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Women and Student Loan Debt

October 12, 2018

The cost of college has been on a slow increase since about 1976, and it’s no wonder the cost of student loan debt has too, seen a hike. According to AAUW the cost of college has increased 148% since then. Student loan debt has been estimated to total around $1.5 Trillion according to the Federal Reserve. Women prove to hold more than half of student loan debt. Let’s take a look at some factors that could be causing women to keep more student loan debt than men.

Women and Student Loan Debt

Women Less Likely to Refinance Student Loans

Refinancing student loans can help to achieve a lower interest rate and consolidate multiple loans. Refinancing also allows borrowers to change the repayment period, so they are paying less over the life of the loan. According to Student Loan Hero research, of the women who have heard about student loan refinancing, only 6% have proceeded to refinance their student loans. By not refinancing, women are subject to long payment periods that could end up costing them more over time.

 

Lack of Opportunity

Women are shown to have less executive or leadership roles in companies when compared to men. Research by Pew Research Center shows that woman hold only 10% of top executive positions. That leaves 90% of the remaining leadership positions for men. With mostly men in high ranking positions, it seems reasonable to assume that men, in general, would be making larger salaries than women due to a higher percentage of men in executive positions.

 

Student Loan Refinance Head Barbara Thomas’ Advice to Those Caught in the Gender Gap

 

Missed Work Hours

A possible reason for women holding more student loan debt is that they may be getting paid less because of their time off. Women have traditionally held the majority of the parenting responsibility. If a child was sick or ill it was usually the female who would stay home with the child or that is what traditional gender roles would assume. Pew Research has shown that parenting can hurt your earnings. Time away from the office dealing with children could be not only a reason for less pay but a lack of ability to pay student loan debt down faster.

 

Women Get Paid Less

The pay gap between men and women varies based on location, but women still make less than men. Can you believe it in 2018 women are still fighting for their right to be equal? According to information provided by the US Census Bureau, women earn 19.5% less than their male counterparts. In some states like Louisiana, the gender pay gap is a whopping 30%. In states like New York, it is only 11%.

 

Lack of Financial Literacy

According to CNBC women are shown to be less financially literate than men. If women make poor choices with their money, it could end up costing them in the long run, causing women to have more substantial student loan debt than men. Women are two times more likely to see their student loan debt as “unmanageable” according to Student Loan Hero.

 

Refinancing student loans is a great option for those with student loan debt. If you qualify for refinancing you can change repayment dates and possibly get a lower interest rate. An added benefit for those with multiple loans is that if you choose to refinance all your loans you’ll only have to make one payment a month instead of multiple payments. Refinancing your student loans can help to eliminate student loan debt faster depending on the repayment terms you select. Let’s start lowering the number of men and women with student loan debt!

 

Click to View Our Student Loan Refinancing Guide

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2020-04-03
This Week in Student Loans: April 3

Please note: Education Loan Finance does not endorse or take positions on any political matters that are mentioned. Our weekly summary is for informational purposes only and is solely intended to bring relevant news to our readers.

  While we typically share several top stories in our This Week in Student Loans roundup, the majority of us are aware of the major changes going on within the global economy. For that reason, we're sharing a key article that highlights all of the major changes that have occured over the past week in the world of student loans.   

Here’s Everything That’s Happened With Your Student Loans In 2 Weeks

In case you missed it, the economic impact of the coronavirus drove the federal government to pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, on March 22. The act included some major changes to student loans. In this article, Forbes writer Zack Friedman highlights everything that has changed in regard to student loans over the past two weeks. To summarize:
  • Through September 30, 2020, all federal student loan payments are suspended.
  • The interest rate on all federal student loans automatically has been set to 0% through September 30, 2020.
  • The federal government temporarily has halted garnishment of wages, Social Security benefits and tax refunds for student loan debt collection through September 30, 2020.
  • If you're attempting to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, you can pause your federal student loan payments through September 30, 2020 and your non-payment will count toward the 120 payments.
  • If you’re enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, the benefit above also applies to you. If you pause payments, they will count toward the required 20 to 25 years of monthly payments for student loan forgiveness.
  • Through December 31, 2020, your employer can pay up to $5,250 of your student loans tax-free.
The article is filled with helpful links to learn more about the status of federal student loans and coronavirus relief.  

Source: Forbes

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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.

2020-03-30
Should You Save for Your Child’s College Fund or Pay Your Student Loans?

As you start to grow your family, you may be wondering whether you should continue to aggressively pay down your student loans or start saving for your little bundle of joy’s college fund. Do you immediately set up a 529 to start saving for their college expenses? Or should you focus on paying your student loans before saving for your kid’s college? Here is some information to consider before you decide.   By Caroline Farhat   For the 2018-2019 school year, families spent an average of $26,226 on college. With tuition rates and the cost of living increasing, higher education can be an expensive endeavor to undertake. In 2019, 64% of families planned to pay for college by saving, according to Sallie Mae’s “How America Pays for College 2019 Study”   With all this in mind, you may think it’s a good idea to start saving for your child to attend college when they are a newborn. Perhaps the heavy burden of your student loans is something you want your child to avoid. However, it’s important to consider some factors:  

Do you have a healthy retirement account?

Financial experts will argue you should not save for your child’s college expenses if it prevents you from saving for your retirement. The argument is based on the fact that you can’t borrow for your living expenses in retirement, but your child can borrow for school costs. If you wait to save for retirement after sending your child off to school with their tuition saved for, you will be missing out on vital years of compounding. Saving for retirement early can earn you thousands of dollars more than if you were to start saving later!  

What do your other debt payments look like?

Is your financial situation stable enough to be able to pay tuition or save for future tuition costs? To determine this you should consider what debt (including your student loans) you have. Are you able to make all your debt payments? Do you have an emergency fund you are contributing to? If you have unpaid debts or don’t have an emergency fund, you may need to delay saving for future college expenses at this time.   

Can you afford tuition payments or monthly college savings in your budget?

If saving for your child’s college expenses is a priority for you, plan for it in your budget. If you are able to continue making your own student loan payments, save for retirement, and continue to build an emergency fund while saving for your child’s college expenses, go for it! Ready to make a budget, but not sure how? Check out this budgeting method  

Options to Consider 

If you want to help with your child’s college expenses but it’s not financially feasible at this time, here are some ways you may still be able to help:
  • Refinance your student loans. If you are trying to save some money in your budget for your child’s college expenses consider refinancing your student loans. Refinancing allows you to obtain a new loan, presumably at a lower interest rate, to pay off your old loan. The new loan with a lower interest rate can result in significant savings for your monthly payment and in interest costs over the life of the loan. This monthly savings can go directly into your child’s college savings. To find out how much you may be able to save, check out our student loan refinance calculator.* 
  • Don’t feel bad if saving for your child’s higher education is not something you can afford. In 2019, 50% of families borrowed for college. This figure also includes families who had some savings. Student loans, both federal and private, are an important resource to pay for college expenses. Help your child determine how much they need to borrow and compare their options.     
  • If it’s not in the budget to save for future education expenses start saving any cash gifts your child receives. Take those gifts and open a 529 plan for your child. A 529 is a tax-advantaged investment account that allows you to save for qualified higher education expenses such as tuition and room and board. 
 

Ways to Save on College Costs

When you are deciding how to pay for college expenses, be sure to include your child in the discussion. After all, they will be starting their adult life and should have a good understanding of finances. Here are some points of discussion to get you started:
  1. Can they take Advanced Placement classes or do dual enrollment in high school to earn college credits? Earning college credits while still in high school is significantly less expensive, or possibly free in some cases, and can cut down on the required number of classes when they actually attend college. This can help them graduate early or reduce the amount of tuition you need to pay. 
  2. Is your child considering a private or public college? The type of school they are considering can have a significant impact on the cost. In 2019, the average cost of a private school was $48,510 per year compared to $21,370 for a public college. Though the sticker price for a private college is a lot higher, private schools often have the ability to give more generous financial aid. Before eliminating a potential college due to costs, be sure to look at their financial aid statistics. 
  3. Will they be eligible for any scholarships? There are a number of general and niche scholarships that your child can apply to. College Board’s Scholarship Search is a good resource to find out about scholarship opportunities. Tip: Be sure to fill out the FASFA, which allows you to be eligible to receive aid such as grants, scholarships, work-study and federal student loans. 
  4. Will your child have a job during school to help pay for expenses? A job on campus can be a great way for a college student to be more involved on campus and earn money for their living expenses. 
 

Bottom Line 

The ability to help your child pay for future educational expenses can be a great feeling. But before you take on this endeavor, you’ll want to be sure that your financial situation is stable enough. Armed with this information, you can make an informed decision for how you can successfully pay off your student loans and save for your child’s college expenses.  
  *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.
2020-03-25
Current LIBOR Rate Update: March 2020

This blog provides the most current LIBOR rate data as of March 17, 2020, along with a brief overview of the meaning of LIBOR and how it applies to variable-rate student loans. For more information on how LIBOR affects variable rate loans, read our blog, LIBOR: What It Means for Student Loans.

 

What is LIBOR?

The London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is a money market interest rate that is considered to be the standard in the interbank Eurodollar market. In short, it is the rate at which international banks are willing to offer Eurodollar deposits to one another. Many variable rate loans and lines of credit, such as mortgages, credit cards, and student loans, base their interest rates on the LIBOR rate.

 

How LIBOR Affects Variable Rate Student Loans

If you have variable-rate student loans, changes to the LIBOR impact the interest rate you’ll pay on the loan throughout your repayment. Private student loans, including refinanced student loans, have interest rates that are tied to an index, such as LIBOR. But that’s not the rate you’ll pay. The lender also adds a margin that is based on your credit – the better your credit, the lower the margin. By adding the LIBOR rate to the margin along with any other fees or charges that may be included, you can determine your annual percentage rate (APR), which is the full cost a lender charges you per year for funds expressed as a percentage. Your APR is the actual amount you pay.

 

LIBOR Maturities

There are seven different maturities for LIBOR, including overnight, one week, one month, two months, three months, six months, and twelve months. The most commonly quoted rate is the three-month U.S. dollar rate. Some student loan companies, including ELFI, adjust their interest rates every quarter based on the three-month LIBOR rate.

 

Current 1 Month LIBOR Rate - January 2020

As of Monday, March 17, 2020, the 1 month LIBOR rate is 0.75%. If the lender sets their margin at 3%, your new rate would be 3.75% (0.75% + 3.00%=3.75%). The chart below displays fluctuations in the 1 month LIBOR rate over the past year.

 

(Source: macrotrends.net)

   

Current 3 Month LIBOR Rate - January 2020

As of Monday, March 17, 2020, the 3 month LIBOR rate is 1.05%%. If the lender sets their margin at 3%, your new rate would be 4.05% (1.05% + 3.00%=4.05%). The chart below displays fluctuations in the 3 month LIBOR rate over the past year.

  (Source: macrotrends.net)  

Current 6 Month LIBOR Rate - January 2020

As of Monday, March 17, 2020, the 6 month LIBOR rate is 0.91%%. If the lender sets their margin at 3%, your new rate would be 3.91% (0.91% + 3.00%=3.91%). The chart below displays fluctuations in the 6 month LIBOR rate over the past year.

  (Source: macrotrends.net)  

Current 1 Year LIBOR Rate - January 2020

As of Monday, March 17, 2020, the 1 year LIBOR rate is 0.86%. If the lender sets their margin at 3%, your new rate would be 3.86% (0.86% + 3.00%=3.86%). The chart below displays fluctuations in the 1 year LIBOR rate over the past year.

  (Source: macrotrends.net)  

Understanding LIBOR

If you are planning to refinance your student loans or take out a personal loan or line of credit, understanding how the LIBOR rate works can help you choose between a fixed or variable-rate loan. Keep in mind that ELFI has some of the lowest student loan refinancing rates available, and you can prequalify in minutes without affecting your credit score.* Keep up with the ELFI blog for monthly updates on the current 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, and 1 year LIBOR rate data.

 
 

*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.