Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

New option available to repay student debt

Flickr / DonkeyHotey

Students who borrow loans from the U.S. government to help pay for their education now have a new option when paying off their debt called the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan, which will lower monthly federal student loan bills for eligible borrowers.

First announced by President Barack Obama in October 2011, Pay As You Earn caps payments for Federal Direct Student Loans at 10 percent of discretionary income for eligible borrowers. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that as many as 1.6 million Direct Loan borrowers could reduce their monthly payments, including teachers, nurses, first-responders and other lower-paying public service workers.

“We know many recent graduates are worried about repaying their student loans as our economy continues to recover, and now it’s easier than ever for student borrowers to lower monthly payments and stay on track,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a press release.

To qualify for Pay As You Earn, a borrower must have a partial financial hardship as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. A person has a partial financial hardship if their payments  under a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan are higher than the required payments under the Pay As You Earn plan.

A student must also be a new borrower as of October 2007 and the federal student loan debt must be high relative to the borrower’s income. The monthly payment amount is partially dependent on income and family size.

Under Pay As You Earn, a borrower may be eligible for 20-year forgiveness, which forgives any remaining student loan debt after 20 years of qualifying repayments. Furthermore, if a borrower is employed full-time by a public service organization and makes 10 years of on-time payments, they may be eligible to receive forgiveness of the remaining balance of their direct loans through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Any forgiveness of loans, though, is subject to taxation.

Because reduced payments under the plan mean repaying loans for a longer period of time, the total interest over the life of the loan will be higher than it may be under other repayment plans. However, if the monthly payment does not cover the interest that accumulates on the loans each month, the U.S. government will pay the accumulated interest for up to three years.

Ed Blaguszewski, Executive Director of News and Media Relations at UMass Amherst, said that the university fully supports Pay As You Earn and thinks that it will be helpful for students looking for a repayment plan that better suits their needs.

“Even for students that may not need 20 years, this could be helpful,” he said.

Blaguszewski said that Financial Aid Services only distributes loans, and it is the responsibility of the student to repay any loan debt left with them at the end of their education at UMass.

“We don’t say to students, do you want to repay the loan with the new plan or the old one,” he said. Blaguszewski added, though, that this new plan is something that students may want to look into.

Pat Hoff can be reached at pphoff@student.umass.edu.

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