Debt is a part of adult life, a fact that many college graduates learn early on. When handled well, debt is a powerful credit-building tool; when handled poorly, debt can become a barrier to future financial progress. However, not all debt is created equal. While some debt is considered good debt, other debt is not so great. And then there’s student debt. Ameritech Financial, a document preparation company that assists student loan borrowers in understanding and applying for federal repayment plans, reminds borrowers that student debt is different and can affect borrowers’ finances in surprising ways.
Nationwide, student debt levels have been climbing for over a decade and have reached $1.4 trillion, becoming the second-highest kind of household debt behind mortgages. Furthermore, more people are late on student loan payments than on any other type of debt. While those statistics can portray student loans as worse than other debt, they only show one angle of the student debt picture.
“Student loans are, in a way, like all other kinds of debt,” said Brandon Frere, CEO of Ameritech Financial. “You take out the loans and promise to pay them back, and if you don’t, your credit suffers. However, they are different in a few key ways.”
Like other debt, student loans can help make or break someone’s credit. However, in many other ways, student loans are different. Missing any debt payments can bring down credit scores, but most debts have backup plans. Credit card debt can be discharged in bankruptcy; homes can be foreclosed on; cars can be repossessed. But a college education cannot be returned, and partly because of the flexibility of the available repayment options for federal loans, they are extremely difficult to discharge through bankruptcy.
Unlike other kinds of debt, federal student loans have borrower protections that other debts do not. For example, defaulted borrowers can rehabilitate or consolidate their loans to get back into good standing.
Federal student loans are also more flexible when it comes to repayment, which helps borrowers prevent default instead of just trying to fix it. There are several different federal repayment options intended to keep borrowers current despite financial challenges. For many, the most helpful plans are those that base monthly payments on income and family size. By ensuring monthly payments do not exceed a percentage of borrowers’ income, these repayment plans help borrowers afford their loans.
Ameritech Financial suggests that borrowers take a comprehensive look at their finances and how student loans can affect the whole picture. Income-driven repayment plans can be good for other debt, not just student loans. Any funds potentially freed up from enrollment in an IDR can go toward other debt to keep those current as well.
“So while student loans are a different beast in the debt world, they might be able to help tame the other debts with the help of IDRs,” said Frere. “Federal student loans are uniquely equipped to impact the whole financial picture of any borrower, either in a good way or bad. At Ameritech Financial, we help borrowers apply for IDRs so they can focus on improving their whole financial situation.”
About Ameritech Financial
Ameritech Financial is a private company located in Rohnert Park, California. Ameritech Financial has already helped thousands of people with financial analysis and student loan document preparation to apply for federal student loan repayment programs offered through the Department of Education.
Ameritech Financial is a member of the Association for Student Loan Relief (AFSLR), and each representative on the phone has received the Certified Student Loan Professional certification through the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA).
Ameritech Financial prides itself on its exceptional Customer Service.
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