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Graduate School (Blog or Resources)

Engineering School Student Loan Refinancing

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Student loan refinancing is a fantastic option in many high-earning professions, and engineering is no exception. Most engineering students pursue bachelor’s degrees, and the average engineer’s student debt falls roughly in line with the national average of $35,173. 

 

While engineers work hard to earn their degrees, the payoff is oh, so worthwhile. The average entry-level salary for engineers is $57,506, and the average salary across all experience levels is $79,000. This varies by the type of engineering you choose, as well. Big data engineers are among the highest-paid in 2020, with a median salary of $155,000.

 

Engineering students are often top candidates for student loan refinancing because of their low debt-to-income ratios. Here are a few more things you should consider refinancing your engineering student loans:

 

Benefits of Student Loan Refinancing for Engineers

Student loan refinancing is a strategy that can help engineers better manage and pay off debt. When you refinance your engineering student loans, a private lender will “purchase” your debt from your original lenders. You can request rate quotes from several different lenders, then refinance with the one that offers you the most competitive rate. Decreasing your interest rate means you’ll pay less over the life of the loan.

 

Here are just a few of the benefits of student loan refinancing for engineers:

  • Ability to consolidate student loans into one monthly payment
  • Option to choose between fixed and variable student loan refinancing interest rates 
  • Chance to earn a lower interest rate, potentially lower than federal student loans 
  • Opportunity to change your student loan repayment term

 

To see how much you could save by refinancing your engineering student loans with Education Loan Finance, try our Student Loan Refinance Calculator.*

 

How to Refinance Engineering Student Loans

Refinancing your student loans is normally a quick and simple process, and you can apply in minutes at home. If you’re curious about the process of refinancing, take a look at our student loan refinancing guide.

 

Researching lenders has very few downsides. Most lenders prequalify applicants using a soft credit check, which won’t hurt your credit score. Just know that before you can officially refinance your loans, your lender will likely need to do a hard credit check.

 

Here are the next steps to take if you’re thinking about refinancing your engineering student loans:

  • Figure out which how much or which loans you’d like to refinance. 
  • Make sure you meet student loan refinancing eligibility requirements.
  • Shop around and compare pre-qualified rates from multiple lenders. 
  • Submit an application to refinance your student loans 
  • Finalize the loan application by reviewing the loan terms & signing the documents provided by the lender. 

 

Alternatives to Pay Off Engineering Student Loans

If student loan refinancing doesn’t seem like the right fit, you have plenty of alternatives to explore. From student loan assistance to student loan forgiveness, engineers may qualify for a variety of repayment options.

 

Student Loan Forgiveness for Engineers

 

Select engineers may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). If you do qualify, you’ll make payments for a specified amount of time, normally 10 years, then the remaining balance will be forgiven. You will, however, still have to pay taxes on the forgiven amount.

 

Here are a few ways in which engineers may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness:

  • Working in areas of national need could provide up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness over five years of service
  • Working for a non-profit, government agency, or other eligible employers could provide loan forgiveness after 120 payments (10 years)
  • Working as a teacher could provide up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness if working at a low-income school or other eligible agencies

 

If you aren’t sure which is right for you, research student loan refinancing vs. PSLF. While both may help decrease your debt, it’s important to know how they compare before taking the next steps.

 

Income-Based Repayment Plans

If you don’t qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you may also choose to pursue an income-based repayment plan. These types of plans set a monthly payment as a percentage of your income. Income-based repayment may be a good fit for entry-level engineers who are still working toward higher salaries.

 

Here are a few types of income-based repayment plans available to engineers:

  • Pay-as-You-Earn (PAYE): PAYE plans are based on a percentage of your adjusted gross income and family size. They are available to individuals who borrowed after 10/1/2007, or those who received eligible Direct Loan disbursements after 10/1/2011.
  • Revised Pay-As-You-Earn (REPAYE): REPAYE plans are similar to PAYE plans, but do not have date restrictions on the loans. They do take your state of residence into consideration, however.
  • Income-Based Repayment (IBR): IBR plans require you to be experiencing financial hardship. If you qualify, they are based on a percentage of your adjusted gross income and family size.
  • Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR): Many individuals who can’t qualify for PAYE or IBR plans apply for ICR. These start as a percentage of your adjusted gross income, then grow as your income grows.

 

State Student Loan Assistance Programs

Engineers are highly valued in the professional world. Some states and private organizations have created student loan repayment assistance programs for STEM professionals, with the goal of encouraging students to pursue these careers.

 

If you’re an engineer looking for student loan assistance, here are a few examples of state-driven programs you may be eligible for:

  • Harold Arnold Foundation
  • Wavemaker Fellowship
  • North Dakota DEAL Loans

 

Employer Student Loan Repayment Assistance Programs

Some employers provide student loan repayment assistance as a job benefit, which operates similarly to a 401(k). You designate a certain dollar amount to your student loan payments each month, and your employer matches your contribution up to a cap amount. These types of benefits can help improve employee retention rates while supplying necessary financial aid.

 

Refinance Your Engineering Student Loans with ELFI

If you’re ready to refinance your engineering student loans, ELFI can help. By refinancing your engineering student loans with ELFI, you’ll enjoy benefits including:

  • No application fees 
  • No origination fees
  • No penalty for paying loans off early
  • If approved for refinancing, ELFI has a referral bonus program

 

Ready to get started? Learn more about student loan refinancing with ELFI and apply today: https://www.elfi.com/student-loan-refinancing/.*

 


 

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.

Common Resume Mistakes for Medical Professionals

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If you search for “medical resume template” online, you’ll find thousands of options, all very different. Which choice, though, will give you the best chance of earning your dream job? Keep these common resume mistakes for medical professionals in mind when you’re putting together your application, and you’ll already be a step ahead of many other candidates.

 

Write Your Resume for the Job You Want

Too many medical professionals make the resume mistake of assuming all jobs are looking for the same thing. This is, in fact, a huge logical fallacy, because although two jobs may be in the same industry, it doesn’t mean they’re looking for the same candidate. One danger of using an online medical resume template is winding up with a resume that’s a little too generic. Pay attention to make sure the format you’re using really highlights your medical skills.

 

For example, if you’re interested in becoming a physician at a hospital, you’ll want to show you’re comfortable with a variety of medical tasks, especially within a hospital setting. You’ll need to prove leadership experience, discipline, problem-solving skills and strong time-management capabilities. In a hospital environment, it’s important to be familiar with your tasks, but also to be prepared to pivot when the situation calls for it.

 

On the other hand, if you’re applying to become a podiatrist at a group medical practice, your day will likely be more specialized and structured. You’ll need to show experience in the field of podiatry, as well as the ability to provide exceptional patient care. Any hiring manager or supervisor will want to know you’re detail-oriented and that you can clearly explain to patients how to maintain at-home care and general wellness practices.

 

Some jobs even use an applicant tracking system to screen applications for specific keywords. Do some research before submitting your resume to a potential employer to make sure your resume is optimized. If the hiring manager is looking for keywords like “patient care” or “medical records,” you won’t want to miss these important bullet points.

 

Talk About Your Experience, Not Your Goals

Another common resume mistake for medical professionals is focusing on goals and objectives versus real-world experiences. You’ll want to be sure you’re formatting your medical resume to showcase your hard-earned experience.

 

In some professions, employers may be looking for someone trainable that can learn most of their job skills on-the-go. In the medical field, however, employers need the opposite. Because you’ll be providing healthcare to patients, knowing your field is far more important than having the ability to learn new skills from scratch.

 

Most jobs do require learning as you go, however, medical professionals are expected to bring some level of experience with them, even to entry-level positions. After all, you’ve put years of time and effort into earning a high-level degree, so you’ve likely graduated with a significant amount of knowledge. Unlike other professionals who learn many of their job skills after graduation, medical professionals graduate with the knowledge necessary to hit the ground running. Employers need candidates whose experience prepares them to do just that.

 

Share Quantifiable Evidence of Success

If you received an award, increased productivity by 10% or worked with 250 trauma cases during your residency, list those numbers on your resume. One common resume mistake for medical professionals is listing vague experiences without backing them up with quantifiable information. Be sure the way you present your experience highlights your medical skills and shows the impact of your work. Here’s an example of how to share your experience, as well as an example of how not to share:

 

How Not to Describe Your Medical Experience

“Spoke with several patients about their ongoing medical needs” doesn’t work, because it isn’t specific or quantifiable. Did you speak with five patients or 50? What did you discuss about their ongoing medical needs? While this likely describes months of hard work, without details, the hiring manager may miss what you’re trying to say.

 

How to Describe Your Medical Experience

“Conducted medical interviews with 34 new patients, with a 96% patient retention rate” is much more specific. It explains that you spoke with an impressive number of new patients, collecting details about their medical histories and ongoing needs. As a general practitioner, retaining this many patients is a huge win, as most patients stay with the same doctor for a long time.

 

Grammatical Mistakes: Missing the Forest for the Trees

Sometimes, when you’re so focused on getting the tiny details of your medical resume right, it’s easy to miss larger mistakes like spelling errors. Even if the information in your resume is fantastic, a misspelled word negates all your hard work.

 

Several employers will immediately toss resumes with grammatical errors, so be sure to proofread. For good measure, ask a friend or family member to look it over, as well.

 

The Bottom Line

Applying for jobs is hard work. If you can avoid these common resume mistakes many medical professionals make, however, you’ll stand out as a stronger candidate. Putting in extra time and effort on your resume will pay off when you receive follow-up calls for fantastic jobs. It will also differentiate you from other candidates, as well as from those using medical resume templates. After crafting the perfect resume, be sure to check out our tips for graduates entering the job market, as well.

 


 

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.

7 Actions to Take Before Your Grace Period Ends

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Congratulations! You graduated from college and have hopefully settled into the start of your career. If it has been almost 6 months since your graduation, it’s most likely your student loan grace period is nearing the end if you have federal student loans. Are you prepared for when your grace period ends? Luckily we have some actions you can take to prepare.   

 

If you have federal student loans, there is a six month grace period before you have to begin making payments after you graduate, leave school or drop below a half-time student. Not all federal student loans have a grace period. The loans that do include: direct subsidized and direct unsubsidized. PLUS loans for graduate school have a six month deferment period after graduation where payments are not required. Some private student loans also have a grace period but it may not be six months. Be sure to check with your lender to determine if any grace period exists. 

 

Actions to Take

Here are a few actions you should take before your grace period ends to ensure you are prepared.

 

Determine Your Debts

 

First, it’s important to understand the types of student loans you have. For example, do you have private or federal loans? If you have federal student loans, you’ll need to determine whether you have subsidized or unsubsidized loans. Subsidized loans mean the U.S. Department of Education will pay the interest on the loan during the grace period for most loans. (Note: If you have a direct subsidized loan that was disbursed between July 1, 2012, and July 1, 2014, you are responsible for the interest during the grace period.) If you have a Direct Unsubsidized loan you will always be responsible for the interest, even the interest accruing during the grace period. This means that if you don’t need the grace period you may want to think about at least paying the interest on the loan. 

 

Be sure to take stock of your other debts, such as a car loan or credit card payments, and their minimum payments.

 

Make a Budget

Determine a budget that includes your new student loan payment and all other debt payments. Once you determine your budget, start following it before your grace period ends. The money budgeted for your student loan can be put aside to use as an emergency fund. Or use the money you saved during the grace period to make a principal-only payment to get ahead on your repayment.  

 

Set Up Auto-Pay 

Another great action to take during your grace period is setting up auto-pay through your loan servicer. Setting up auto-pay will ensure your student loan payment is always made on time. Another great benefit of using the auto-pay feature is that federal student loans are given a 0.25% interest rate reduction. Some private student loan lenders also provide a discount for auto-pay so check with your lender if any discount is available. 

 

Establish a Debt Repayment Plan

Your grace period is a great time to establish a student loan debt repayment plan. A debt repayment plan will help you decide exactly how you will pay off your debts. There are two main types of student loan debt repayment plans, the snowball method, and the avalanche method. You have to decide which method would work better for your financial situation and motivation. Either method will be helpful if you have multiple student loans or other debts to pay off. Once you decide on your method, you will know how to allocate any extra money you have in your budget for debt repayment. When it comes time for your grace period to end you will be more than ready to start paying down your loans efficiently! 

 

Research Repayment Options

  1. If you have multiple student loans you can pay each loan, keeping track of each loan individually and their due dates. 
  2. Another option is to consolidate your federal loans into one loan. The average interest rate of the consolidated loans becomes the fixed interest rate on the new consolidated loan. This is consolidating your federal loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan through the U.S. Department of Education.  
  3. Refinance student loans. Once you start getting your finances in order you may realize your student loan payment is not going to fit in your budget or has a much higher interest rate then what is available now. That’s where refinancing your student loans can help. Refinancing your student loans means you will borrow a new private student loan to pay off any previous student loans (including federal and other private student loans). Refinancing can save you money because interest rates can be much lower than for federal loans. A lower interest rate means you are saving money in interest costs monthly and over the life of the loan. To find out how much you could save use our Student Loan Refinance Calculator.*

 

Learn About Borrower Protections and Programs

When you have federal student loans you are provided benefits that are not always provided by private student loan lenders. The grace period of your loans is a good time to find out about any federal borrower protections you may want to use in the future, such as deferment and forbearance for your loans. Also, if you work for a non-profit or government agency, your loans may qualify for forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. During the grace period, it is helpful to learn about the requirements for the program so when your payments begin you can be sure they qualify under the specific rules of the program.  

 

Learn About the Repayment Plans

If you are shocked by what your monthly payment will be on the standard repayment plan, check into the other student loan repayment plans provided for by the U.S. Department of Education. Certain loans are eligible for an Income-Driven Repayment Plan, where your payment will be based on your income. Or you can elect to have your loans on the Graduated Repayment Plan that will extend your loan term to provide for a smaller monthly payment. However, keep in mind that you will end up paying more interest over the loan term. 

 

The Bottom Line

Taking these actions will help you be prepared for the end of your grace period. You are already a step ahead by thinking about this now. This preparation will start you off on a bright financial future knocking out your student loans. Good luck!

 


 

*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.

Best Tips for Paying Off Medical School Debt

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Working as a healthcare professional can be lucrative, but the cost of your education can be overwhelming. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the average cost of medical school at a public university is $243,902, while the average price at a private school is $322,767. 

 

By Kat Tretina

 

With such expensive totals, most students have to borrow a significant amount of money to pay for school; the median amount of student loan debt for medical school graduates was $200,000 as of 2018. 

 

You could spend 20 to 30 years repaying your debt, and with high-interest rates, pay hundreds of thousands in interest charges. Paying off medical school debt can be challenging, but there are ways to manage your loans more effectively. 

 

7 best ways to pay off medical school student debt

Follow these tips to save money, reduce your monthly payments, or pay off your medical school loans early. 

 

1. Make payments during your residency

Many medical school students opt to defer their payments during residency so they can focus on this grueling stage of their education without worrying about their loan payments. However, deferring your payments can cause more interest to accrue on your loans, adding to your overall cost. 

 

If possible, make partial payments during your residency. The American Medical Association reported that the average first-year resident makes around $60,000, so you’ll have some income coming in that you can use. If you can’t afford to make full principal and interest payments, even making interest-only payments or flat $25 monthly payments can reduce charges and help you save money over the long run. 

 

2. Pursue Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

As a medical school graduate, you may qualify for loan forgiveness through PSLF if you work for a non-profit hospital, medical facility, or government agency. If you have federal student loans and work for a qualifying employer full-time for ten years while making 120 monthly payments, your remaining loan balance will be forgiven tax-free. The following loan types are eligible for PSLF: 

  • Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Unsubsidized Loans
  • PLUS Loans
  • Direct Consolidation Loans 

 

3. Apply for an income-driven repayment plan

If you have federal loans and cannot afford your monthly payment under a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan, apply for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Under an IDR plan, your payment is based on your income and family size.

 

During your residency and while establishing your career — while your income is relatively low — an IDR plan will reduce your monthly payments. 

 

Plus, if you still have a balance after 20 to 25 years of making payments, the remaining loan balance is forgiven. However, the discharged amount is taxable as income. 

 

4. Use your physician signing bonus to make a lump sum payment

To recruit healthcare professionals, some hospitals and healthcare facilities offer signing bonuses. According to the American Medical Association, the average physician signing bonus is $32,692. If you’re eligible for a signing bonus, use it to make a lump sum payment against your student loan debt. It can make a significant impact on your balance and repayment term. 

 

For example, let’s say you left medical school with $200,000 in student loan debt at 6% interest with a 10-year repayment term. If you received a signing bonus of $32,692 and applied the entire amount toward your student loans, you’d pay off your loans 25 months ahead of schedule. Plus, you’d save $23,274 in interest charges. 

 

5. Research loan repayment assistance programs

If you’re willing to work in an underserved or rural area as a healthcare practitioner, you may qualify for loan repayment assistance and get some or all of your student loans repaid. There are national and state programs. For example, the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program provides primary care clinicians who serve for at least two years at approved sites with up to $50,000 in loan repayment assistance. 

 

For a list of potential loan repayment programs, check out the Association of American Medical Colleges’ database

 

6. Refinance your student loans

If you’re wondering how to pay off medical school debt faster, student loan refinancing* is one of the most effective techniques. When you refinance, you work with a private lender like Education Loan Finance to take out a new loan for the amount of your existing debt. If you have private loans or a mix of private and federal loans, you can consolidate them together and qualify for a new interest rate and loan term. 

 

If you have good credit, you may qualify for a lower interest rate, allowing you to save a substantial amount of money. How much could you save? Consider this example. 

 

If you had $200,000 in loans at 6% interest and a 10-year repayment term, you’d pay $66,449 in interest charges by the end of your repayment term. 

 

However, let’s say you refinanced your debt and qualified for a 10-year loan at 4.25% interest. Your monthly payment would drop, but you’d still repay just $45,850 in interest charges. By refinancing your loans, you’d save $20,599 in interest. 

 

Original Loan

Balance: $200,000

Loan Term: 10 Years

Interest Rate: 6%

Minimum Monthly Payment: $2,220

Total Interest Paid: $66,449

Total Repaid: $266,449

 

Refinanced Loan

Balance: $200,000

Loan Term: 10 Years

Interest Rate: 4.25%

Minimum Monthly Payment: $2,049

Total Interest Paid: $45,850

Total Repaid: $245,850

 

Use the student loan refinance calculator to find out refinancing could help you cut down on interest charges.* 

 

7. Make extra payments

Instead of making only the minimum payments, pay extra each month to reduce the interest that accrues. Over time, paying extra will help you save money and pay off your debt ahead of schedule. Increasing your payment by just $100 per month can make a difference, even if you have six-figures of student loan debt. 

 

With $200,000 of student loans at 6% interest and a 10-year term, your minimum monthly payment would be $2,220. If you increase your monthly payments by $100 — paying $2,320 toward your debt each month — you’d pay off your loans six months early. And, you’d save $4,147 in interest charges.

 

The bottom line

Medical school can be expensive, and if you’re like most students, you had to borrow money to pay for your education. 

 

Paying off medical school debt may seem intimidating, but you likely earn a good income with your degree. You have multiple options for managing your debt, and you are likely a strong candidate for student loan refinancing. 

 

If you decide that refinancing is right for you, you can check your rate online with ELFI.*

 


 

*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.

Earn What You’re Worth: How to Negotiate Your Salary During the Hiring Process

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If you just got that job offer you’ve always wanted – congratulations! That’s great news, but there is still more to do. Now, you enter the salary negotiation process. You want to be paid what you deserve, and you’re going to have to do a little work to ensure that you are. While there is no secret formula for the perfect salary negotiation, there are many ways to make your salary negotiation more successful. Here are 8 tips on how to walk out of a salary negotiation with the salary you want. 

 

Take Your Time

The first thing you should do after you receive a job offer is to request time to consider the offer. On the most basic level, this allows you time to decide whether to take the job, but it also provides you with time to develop a negotiation strategy based on the offer. Now is the time to think about things like the minimum salary you are willing to accept or possible benefits you would like. Keep these things in mind constantly throughout the negotiation process. 

 

Know Your Value 

The second step in getting the salary you deserve is knowing what you are worth to an employer. Take into consideration all of your experience, your location, your skills, certifications and leadership experience. All are important in calculating your value to your future employer. List out all these factors that make you valuable to an employer, and make sure that you will be able to clearly explain each of these factors to your potential employer. 

 

Do Your Research 

Before starting salary negotiations, it’s important to be prepared. You should look at the national average salary for your position, as well as what similar companies in your area pay those in your prospective position. Not only will you be prepared to make a good offer, but you will also look knowledgeable about the industry. 

 

Explain Your Value 

Now that you’ve done the research and listed what you bring to the table, it is important to use this information in salary negotiations. Clearly explain and justify the salary you are asking for. 

 

Another tip is to ask for slightly more than you expect. That way, if your employer negotiates down, you are still more likely to get a salary you are comfortable with. If they don’t negotiate down, then you’ll get more than you expected. It’s a win either way. 

 

 

Be Confident 

When you’re trying to sell a prospective employer on yourself, confidence is key. Confidence can fill any holes in experience or top off an already perfect applicant. It should be clear to both you and your employer that you know how much you are worth. After all, you have done the research and the preparation, and you will bring your value to your prospective employer. If that’s not worth being confident in, then few other things are. 

 

Be Likable 

While it may seem like a given, it’s worth noting that being likable will get you a long way. Your prospective employer will be far more willing to give you what you ask if you make your case in a likable way. On the flip side, being harsh and confrontational could jeopardize your job offer altogether. 

 

Consider Alternate Forms of Compensation 

There’s more to compensation than just money, so it’s important to be open to other forms of compensation as well. This is where you bring in the other possible benefits you thought of. You may be able to negotiate for extra vacation days, better stock options, work from home days or any number of other benefits. They may come at the cost of a little pay, but in the long run, they may also make you happier. 

 

Also, consider what you stand to learn. Especially early in your career, it may be worth taking a lower salary to work somewhere where you will be learning new, valuable skills regularly. Overall, the things you learn could prove to be more important than money. Of course, the decision of when to accept less compensation is completely up to you, and you should not be pressured into taking a low offer if you don’t truly feel that it would benefit you. 

 

If You Have to, Walk Away 

If your negotiations have hit a dead end and you are unable to negotiate an offer that you find suitable, then consider walking away. You should not start a job where you feel that you are not being fairly compensated. Your prospective employer will thank you for it. A disgruntled employee right off the bat is something no company wants. If you do walk away, remember to be gracious about it. As much time as you have spent negotiating, the prospective employer has spent just as much of their own time trying to hire you. 

 

Remember, don’t consider this failed negotiation as a waste of time. These things happen, and it will provide you with more experience for future salary negotiations, a recurring part of any career. 

 

The Bottom Line 

Salary negotiations can be stressful, but if you do your research, you should have no trouble acing them. Hopefully, you will come out with the salary you are looking for. 

 

With your new job, you may want to consider paying down your student debt, and a great way to do that is through student loan refinancing. Take a look at what it can do for you here.

 


 

**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 Pharmacist’s Guide to Student Loan Refinancing

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Becoming a pharmacist can be a lucrative career decision. However, it requires a significant amount of education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical entry-level education requirement for pharmacists is a doctoral or professional degree. To get the necessary degrees, you likely borrowed a significant amount of money. In fact,  the Pharmacy Times reported that the average student loan debt for pharmacists is over $163,000. 

 

By Kat Tretina

 

Despite the hefty student loan burden, your career path comes with high earning potential. As of 2018, the median salary was $126,120 per year. With such a large income, student loan refinancing is a smart strategy, especially if you work in the private sector. 

 

Why you should refinance pharmacy school loans

If you work in the private sector as a pharmacist — meaning you work for a pharmacy like Walgreens or CVS rather than a non-profit hospital or health organization — you’re ineligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, even if you have federal student loans. If you have high-interest student loan debt, that means you’re a prime candidate for student loan refinancing. 

 

Student loans for graduate and doctoral degrees tend to have the highest interest rates of any education loan. Even Grad PLUS Loans, a form of federal loan, have sky-high interest rates. For loans disbursed after July 1, 2019, and before July 1, 2020, the interest rate is a whopping 7.08%. With such a high rate, your loan balance can quickly balloon out of control. 

 

With student loan refinancing, you take out a loan from a lender like ELFI* for the amount of your combined existing debt. The new loan has completely different repayment terms, such as length of repayment and interest rate. Your old loans are consolidated together, so now you’ll have just one loan and one easy monthly payment. 

 

Benefits of refinancing pharmacy school loans

There are two main benefits to student loan refinancing

 

1. You can save money

With a pharmacist’s salary and good credit, you could qualify for a lower interest rate when you refinance your debt, allowing you to save a significant amount of money. 

 

For example, let’s say you had $163,000 in student loan debt at 7.08% interest and a 10-year repayment term. Over the course of your repayment, you’d pay back a total of $227,915; interest charges would add $64,915 to your loan cost. 

 

But let’s say you refinanced your debt and qualified for a 10-year loan at just 5% interest. You’d pay back a total of just $207,464. Refinancing your loans would allow you to save $20,451. 

 

Use the student loan refinance calculator to find out how much money you can save.* 

 

2. You can reduce your monthly payment

If you have a large amount of student loan debt, your monthly payments may be more than you can afford. If that’s the case, student loan refinancing can help make your payments more affordable. 

 

When you refinance your debt, you can opt for a longer repayment term. With a longer term, you may pay more in interest, but the tradeoff may be worth it to give yourself more breathing room with your cash flow. 

 

Let’s say you had $163,000 in student loan debt with a 10-year repayment term. At 7.08% interest, your minimum monthly payment would be a whopping $1,899 per month. If you didn’t qualify for a lower interest rate, but extended your repayment term to 15 years, you’d reduce your monthly payment to just $1,472 per month, freeing up $427 from your budget.

 

How to refinance pharmacy school loans

To refinance your loans, follow these four simple steps: 

 

1. Find out if you meet the eligibility requirements

Each refinancing lender has its own eligibility criteria. At Education Loan Finance, borrowers need to meet the following requirements: 

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

 

2. Ask a friend or relative to cosign the loan

If you don’t meet the minimum credit or income requirements, consider asking a friend or relative with good credit and reliable income to cosign the loan application with you. A cosigner shares responsibility for the loan with you, lessening the lender’s risk. Having a cosigner on the application increases your chances of getting approved and qualifying for a lower interest rate than if you applied on your own. 

 

3. Request a loan estimate

Before submitting a loan application, get an estimate so you know what interest rate and loan term to expect. With ELFI, you can get a rate quote without affecting your credit score so you can select the right loan that works for you.* 

 

4. Submit your loan application

Once you find a loan that matches your needs, you can complete the loan application. You’ll be asked to enter information about yourself, including your name, address, Social Security number, employer, income, and current loans. 

 

4 other options for managing your loans

While student loan refinancing can be a smart idea for pharmacists, it’s not for everyone, especially if you don’t work in the private sector. If you decide against refinancing your loans, you may be able to get some help with your student loan debt in the form of loan forgiveness, reduced payments, or repayment assistance. 

 

1. Income-driven repayment plans

If you have federal student loans and can’t afford your payments, you may eligible for at least one of the four income-driven repayment (IDR) plans. Under these plans, the federal government extends your loan term to 20 to 25 years and caps your monthly payments at a percentage of your discretionary income. Depending on the repayment plan, your income, and your family size, you could significantly reduce your monthly payment. Some borrowers even qualify for $0 payments. 

 

2. Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you have federal Direct student loans and work for a government agency or non-profit organization, you may qualify for loan forgiveness through Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). With PSLF, the government will forgive the remaining loan balance after you work for an eligible employer for 10 years and make 120 qualifying payments. 

 

3. Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program

The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) operates the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program. Under this program, eligible pharmacists can receive up to $100,000 in student loan repayment assistance. In exchange, you have to make a service commitment to work in a substance use disorder site with a health professional shortage area as designated by the NHSC. For more information, visit the NHSC website

 

4. National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program

Highly qualified pharmacists willing to commit to biomedical or biobehavioral research careers can receive up to $50,000 in student loan repayment assistance. In return, you must commit to working in a research area in an approved subject. Visit the National Institutes of Health website for more information. 

 

Repaying your student loans

If you’re a pharmacist with education debt, you should know that you’re an excellent candidate for student loan refinancing. Whether you want to save money or lower your monthly payments, refinancing your loans can help you achieve your goals.* 

 


 

*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 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.