Consolidation & Repayment of Federal Student Loans
Kenneth H. Dramer Esq – Practicing Law since 1993
There are various Consolidation & Repayment options for your Federal Student Loans. Contact one of our experienced debt lawyers today for a Free Consultation to go over the different options like Standard or level plans, Graduated plans, Extended Plans, or even one of the many Income Driven plans available for you.
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Consolidation of Federal Student Loans
If you have more than one loan outstanding, with different loan servicers, different payment addresses, or different interest rates, AND you can afford the payments – a Consolidation Loan can alleviate some of the hassles and help keep you organized. By consolidating you would have only one loan rather than multiple, and you’d have only one interest rate and one monthly payment to one company! Consolidation provides for a longer time to repay the loan which can aid in reducing your payments each month; however, the more extended time period typically means the more interest paid back over time. As with any options, you can always prepay your loan ahead of schedule and pay off the loan sooner than expected to save on the interest.
The Department of Education (DOE) lets you pick which company you want to service your loan under the under the Direct Consolidation Loan program. To be eligible for Direct Consolidation programs, at least one of your loans has to be in its grace period or has to be in repayment but can be in any of the following statuses – repayment; deferment; forbearance; or delinquent. If your loan is already in default, the only way to consolidate would be by agreeing to pay the newly consolidated loan through an income-driven repayment plan as discussed in the repayment section below.
Repayment Plans for your Federal Student Loans
If you are already in default or can make some payment but not quite the full amount demanded, the best place to start would be to look into the various repayment options. Some of the payment plans offered can lead to monthly payments as low as $0 as they are contingent upon your income.
If you are now taking action after being out of school for a while and have not deferred your loans or otherwise made some type of payment arrangements, then you may already be past due on your loans and incurring negative late fees which add to your balance. Keep in mind as well that damage to your credit may result as most student loan providers do report to the credit bureau.
The repayment plans can be broken down into subcategories:
- Standard or level plans
- Graduated plans
- Extended Plans
- Income-Driven plans (multiple sub-categories)
More on each option below.
Federal Student Loan Consolidation and Repayment Options NOT Based on Income
Standard or Level plans, Extended plans, and graduated plans offer less flexibility than the income-driven payment plans. but you can change from one program to another at any time as long as you are eligible. The below options each have their own benefits and drawbacks, be sure to contact us for a free consultation to go over your specific situation and learn what options would be best for you.
Standard or Level Repayment Plans
A standard or level repayment plan means you will have the same payment from the time you start repaying your loan through the time you are finished. The payments will be spread out evenly over time. This option would be great for you if you can afford the payment and will be able to do so going forward. This option will lead to the shortest payback period for your loan (10 years or 30 for Consolidation Loans) as the payments start to chip away at interest and principle faster than the other repayment methods. We advise this choice if you are able to afford it.
Graduated Repayment Plans
If you are able to make lower payments now and anticipate your income to rise consistently in the future, then the graduated repayment plan may be your best option. The payments in this repayment plan will start lower and gradually increase over time (10 years or 30 for Consolidation Loans). This option is the second cheapest option to pay your debt off.
Extended Repayment Plans
An extended repayment plan can be either level or graduated (as describes above) but would last for 25 years instead of 10 thus resulting in a lower payment and therefore more interest to be paid back over time.
If you are not making enough money to pay your necessary living expenses let alone pay your student loans on top of them then perhaps an Income Drive Repayment Plan will be your best option.
Income-Based Federal Student Loan Consolidation and Repayment Options
Private loans do not qualify for Income Driven plans. If your loans are federal and you still attend school more than half-time, income driven repayment plan options are not available for you. Eligibility is determined by the type of your loans, the balance owed, and your income – which you must show proof of. If you are married, your spousal income is included in the calculations whether or not you file taxes jointly but payments are calculated taking into account your family size. Some other factors that determine your payments are which state you reside in and when the loans were taken out.
The income driven repayment plans must be renewed each year and proof of income must be shown to do so. After a certain amount of qualified payments through an income driven plan, your remaining student loan balance may be forgiven! If your loans are forgiven as a result of one of these plans the IRS will send you a 1099 and you may have to pay taxes on the forgiven amount of debt.
Each year that you renew and are approved with an income based repayment plan option, your monthly payments will be level for that coming year. When you reapply, you will submit proof of your income and family size and if anything has changed in your situation, it will cause the payment to increase or decrease accordingly for that next year. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, you can switch from one plan to another when you renew your loans. You do not even need to wait until it is time to renew your loans to switch into a different plan if there have been certain significant changes in your situation like going back to school, working less, becoming unemployed, having medical disabilities, etc.
The income driven repayment plans offer lower payments but come with the downside of a longer payback period and therefore more interest will be paid over the longer period of time. Again, you can always pay more that you are required to pay which will help save money and get the loan paid down quicker.
The income driven repayment plans can be broken down further into 5 options which differ slightly depending on your situation as far as what types of loans you have, when the loans were incurred, the payback period, and how the payments are calculated:
Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
PAYE plans are also for direct loans only. To qualify the loans must have been taken out on or before October 1, 2007, and received the funds from either a Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, or student Direct Grad PLUS loan on or after October 1, 2011. Unlike the REPAYE plan, you will be required to show proof of your financial hardship in addition to the proof of income. If you renew this plan each year, your monthly payments will not be higher than 10% of your discretionary income. If you do not renew this plan on time each year, the monthly payments will be higher when you do renew. Additionally, any interest that accrued will be added to the balance owed. Once you have made payments for 20 years, the balance of the student loans will be forgiven.
Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)
REPAYE plans are only for direct loans. The payments are set at or below 10% of your discretionary income and proof of financial hardship is not required. This plan must be renewed on time or else you will end up in the REPAYE Alternative repayment plan where the accrued interest that has not been paid will be added to the balance owed.
If there is any balance left over after you complete your qualifying payments, your student loan debt will be forgiven! If the loans are for undergraduate studies, they will be forgiven after 20 years and if for graduate study, they will be forgiven after 25 years.
Income-Based Repayment (IBR)
These plans will require proof of financial hardship in addition to proof of income. If any IBR plan is not renewed promptly, the payments will go higher, and any interest that accrued will be added to the balance owed.
- If Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) or Direct Loans taken out on or after July 1, 2014, and received a new disbursement of funds on or after that date, payments are set to 10% or less of your discretionary income. Pay for 20 years and the remaining balance will be forgiven.
- If not Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) or Direct Loans, payments are set to 15% or less of your discretionary income (spousal income included). Pay for 25 and the remaining balance is forgiven.
Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)
ICR plans are only for Direct loans and do not require proof of financial hardship but do require proof of income. This plan is the only plan available to you if your loan is a Parent PLUS loan that was consolidated into a Direct loan.
Payments will be set as either 20% of your discretionary income OR fixed payments set up over a 12 year period – whichever is less. If any ICR plan is not renewed promptly, the payments will go higher, and any interest that accrued will be added to the balance owed. Once you have made payments for 25 years the balance of the student loans will be forgiven.
Income Sensitive Repayment (ISR)
ISR plans are available for Federal Stafford loans whether subsidized or unsubsidized and FFEL PLUS and Consolidation Loans (William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans or not allowed).
An Income Sensitive repayment plan would maybe be best for you if you are on a low income as the payments will be set between 4% & 25% of your income, and you choose the payments as long as you pay more than the interest accumulating. These plans will require the review your income each year but last for a maximum of only 10 years.
Our Lawyers Work for You and Only You!
Dramer Law and our debt lawyers have no affiliation with any creditors, banks or other lending institutions! This means that we are not here to keep you paying as much interest for as long as possible like many banks, but instead, we will make sure you choose an option based on your situation that will cost you the least amount in interest over time! Any of our Debt lawyers will work for the benefit of our clients and not for those that you owe money.
Download Our Prequalification Questionnaire to See How We Can Help
To find out what type of loans you have and to see how we can help, click on the button below to download our prequalification questionnaire and send it back to us along with your proof of income. We’ll be able to find out any information on your loans including how much you owe, to who, the rates, etc. If you’ve received any grants, we’ll be able to see the information on those as well, but thankfully you won’t have to pay those back!
How Dramer Law Handles Our Student Loan Relief Cases
Read More by Expanding the Below:
Free Consultation, Fact Finding, & Financial Analysis
When you call our firm, we will want to know how and when your financial hardship began as well as what the current status is, to get a better understanding of what you are experiencing. Our staff is trained to ask the right questions to make sure that no stone in your financial picture goes unturned. Any representative that will speak with you will have a minimum of 10 years experience
We analyze your current financial situation including your assets and liabilities as well as your current cash flow, allowing us to narrow down our services more specific to what you can afford. This step is critical in any of our processes as we ensure that whatever service we recommend will be within your budget and therefore you’re more likely to succeed.
Full Disclosure, Recommendation, & Customization
There are multiple options for each problem we encounter so based on your analysis; we will then tailor fit the best option to the individual needs of your budget. We will explain in great detail all aspects of each process including the risks & fees – not just how much money you can save. Nothing will be hidden from you as we are a full disclosure law firm.
Our Relief Specialists are NOT Paid a Commission so there will be no sales pressure at our law firm. There is no obligation to retain our services. You will be given all the facts you need, and then you will be given plenty of time to think things over. Debt relief is an important decision, and we won’t rush you! We have worked hard over the years to earn the reputation we have by giving honest advice to those in need rather than the advice that benefits our bottom line!
Limited Power of Attorney & Authorization to Communicate
Lenders are Sent Notice of our Representation
Once retained, we immediately send a copy of our Limited Power of Attorney to your creditors, debt-collectors, or attorneys. Sending notice of representation is the first step in curbing any creditor or collector calls you may be receiving. We do not want you to be harassed – we’ll take over the calls for you.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Once any third party servicer, debt collector, debt purchaser, collection attorney, foreclosure attorney, etc. receive our Limited Power of Attorney, they are obligated to contact us directly on your behalf. Failure to do so is a violation of the FDCPA, and we will sue them for you. There is no fee charged to you if we do not win your case, and if we do win, you can win up to $1,000 per violation, and the collector in violation will pay our attorney fees for you. It’s basically free money!
We Get the Job Done!
We are Incentivized to Perform
Our mortgage negotiation services are offered a fee structure as such that you pay part of the fee when retaining our firm and part of the fee only if we’re successful. The success fee helps ensure we are incentivized, so you’ll know we have your best interests in mind. We don’t benefit from getting you to hire our law firm, but instead, we benefit when we get the job done for you. You pay for our performance – and that’s what we do – we perform! We never agree to anything without first consulting with you and getting your approval. It is your debt and your money, so you have the final say in all of our negotiations
We Work Efficiently & Quickly
The combination of our experience, well-trained representatives, long hours, and state of the art software, allow us to accomplish more in any given day than most other firms only dream about. This can be said for ANY service we offer from negotiations to litigation to bankruptcy. We work quickly on your behalf as the longer you delay with a deed in lieu of foreclosure, the more fees your lender will charge. We will be in touch with you throughout the process to keep you informed and are available when you need us.
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Let Us Help You!
At The Law Offices of Kenneth H Dramer PC, before we make any recommendations, our debt lawyers, certified debt relief specialists, and paralegals are trained to ask the right questions to find out about your specific situation. Based on your current income and your financial hardship, we will determine which course of action will work best for you. We do not only offer one path, as no one process can solve everyone’s needs. We will take our time with you and help evaluate what your best course of action should be. CALL NOW FOR A FREE CONSULTATION and one of our advisors will be there to get you started on your path to financial freedom. There is no obligation to enroll, so don’t delay.
One way or another, we can help!
Why Choose Dramer Law for Your Debt Relief Needs?
Debt is Our Specialty
Other companies and law firms offer debt relief – we specialize in it! We do not offer any services that aren’t strictly related with clients that are struggling financially so our clients have unique needs, compared to those of other law firms, that we can cater to. We offer all debt relief options and we service our clients like family. You should never settle for less when trying to settle for less!
Since our clients don’t have tons of money to spare like attorneys that practice in other areas of law, we charge low fees making our services affordable for anyone that needs help. Unless your case involves one of our attorneys having to go to court, our negotiation service fees are flat fee based not charged hourly.
One on One Client Service
All of our client relationships are One on One. You’ll have one individual client service representative that will be your point of contact and you’ll build a relationship with them so they’ll know exactly what you are going through. Aside from treating you with the upmost care possible, this means you won’t have to deal with multiple people and re-explain your situation to a different person each time you call. This saves time for you and eliminates any extra stress for you as time is money and being stress free is just as important as being debt free!
Client Service Response Time
All of our attorneys, paralegals, and negotiators are dedicated to providing the best possible experience, while achieving results. We are available long hours but should we happen to be unavailable for any reason we pride ourselves on returning calls and emails right away, not several days later like most attorneys.
Many companies do nothing for the high fees they charge. We have heard many horror stories. These companies aren’t proactive, they put no effort into negotiations, they don’t even return your calls let alone calls from collectors! These actions cause collectors to seek other measures to collect, often meaning lawsuits. We typically work repeatedly with the same companies and are known for resolving accounts so therefore have a great reputation with industry lenders and collectors. This benefits you when we contact these companies on your behalf, they know the accounts will get resolved and therefore we are usually able to avoid legal action!
Many times, when we successfully get our clients out of debt, they still need assistance with other areas of their financial life. We offer many different services for those struggling with debts including Business Debt Relief, Mortgage Relief, Tax Relief, & Student Loan Relief. When Debt is the Problem – We Have the Answers!
The court proceedings were annulled, and agreeable working terms were consolidated with my creditors
I wouldn’t go anywhere else.
Very sharp and on point. Their price is very reasonable.
“Like most people bankruptcy never crossed our mind. My husband and I owed a lot of debt due to closing of our business, but we still tried to payoff debtors little by little. Until we got hit with a summons from the court ( for over 100K lawsuit). We research all over the internet and called many law firms and layers. Many of them ask what we want to do?.. We wouldn’t of call if we know what to do. And some offered hardship /debt relief or settle your debt for less.. no matter what you call it at the end you still have to pay the creditors, the debts collectors and the lawyer. In our case there is no way we can payoff everything. Many random phones calls later, we were fortunate to come acrossed Mike, he has explained to us bankruptcy doesn’t mean we will lose our house or car. As couple we are able keep certain amount of assets. We were also worried about our credit score, the bankruptcy record will stay in your record for 7 years ( our score were poor anyway). There aren’t that many reviews on the internet about them and like most people we’re not sure if we can trust them. Give Mike a call and a chance, his very sharp and on the point. Their price is very reasonable. Bankruptcy was the best choice we made and the cheapest way out. Now half year later we are debt free, no need to worry from phone calls from debts collectors. Get to keep our house and car, even our credit score went up. Don’t understand why we didn’t do it sooner I guess we were like a lot others going day by day try to be nice by paying off little by little. Thanks!” JC, Queens, NY. 7-7-2017
They were extremely professional and made the process easy
“The Law Offices of Kenneth H. Dramer P.C Attorneys at Law were efficient in handling by bankruptcy case. They were extremely professional and made the process easy! I highly recommend them.” – Jamie M. Seaford, NY 5-30-2017
They're highly recommended
It has been an absolute pleasure working with you
“I just wanted you to know it has been an absolute pleasure working with you. You never made me feel harried, pressured or overly anxious about paying off my bills. I wish everyone would be like that. Thank you again & i hope you don’t mind if i touch base with you the future, just to give you updates on how things are going. Be well.” Mary R. Bayshore, NY 4-30-2018
I would highly recommend Dramer Law for your debt settlement needs
“I would highly recommend Dramer Law for your debt settlement needs. A few years ago my husband and I had accrued entirely too much debt and no matter how hard we worked or how much we tried, we were unable to keep up with our bills and making the minimum payments was getting us nowhere. The best decision we could have made was to begin the debt settlement process. Most of the debt was in my name so I contacted Dramer Law . I have been extremely pleased with the efficient, attentive, reliable service provided by Michael Sininsky. I was initially hesitant to enter into any debt settlement program but now, without hesitation, I will say it was the best decision I could have made . From the initial consultation and throughout the entire process ,Michael patiently and fully explained everything. Any questions I had were addressed rapidly and any messages I left were returned promptly. I/we started out with $87,555.84 total debt and ended up paying back $26,020.71. That’s a savings of $61, 000.500 , or a 70% discount off our balances. I’m so happy we decided to go with Dramer Law and cannot thank Michael enough for all his hard work and professionalism. Any fees paid to Dramer Law were very fair and minimal compared to what I was paying to the credit card companies each month. Being debt free is such a relief- now we can move forward and put our money toward our kids college educations and save for our future.I am happy to recommend them and am so glad I contacted them a few years ago. Sincerely, Susan M.” Commack, NY 3-27-2018
We would highly recommend their services for debt reduction and settlement rate negotiations
Your promptness, efficiency, and trustworthiness have always been beyond my imagination.
“Thank you very much. Your promptness, efficiency, and trustworthiness have always been beyond my imagination. Perhaps I will be like that one day (in another life).” Peter L Valley Stream, NY 3-2-17