repayment assistance programs

To recruit nurses to work in areas with shortages of healthcare workers, some states offer student loan repayment assistance programs in return for work commitments. 

 

For example, registered nurses in Kentucky can receive up to $20,000 in tax-free loan repayment assistance if they agree to work for two years at a location in a rural and underserved area. 

 

In Florida, nurses can receive up to $4,000 for every year they work at a designated employment site or facility. Eligible nurses can participate in the program for up to four years, and get up to $16,000 in loan repayment assistance. 

 

To find out if your state offers a similar program, visit your state’s department of health or education websites. 

 

4. Income-driven repayment plans

If you took out federal student loans to pay for your undergraduate or graduate degrees and can’t afford your current monthly payments, you might be eligible for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. With an IDR plan, your loan servicer will extend your repayment term and base your payment on your family size and discretionary income. 

 

Federal loan borrowers can apply for an IDR plan online. 

 

5. Use your sign-on bonus to make extra payments

Depending on your location, you may be eligible for a sign-on bonus. In some areas, nurses are in high demand, and understaffed hospitals and healthcare companies offer sign-on bonuses to attract talented nurses to work for them. You could qualify for a bonus of $10,000 or more on top of your regular salary. 

 

According to AdventHealth, a major hospital network, sign-on bonuses for nurses aren’t usually issued as upfront payments. Instead, they’re broken up into installments over a service period, such as four payments over two years. But if you use those payments to make extra payments on your student loans, you can save money on interest and pay off your debt early. 

 

You can find nursing jobs that offer sign-on bonuses on Indeed

 

6. The Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act

On May 5, 2020, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat in New York,introduced the Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act. If passed, this bill would discharge all federal and private loans belonging to healthcare workers who interacted with COVID-19 patients, including doctors, nurses, and technicians. 

 

The bill’s future is unclear, but it does signal that there is growing pressure on lawmakers to help healthcare workers — especially those on the frontlines of the pandemic — pay down their student loan debt. 

 

Repaying your student loans

As a nurse, your career is taxing enough; don’t let your student loans weigh you down. Student loan refinancing can give you significant relief from your debt. You can save money, pay off your debt, and even lower your monthly payment. 

 

To find out how much you can save, use the student loan refinance calculator.*

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.  

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

MBA Graduate’s Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

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If you decided to get a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree to advance your career, you know just how expensive business school can be. According to the Princeton Review, the average cost of tuition can exceed $130,000. 

 

By Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

To pay for your advanced degree, you may have taken out Grad PLUS Loans or private graduate school loans, which tend to have higher interest rates than other forms of education debt. As of 2020, Grad PLUS Loans have an interest rate of 7.08%. With such a high rate, your balance can quickly grow due to interest charges. 

 

However, earning an MBA can have a significant impact on your earning potential. The National Association of Colleges and Employers projected that the average starting salary for MBA grads in the class of 2020 will be $79,043, which is far higher than the average salary for all Americans. 

 

With a higher-than-average income, you’re a good candidate for student loan refinancing. By refinancing MBA debt, you may be able to secure a lower interest rate and save money over the life of your loans. 

 

How student loan refinancing works

To refinance your student loans, you take out a loan from a lender like Education Loan Finance for the total amount of your current debt. The new loan has different terms than your old ones. You’ll have a new interest rate, repayment term, and minimum monthly payment. And, you’ll have just one monthly payment and one loan servicer. 

 

For MBA graduates, student loan refinancing offers several benefits

 

1. You can save money over the course of your loan repayment

By refinancing your student loans, you can qualify for a lower interest rate. With a lower rate, less interest will accrue on your debt, allowing you to save money over the length of your repayment term. Depending on how much debt you have and your current interest rate, the savings can be significant. 

 

For example, let’s say you had $100,000 in student loan debt at 7.08% interest and a 10-year repayment term. By the time you paid off your loan, you would have repaid a total of $139,825. Interest charges would cost you nearly $40,000. 

 

If you refinanced your debt and qualified for a 10-year loan at 5% interest, you could save thousands. Over the course of your repayment, you’d pay a total of just $127,279. By refinancing your loans, you’d save over $12,500. 

 

Original Loan:

Loan Balance: $100,000

Interest Rate: 7.08%

Loan Term: 10 years

Minimum Monthly Payment: $1,165

Total Interest: $39,825

Total Repaid: $139,825

 

Refinanced Loan:

Loan Balance: $100,000

Interest Rate: 5%

Loan Term: 10 years

Minimum Monthly Payment: $1,061

Total Interest: $27,279

Total Repaid: $127,279

2. You can pay off your loans earlier

When you refinance your debt, you can get a lower rate. That means more of your monthly payment will go toward the principal instead of interest charges. If you keep making the same minimum payment that you had before you had refinanced your loans, you can pay off your loans months or even years ahead of schedule. 

 

For instance, let’s say you had refinanced the loan mentioned above. After refinancing, you had a 10-year loan at 5% interest and a minimum monthly payment of $1,061. But instead of making that monthly payment, you continued paying your old monthly payment — $1,165 per month. 

 

By keeping your old payment, you’d pay off your loan in under nine years — eliminating your debt over a year ahead of schedule — and save $3,250 in interest charges. 

 

3. You can reduce your monthly payments

If you have trouble affording your monthly payments after graduation, student loan refinancing can still be an effective solution. When you refinance, you can opt for a longer loan term, reducing your monthly payments. 

 

By lengthening your loan term, you’ll likely pay more in interest charges. But you’ll have more breathing room in your budget right now, helping you pay your bills when money is tight. As you progress in your career and earn more money, you can make extra payments to reduce interest charges. 

 

How to refinance your MBA debt in 4 steps

Refinancing your debt takes just a few minutes, and you can complete the entire process online in four easy steps. 

 

1. Check your eligibility for a loan

Every refinancing lender has their own requirements, so double-check their criteria to make sure you qualify. 

 

At ELFI, borrowers must meet the following standards: 

    • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
    • You must be the age of majority or older in your state (18 in most states)
    • You must earn at least $35,000 per year
    • You must have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher
    • You must have a credit score of 680 or higher
    • Your credit history must be 36 months old or older

 

If you don’t meet the requirements on their own, you can add a co-signer to increase your chances of qualifying for a loan and getting a lower interest rate. Please see our eligibility requirements for refinancing student loans for more information. 

 

2. Get a rate quote

Use the prequalification tool to get a rate quote and choose loan terms that work best for you. 

It has no effect on your credit score, and you can use it to see what interest rate you’d receive, pick between fixed and variable rates, and decide how long of a term you’d like.* 

 

3. Gather your documentation

To speed up the application process, gather necessary documentation ahead of time. To complete the application, you’ll need: 

    • Government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license
    • W-2, paystub, or recent tax returns
    • Loan statement or payoff letter

 

4. Submit your loan application

Once you find a loan that works for your needs, you can complete the full application. You’ll be asked to enter your full name, address, Social Security number, and employment information. If you plan to add a co-signer, you’ll be prompted to enter their name and email address. 

 

3 Alternatives to refinancing MBA debt

While refinancing can be helpful for some MBA grads with student loans, it may not be right for you. If that’s the case, there are other ways to manage your debt. 

 

1. Use your signing bonus to pay down your loans

Depending on where you went to school and where you end up working, you could be eligible for a signing bonus.

 

Some MBA employers use signing bonuses to recruit top candidates. According to U.S. News, the average signing bonus for graduates from top-10 business schools was $30,703.  Using that amount to pay down your debt could make a significant dent in your balance

 

2. Apply for an income-driven repayment plan

If you have federal student loans and can’t afford your payments, apply for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. If you qualify for an IDR plan, your loan servicer will extend your repayment term and reduce your monthly payment based on your income. After 20 to 25 years of making payments, your remaining loan balance will be forgiven.

 

3. Pursue loan forgiveness

According to U.S. News, MBA grads who work in the consulting industry usually earn $55,000 to $65,000 more than their peers in the non-profit or government sectors. If you decide to forgo a higher salary to pursue a career in public service, you could qualify to have some of your loans forgiven through Public Service Loan Forgiveness. 

To qualify, you must have federal student loans and work for a government agency or non-profit organization. You must be employed by an eligible employer for 10 years, and make 120 qualifying monthly payments.

 

Repaying your student loans

While an MBA can be a significant expense, the return on investment can be well worth it. If you have education debt, student loan refinancing can be an effective way to tackle your balance and save money. 

ELFI has some of the lowest student loan refinance rates available and flexible terms to fit your goals. Use the ELFI student loan refinance calculator to see how much you can save over the life of your loan repayment.* 

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

A Lawyer’s Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

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When Matt Sembach, an assistant public defender, graduated from law school, he had a mix of both private and federal student loans — some with interest rates as high as 10.75%.  

 

By Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

“In terms of law school, I took out an estimated $135,000,” he said. “When I graduated from law school, I owed about $147,000. The $147,000.00 figure is higher than the amount that I actually took out because my big loan was unsubsidized and the interest was accruing while I was still in law school.”

 

Sembach’s situation isn’t unusual. According to the AccessLex Institute, the vast majority of law school graduates borrow money to pay for school. On average, they leave school with $142,870 in student loan debt. 

 

While attorneys take on a significant amount of debt, their earning potential is immense. The National Association for Law Placement reported that the overall median first-year salary in private practice was $155,000 in 2019, a $20,000 increase from 2017. 

 

With large balances but six-figure incomes, lawyers are good candidates for student loan refinancing, especially if you have high-interest student loans. 

 

When refinancing law school debt makes sense

When you refinance your law school debt, you take out a loan from a lender like Education Loan Finance for the amount of your current debt. The new loan has different terms, including interest rate and length of repayment. 

 

While refinancing isn’t for everyone, it’s a good idea in the following scenarios: 

 

1. You have high-interest student loans

As Sembach found out, graduate, professional, and bar exam loans can have extremely high interest rates. Over time, those high rates can cause your loan balance to balloon, adding thousands to your loan cost. 

 

When you refinance your debt, you can qualify for a lower interest rate and save money over the life of your loan. 

 

2. You want to pay off your loans early

If you refinance your loans and qualify for a lower interest rate, more of your monthly payment will go toward the principal rather than interest charges. If you keep making the same payment that you had before you refinanced, you can pay off your loan months or even years early. 

 

3. You want to simplify your payments

If you’re like most graduates, you had to take out a number of different loans to pay for school. 

 

“When I graduated law school, I had 10 to 15 different loans that I needed to consolidate,” said Sembach. 

 

Unfortunately, that’s very common. Graduates often have several loans to manage, with multiple payment due dates and loan servicers to remember. 

 

By refinancing your debt, you consolidate your loan together. After that, you have just one loan and one payment to handle. 

 

4. You want to reduce your monthly payments

If your payments are currently too expensive, refinancing may provide you with some relief. When you refinance your debt, you can extend your repayment term. For example, if you are currently on a 10-year repayment plan, you could opt for a 20-year repayment plan. You’ll pay more in interest charges with a longer term, but your monthly payments will be much more affordable. 

 

5. You aren’t eligible for loan forgiveness

While student loan refinancing can be an effective tool for managing your debt, one of its biggest drawbacks is that you lose out on federal benefits when you refinance federal student loans. If you’re a public defender or work for a legal aid organization, you could be eligible for loan forgiveness through Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). But if you refinance your loans, you’ll lose your eligibility. 

 

However, lawyers who work in private practice or who have loans from private student loan lenders don’t qualify for PSLF. In that case, refinancing can make good financial sense. 

 

How to refinance your loans

Refinancing law school debt is surprisingly easy. Just follow these three simple steps: 

 

1. Check the eligibility requirements

Before refinancing, make sure you meet the lender’s eligibility requirements and collect the necessary documentation to speed up the process. With ELFI, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • You must have at least $15,000 in student loans
  • You must have a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • You must have a credit score of 680 or higher
  • You must have an income of $35,000 or higher
  • Your credit history must be at least 36 months old
  • Your degree must be granted by an approved post-secondary institution

If you don’t meet the criteria on your own, you may still be able to get a loan by adding a co-signer to your application. A co-signer is usually a parent, relative, or friend who applies for a loan with you and is responsible for making the payments if you fall behind. Adding a co-signer increases your chances of qualifying for a loan and securing a lower interest rate. 

 

2. Get a rate quote 

Before submitting your application, get a rate quote. With ELFI’s Find My Rate tool, you can get an interest rate estimate and view loan terms without affecting your credit score.* Once you find a loan that works for you, you can proceed with the application process. 

 

3. Submit your application

To complete the application, you should be prepared to enter personal information about yourself, including your name, address, Social Security number, employer information, and income. 

 

You’ll also need to submit documentation, including: 

  • A copy of a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license
  • Proof of income, like a W-2 or recent tax return
  • Bank account information if you’re signing up for automatic payments
  • Current billing statement or payoff letter for each current student loan

 

Alternatives to student loan refinancing

Refinancing can help you save money and pay off your debt early, but it’s not a great solution for all attorneys. If you don’t think that student loan refinancing is right for you, there are other ways to manage your debt more effectively. 

 

1. Apply for PSLF

One option is to pursue loan forgiveness through PSLF. For many borrowers, like Sembach, PSLF can be a powerful debt relief tool. Previously, Sembach worked in private practice. But he switched career tracks to take advantage of PSLF. 

 

“I pursued PSLF to help get rid of the debt,” he said. “I took a $10,000 pay cut when I left private practice to become a public defender, but I took the pay cut because of PSLF.”

 

To qualify for PSLF, you must have federal student loans and work for a qualifying non-profit organization or government agency for at least 10 years. During that time, you must make 120 qualifying monthly payments. If you meet those requirements, your remaining loan balance will be forgiven tax-free. 

 

2. Apply for an income-driven repayment plan

If you can’t afford your monthly payments and you have federal student loans, you may be able to reduce your payments by applying for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Under an IDR plan, your loan servicer extends your repayment term and sets your monthly payment at a percentage of your discretionary income. 

 

You can apply for an IDR plan online or by contacting your loan servicer over the phone. 

 

3. See if you qualify for repayment assistance

Some states try to attract talented attorneys by offering student loan repayment assistance programs. They will repay some or all of your student loans in exchange for a service commitment. 

 

For example, attorneys in Vermont who work for certain civil legal aid organizations can qualify for up to $5,000 per year in student loan repayment assistance from the Vermont Bar Foundation.

 

The American Bar Foundation hosts a database of student loan repayment assistance programs available all over the nation. You can search the database to find programs you may be eligible for near you.  

 

Repaying your student loans

As a lawyer, you likely have a significant amount of student loans. While your loan balance can be a burden, student loan refinancing can help you save money and lower your monthly payments.  

 

To find out how much you can save by refinancing law school debt, use the student loan refinance calculator.*

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. 

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

An Ophthalmologist’s Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

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Whether you have already achieved your dream of becoming an ophthalmologist or you are in the midst of your residency, the last thing you need to worry about is overpaying for your student loans. This guide will help you understand your different options so you can make the best financial decision for you and your future. 

 

By Caroline Farhat

 

Ophthalmologists and Student Loans

If you are part of the 73% of medical graduates with student loans, you may be facing an average of $192,000 in medical school debt according to a 2017 report from the Association of American Medical Colleges. While in residency, an ophthalmologist in 2017 was earning about $55,000 on average, but after residency, the average salary for an ophthalmologist is about $366,000 — making student loan debt much more manageable. 

 

Before looking into options available to you to help pay down your debt, it’s best to know the following information: 

  • The type of loans you have. There are different programs available to you based on whether you have federal or private loans. 
  • The balance of your loan, interest rate and term period remaining. With this information, it will be easier to determine what course of action can be the most beneficial for you. 

 

Options To Pay Student Loans

So how do you tackle the six-figures of student loan debt you may be facing? Outlined below are the different options you have. Depending on your types of loans, you may be able to do a combination of the options to maximize your payments.

 

1. Loan forgiveness

There are state and federal programs that provide loan forgiveness or payments towards your loans depending on the types of loans you have and the sector of your work. 

 

For federal loans one major program is Public Service Loan Forgiveness. This program forgives your remaining student loan debt after 10 years of qualifying payments while you work at a qualifying nonprofit hospital. There are specific requirements for this program including the type of federal loans, when you make payments for them to qualify and the payment plan you are on, so be sure to closely read the requirements! 

 

For federal and private student loans there are numerous programs that provide forgiveness up to a certain amount or payments for working in underserved areas for a certain period of time. 

 

The Association of American Medical Colleges has a helpful database with loan forgiveness programs to check out. 

 

2. Make payments during residency

Some may think forbearance is the only option due to the lower salary during residency and the large payments due on the loans. However, this may not be the best option since interest continues to accrue during forbearance. For federal loans, income-driven repayment plans may be a better option since it could significantly lower your monthly payment. Although your payment may not fully cover the interest accruing it will at least cut down on the amount the loan is increasing. 

 

3. Refinance student loans

Refinancing student loans can be a great option whether you have federal or private loans and especially if you have any variable interest rates on your loans. Variable interest rates are tied to the LIBOR rate and any changes to the rate could increase your student loan payment. 

 

Refinancing loans can reduce your monthly payment and save you interest over the life of the loan. For example: Say you have $150,000 of student loans remaining with the average rate for graduate loans at 7.08% with 15 years left on the term of the loan. Your payment would be $1,355 per month. If you refinanced to a new 15 year term loan and qualified for an interest rate of 4.35%, your new monthly payment could be $1,136 per month saving you $219 per month and $39,408 over the life of the loan. 

 

Check out our student loan refinance calculator to get a better idea of what you could be saving on your loans.* 

 

There are many lenders that provide student loan refinancing. When comparing the best student loan refinance companies be sure to look for no application fees, no origination fees and no prepayment penalties. It’s also good to read reviews about the company to be sure they have good customer service. 

 

At ELFI we never have application or origination fees and no prepayment penalty. You also receive a personal loan advisor to help with the refinancing process. 

 

Different lenders have different requirements for refinancing. In general you need: 

  • good credit score: minimum in the 600s. At ELFI we require a minimum of 680. 
  • solid length of credit history. At ELFI we require at least 36 months. 
  • be a U.S. citizen of the age of majority. 
  • must have obtained a degree from an approved post-secondary institution. 
  • a minimum amount of loans you are refinancing. At ELFI you need a minimum of $15,000 in loans to refinance. 
  • financial documents, including W-2 and recent paystub. 

 

4. Live like you’re a resident even after residency

Although your salary may be much higher after residency, it’s best to keep your expenses the same as when you were a resident. Create and stick to a budget based on your residency income and use all your additional income to put towards paying off your student loans. Not only will this help pay your loans off faster and save you interest in the long run but learning to live below your means will allow you to keep out of debt in the future and create a more stable financial future. 

 

Bottom Line

Becoming an ophthalmologist was hard enough. You should be incredibly proud of your accomplishment and not let student loan debt damper this exciting time. When you are facing six-figure student loans, it may seem difficult and never ending. But by researching options and making a plan you can tackle the debt effectively! 

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

A Veterinarian’s Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

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If you are a veterinarian or are in school to become one, you’re part of a growing field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for veterinarians is expected to grow by 18% by 2028, far higher than the average for all occupations. 

 

By Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

Becoming a veterinarian can be an expensive process. The American Veterinary Medical Association reported that the average amount of student loan debt for graduates was $143,000. 

 

However, you also have high earning potential. The median wage for veterinarians is $93,830, which is far higher than most Americans make. With a higher-than-typical income, you’re an excellent candidate for student loan refinancing, which can help you manage your debt and save money.

 

Why student loan refinancing is helpful for veterinarians

When you decided to go to veterinary school, you likely had to take out graduate and professional degree loans to pay for your education. Unfortunately, student loans for graduate degrees tend to have higher interest rates than other forms of debt. 

 

Even Grad PLUS Loans — a form of federal loan for graduate and professional degree students — have an interest rate of 7.08%. With such a high rate, your loan balance can quickly grow, causing you to owe far more than you originally borrowed. 

 

By refinancing your student loan debt, you can qualify for a lower interest rate, allowing you to save a significant amount of money. 

 

For example, if you had $143,000 in student loan debt at 7% APR and a 10-year repayment term, your monthly payment would be $1,660 per month. By the end of your repayment term — including interest charges — you would have repaid a total of $199,242.

 

If you refinanced your debt and qualified for a 10-year loan at just 5% APR, your monthly payment would drop to just $1,517, reducing your monthly payment by $144 per month. Over the course of your repayment, you’d repay $182,008. By refinancing your debt, you’d save over $17,000. 

 

Original Loans

APR: 7%

Loan Term: 10 Years

Minimum Monthly Payment: $1,660

Total Interest Paid: $56,242

Total Repaid: $199,242

 

Refinancing Loans

APR: 5%

Loan Term: 10 Years

Minimum Monthly Payment: $1,517

Total Interest Paid: $39,008

Total Repaid: $182,008

  

  

How to refinance veterinary school loans

You can refinance your veterinary school loans in four simple steps:

 

1. Review eligibility requirements

Make sure you meet the lender’s eligibility requirements. At ELFI, borrower’s must meet the following criteria: 

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident 
  • You have at least $15,000 in student loan debt
  • You make at least $35,000 per year
  • Your credit score is 680 or higher
  • Your credit history is at least 36 months old
  • Your degree was issued by an approved post-secondary institution and program of study

You can find the list of participating schools on ELFI’s eligibility requirements page.* 

2. Consider adding a cosigner

If you don’t meet the minimum eligibility requirements, or you want to improve your chances of qualifying for a lower interest rate, consider adding a cosigner to your loan application. Typically, you’d ask a parent, relative, or close friend to cosign the loan application with you. If you can’t afford the payments, the cosigner is liable for making them, instead. 

 

By having a cosigner, you boost the likelihood of getting approved for a loan and securing a competitive interest rate. 

 

3. Get a rate quote

Before submitting your loan application, get a rate quote so you have an idea of what kind of loan terms you can qualify for with a consolidation loan. With ELFI’s Find My Rate tool, you can get an estimated rate in just a few minutes without any impact on your credit score.* 

 

Once you find a loan term and interest rate type that works for your needs, you can move forward with the loan application. 

 

4. Submit your loan application

You can complete your loan application online. You’ll be prompted to enter basic personal information, such as your name, address, employer, and income. To speed up the process, make sure you have the following documents on hand: 

  • Paystubs
  • W-2 for the previous year
  • Government-issued ID

You’ll also need to know who your current loan servicer is, your account number, and your current loan balance. 

 

The entire application takes about 15 minutes to complete. Once you submit the application, ELFI’s underwriting team will review your information and will contact you with a decision and next steps. 

 

Until you receive a loan approval and notification and loan disbursement, make sure you keep making payments on your current student loans to avoid missed payments and late fees. 

3 other options for managing your loans

While student loan refinancing can be an effective way to manage your debt, it’s not a good idea for everyone. If that’s the case for you, there are some other options you can use to manage your loans: 

1. Income-driven repayment plans

If you have federal student loans, you may be eligible for at least one of the four income-driven repayment (IDR) plans:

  • Income-Based Repayment
  • Income-Contingent Repayment
  • Pay As You Earn
  • Revised Pay As You Earn

With IDR plans, your loan servicer extends your repayment term, increasing it from 10 years to 20 or 25 years. Your monthly payment is generally capped at a percentage of your discretionary income. Depending on your family size and income, you could dramatically reduce your monthly payments. 

 

After 20 to 25 years of making payments — depending on which plan you’re on — the remaining loan balance is discharged, but the forgiven amount is taxable as income. 

 

You can apply for IDR plans online

 

2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness

As a veterinarian, you may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) if you have federal student loans and work for a non-profit organization or government agency for at least 10 years while making 120 monthly qualifying payments on your debt. Payments made under an IDR plan qualify for PSLF, no matter how low they may be. 

 

After 10 years of making payments, your remaining loan balance is forgiven. The forgiven balance isn’t taxable as income. 

 

Use the PSLF help tool to see if your employment and loans are eligible for loan forgiveness. 

 

3. State student loan repayment assistance programs

Veterinarians are in hot demand, and many states are experiencing shortages of trained professionals. To recruit and retain veterinarians in high-need areas, some states offer student loan repayment assistance programs, where they offer help repaying your student loans. In return, you must agree to commit to work for a set period of time in a designated service area. 

 

For example, Minnesota operates the Rural Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program. Eligible veterinarians who agree to work for five years in a qualifying position can receive $15,000 per year in loan repayment assistance, up to a maximum of $75,000. 

 

Visit the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website to see if your state offers a similar program. 

 

Managing your student loans

If you need help tackling your debt, student loan refinancing can make a lot of sense. And ELFI can help you achieve your goals. In fact, NerdWallet ranked ELFI as the top lender for veterinary school loan refinancing, giving it a five-star rating. 

 

Use ELFI’s student loan refinancing calculator to see how much you can save by refinancing your student loans.*

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply. To see eligibility requirements, visit https://www.elfi.com/eligibility-requirements-to-refinance-student-loans/.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

A Doctor’s Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

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As a doctor, you likely racked up a significant amount of student loan debt to finish your education. According to the American Medical Association, 79% of medical school graduates have $100,000 or more in student loans.

 

Blog by Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

However, carrying six figures of education debt isn’t as dire for you as it can be for someone working in another field. As a doctor, you likely have a relatively high salary. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average salary for family and general practitioners is $211,780.

 

With your education and income, you’re a prime candidate for student loan refinancing. And, refinancing your debt can help you save money and pay off your loans early.

 

Why you should refinance student loans after medical school

When you have such a large amount of student loan debt, interest charges can have a significant impact on your balances. Over time, interest charges can add thousands to your loan cost.

 

Unfortunately, the interest rates on medical school loans can be quite high. Even if you qualified for federal Grad PLUS Loans, you can face steep rates. As of 2020, the interest rate on Direct PLUS Loans is a whopping 7.08%.

 

To put that rate in perspective, let’s say you had $100,000 in student loan debt at 7.08% interest and a 10-year repayment term. Your monthly payment would be $1,165 per month, and by the end of your loan term, you will repay a total of $139,825. Interest charges would cost you over $39,000. Pretty scary, right?

 

When you refinance medical school loans, you may qualify for a loan with a lower interest rate. Or, you can extend your repayment term if you want a more affordable monthly payment. Depending on what option you choose, the savings can be significant.

 

If you refinanced your loans and qualified for a 10-year loan at 4.5% interest, your monthly payment would drop to $1,036 per month. However, you’d pay just $124,366 over the length of your loan. By refinancing your debt, you’d save over $15,000.

 

How to refinance medical school loans

You can refinance your medical school loans in four simple steps:

 

1. Find out if you meet the eligibility requirements

First, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements to refinance student loans. As a baseline, you must:

  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from an approved college or university
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Be at the age of majority — 18 years old, in most states — or older
  • Have a good credit history
  • Have a minimum credit score in the upper 600s

 

2. Consider asking a cosigner for help

If you’ve just started practicing, you may not have established your credit history yet, or you may not be making much money. If that’s the case, consider asking a cosigner for help. A cosigner is a friend or relative with good credit and income who agrees to sign the loan application with you. If you don’t make the minimum payments on time, the lender will go to the cosigner for them, instead.

 

While a cosigner isn’t required, adding one to your application can improve your chances of qualifying for a loan and getting a low interest rate.

 

3. Get a rate quote

Next, get a rate quote to see what kind of terms you can qualify for. With ELFI’s Find My Rate tool, you can get an estimated rate in just a few minutes without any impact to your credit score.*

 

4. Submit your loan application

Once you find a loan that works for you and your budget, you can move forward with the application.

 

You’ll need to provide your personal information, as well as information about your loans and employer. You’ll need to have your recent pay stubs or W-2 forms on-hand, and you’ll have to submit a copy of your government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license.

 

Once you complete the application, ELFI will review your information and will contact you with a decision. Until you find out you’re approved and the loan is disbursed, keep making the payments on your existing debt to avoid late payment fees and penalties.

 

5 other options for managing your loans

Refinancing student loan debt can be a great way to improve your finances, but it’s not for everyone. If you decide that student loan refinancing isn’t a good fit for you, there are a few other options for managing your debt:

 

1. Federal income-driven repayment plans

If you have federal student loans — such as Grad PLUS Loans or Direct Unsubsidized Loans — you may be eligible for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. With IDR plans, your loan servicer will extend your repayment term and reduce your monthly payment. Your new payment is dependent on your loan balance, income, and family size. Depending on your situation, you can significantly lower your payment amount.

 

You can apply for an IDR plan online.

 

2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you work for a non-profit hospital, organization, or government agency, you may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). With PSLF, the government will forgive your remaining loan balance after making 10 years’ worth of qualifying payments while working for an eligible employer.

 

However, not many people will meet the PSLF criteria. In fact, 99% of PSLF applicants were rejected last year.

 

To prevent any issues, use the PSLF Help Tool to find out if you meet all of the qualifications for loan forgiveness.

 

3. State student loan repayment assistance programs

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get some help with your debt through state student loan repayment assistance programs. Some states offer healthcare professionals money to repay their loans in exchange for a service commitment to work in a high-need area.

 

For example, doctors who live and work in Kansas can receive up to $95,000 to repay their student loans. In return, you must agree to work in an approved facility in a health professional shortage area.

 

To find out if your state operates a student loan repayment assistance program, visit the Association of American Medical Colleges’ website.

 

4. Locum tenens work

Another option is to take on locum tenens work. With this approach, you fill in for another physician on a temporary basis. Some terms can be for just a few days, while others can last for months.

 

Why is this a good idea? It can be lucrative. Qualified professionals can earn large bonuses, which you can use to make lump sum payments on your debt.

 

You can find locum tenens work — and sign-on bonuses — on the American Academy of Family Physicians’ website.

 

5. Live like you’re still in your residency

Now that you’re no longer in residency, it may be tempting to spend some of your new income on a larger apartment or a better car. However, it’s a good idea to continue living like you’re still in residency to limit your expenses. By keeping your living costs low, you can free up more money for debt repayment.

 

Managing your student loans

As a healthcare provider, you likely have a substantial amount of debt. If your student loans are causing you stress, refinancing your medical school loans can be a smart way to manage your debt. Use the student loan refinance calculator to find out how much you can save by refinancing your student loans.*

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

The Reality of Dental School Debt and How to Manage it

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Choosing to become a dentist is an admirable decision, no matter how you look at it – from helping improve patients’ appearance and self-confidence to teaching patients how to achieve oral health and prevent disease, a dentist’s work goes beyond the chair and impacts lives.

 

With this being said, the burden undertaken by dental professionals is often overlooked when considering the seemingly hefty salaries associated with the career path. By “burden”, of course, we mean the hefty amounts of student loan debt. According to the American Dental Education Association, the average debt per graduating dental school senior was $285,184 in 2018, with over 80% of dental school graduates facing over $100,000 of student debt. This average debt is over 4x higher than it was in 1990. 

 

This staggering level of debt may seem overwhelming at first, but rest assured that with a little research, planning, and use of resources, dental school debt can be tackled – but first, let’s look at how this debt impacts individuals pursuing a career in dentistry. 

 

Difficulty Choosing Career Path

Massive debt often makes it difficult for aspiring dentists to choose the career path they truly want. To begin with, the majority of dental schools require a bachelor’s degree to attend. Already carrying undergrad debt, full-time dental students can then expect to finish their dental degree within four years and become licensed. However, if they want to pursue one of the nine recognized specialties, they’ll have to undergo more schooling in addition to their general practice or specialty dental residency. Each of these decisions can be heavily affected by the anxiety of accumulating more debt, often leading students to settle in their career choice. 

 

Accumulating Interest

If you decided to take the route mentioned above and end up with the average amount of dental school debt (about $285,000), you’ll be facing monthly payments of $3,800 on a standard 10-year repayment plan, assuming a 6% interest rate (the rate for federal graduate unsubsidized student loans disbursed between July 2017 to July 2018). And it gets worse – if you paid your loans over this 10-year term, you would pay $171,000 in interest alone – making the total cost settle somewhere around $456,000. 

 

Difficulty Starting Career

Because of the overwhelming amount of debt new dentists face, starting their career isn’t a stress-free experience. New dentists often have to work through lunch, take more patients and take less time off to accelerate the repayment of their loans. This can lead to exhausting patterns that cause burnout. Not to mention, a large portion of dentists begin dental school with the end-goal of starting their own practice, and this cost can easily surpass $250,000. Recouping this cost while trying to pay off debt can be extremely burdensome. However, choosing the route of starting a private practice is the fastest way to start paying down debt. Private practitioners typically earn higher incomes and have more earning potential than dentists working for another organization. 

 

How Long Does it Take for Dental School to Pay Off?

When taking into consideration missed earnings, a dentist who graduated with the average amount of debt ($285,000) will have invested about $570,000 into dental school. This is assuming they would have made $55,000 per year that they were in dental school (the average pay for a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, which is common for pre-dental graduates). 

 

This table from Student Loan Hero shows that with a typical entry-level dentist salary of $118,800 and a five percent yearly increase in earnings, it would take about eight years for a dentist’s earning potential to offset the cost of dental school:

 

chart explaining the amount of time it would take for dental school to payoff vs. not attending dental school

Source: https://studentloanhero.com/featured/dental-school-debt-worth-it/

 

The bright side? That dental school investment is generating an extra $90,000 in income by that 8-year mark, and that differential will likely continue to increase.

 

Pay Off Dental School Debt Sooner

Despite the quantity of debt associated with dental school, the consensus is that paying it off is achievable. Depending on your situation, there are specific actions you can take to make paying off your dental school debt more manageable. If you can’t afford monthly payments and don’t mind paying for an extended period, you can apply for federal income-driven repayment. This will likely extend your payment term from 10 years to 20 or 25 years, but your remaining balance will be forgiven at the end of your repayment period. For dentists working in the public sector, specific underserved areas or non-profits, you may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. This program offers tax-free loan forgiveness to borrowers who pay on their loans for 10 years while working in one of these areas. Keep in mind that less than 1 percent of student loan borrowers who applied for the PSLF program have qualified, so it may not be as simple as it sounds.

 

Tackle Debt Quicker and Pay Less by Refinancing

If you’re in a position where you’re not happy with your interest rate, have solid credit, and want to reduce the amount you’ll pay monthly and over the lifetime of your loan, refinancing your dental school loans is probably your best bet. This is especially true if you’re having success in the dental field and want to pay off your loans quickly. While refinanced loans aren’t eligible for income-driven repayment or Public Service Loan Forgiveness, they can significantly reduce your interest rate, in turn reducing your monthly and lifetime payment. 

 

In clearer terms, let’s say you have $200,000 of student debt from dental school and are paying 6% interest on a 10-year term. Your monthly payment would be about $2,666 and you would pay $320,000 over the lifetime of your loan. 

 

Refinancing to a 10-year loan term at a 4% interest rate would save you $40,000 in total and reduce your monthly payment by $333. Your new monthly payment would be $2,333 and you would pay $280,000 over the life of the loan.

 

Education Loan Finance offers great rates when it comes to refinancing dental student loans – Check out our student loan refinancing calculator to see how much refinancing your dental school loans with ELFI could save you. 

 

Have questions? Our Personal Loan Advisors are available to guide you through every step of the refinancing process. Give us a call at 1-844-601-ELFI and see why we’ve been voted #1 in customer service for student loan refinancing. 

 

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*Subject to credit approval. See Terms & Conditions. Interest rates current as of 9/16/2019. The interest rate and monthly payment for a variable rate loan may increase after closing, but will never exceed 9.95% APR. Interest rates may be different from the rates shown above and will be based on the term of your loan, your financial history, and other factors, including your cosigner’s (if any) financial history. For example, a 10-year loan with a fixed rate of 6% would have 120 payments of $11.10 per $1,000 borrowed. Rates are subject to change.

 

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