Student Loan Professor Is Live!
Hopefully you saw our announcement last month about our rebranding. If not, learn what Student Loan Professor is all about. In short: we’re the same company, but with a different name to serve a wider range of borrowers across all professions. Our new website is up; check it out! You’ll quickly notice everything looks very familiar. We literally duplicated the old site to ensure your experience remains the same. You’ll find our blogs, registration forms, and contact/meeting info for your assigned advisor (if applicable) in the same place, along with some modest tweaks here and there.
You’ll also see the DWOQ brand is still alive and well! While we expand our horizons to serve more borrowers, our team will continue to offer doctor-specific advice when appropriate. So, if you’re a doctor, we welcome you. And if you’re not a doctor, we equally value the opportunity to help with your student loan needs!
New “Beta” Application Released for IDR Plans
The Department of Education just rolled out a “beta” application for Income Driven Repayment (IDR) plans. After reading through some regulatory announcements, it appears this “beta” is because they are technically and legally not able to make certain changes as quickly as they wanted. This leaves the Department of Education scrambling to expedite a few procedural check boxes before they can make the new format official.
There are three notable changes:
- First, the entire flow has been rearranged. It’s a bit more drawn out with fewer questions per page. While our team finds the old form a bit more efficient, it’s still quite user-friendly. The questions are essentially the same, just with a couple of new sections.
- One of those new sections lets you opt-in for the Department of Education to automatically pull your tax returns and recertify your income each year. This is a convenience feature designed to help borrowers from busting their renewal deadlines and being kicked out of their plans. Use caution, however, as your most recent tax return is not always the best documentation to use if you want the lowest IDR payment. Taxes play a huge role in your loan repayment strategy, and giving up your ability to control that process could cost you in certain years. We’re here to help you though, so when in doubt, reach out.
- Finally, couples using the Married Filing Separate tax return strategy will be happy to know that your non-borrower spouse will no longer be required to log in, upload their tax return, and sign the application. With SAVE replacing REPAYE, all IDR plans now allow for the MFS strategy, and the verification process is no longer applicable.
No Payment Refunds After Consolidation
A quick, but important, note here for borrowers consolidating under the One-Time Account Adjustment: if you made payments during the CARES Act payment pause, you are entitled to have those refunded, and you probably should if you’re pursuing loan forgiveness. But you must request the refund before you consolidate. Once consolidation is complete and your old loans disappear, refunds will no longer be granted. A few unlucky borrowers discovered this the hard way before consulting with us.
Make the Return to Payment (or Start of Payments) Easy-Peasy
The Department of Education has given borrowers eight different return-to-payment notices over the past 3+ years, which has been frustrating to say the least. Now that day has finally come. The payment pause ends August 30th, and most payments are due in early October. Right in the middle of this, you must navigate major changes with loan forgiveness promises, account adjustments, IDR plans, and certification dates. If you feel stressed or unprepared, you’re not alone. We’ve been flooded with inquiries these past few weeks from countless borrowers. But fear not! We have your Return to Payment Guide right here! Take a look and let us know if you have questions.
As always, our dedicated student loan consultants are standing by to help you create or update your loan repayment strategy, guide you through all of these changes, and answer your questions.
‘Til debt do us part,
Brandon Barfield is the President and Co-Founder of Student Loan Professor, and is nationally known as student loan expert for graduate health professions. Since 2011, Brandon has given hundreds of loan repayment presentations for schools, hospitals, and medical conferences across the country. With his diverse background in financial aid, financial planning and student loan advisory, Brandon has a broad understanding of the intricacies surrounding student loans, loan repayment strategies, and how they should be considered when graduates make other financial decisions.