Income-Driven Repayment Plans Still Vital for Student Loan Borrowers, Says Ameritech Financial

Staff Report

Friday, February 9th, 2018

A recent report from the United States Department of Education reveals the government will start losing money on federal student loans. A reason, according to the report, is increased participation in income-driven repayment plans and forgiveness programs. However, IDRs remain one of the best solutions for federal loan borrowers who struggle with their monthly payments. Ameritech Financial, a private document preparation company that assists borrowers with applying for and maintaining enrollment in federal repayment programs, supports the expansion of these programs for student loan borrowers.

"With this new information coming to light, it's my hope that the sentiment is not to discourage people from using the repayment and forgiveness options currently in place," said Brandon Frere, CEO of Ameritech Financial. "I founded Ameritech Financial to help people use these resources because they are still too obscure. There still aren't enough borrowers who are aware of them. And I know first-hand that these plans are the only way many people can stay current with their loans." 

The repayment plans in question, IDRs, base a borrower's monthly payment on their income and their family size. After 20 to 25 years of repayment, the loan balance is forgiven. Other types of forgiveness programs exist, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which erase the remaining balance for people who work in the public sector after 10 years of qualifying payments. Ameritech Financial helps borrowers identify, apply for, and stay enrolled in a variety of these plans.

However, data suggests that these options for borrowers are, in fact, underutilized. For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau determined that not enough borrowers, especially those struggling with lower loan balances, were enrolling in IDRs. In regards to PSLF, despite the fact that a huge portion of the workforce could potentially take advantage of this program, fewer than 1,000 borrowers are set to qualify this year. No numbers of accepted PSLF applicants from 2017 have been released by the Department of Education.

"These programs do two major things for borrowers. First, they keep them in good standing with their loans and out of default which can be devastating," said Frere. "Second, they put money back in the pockets of Americans so they can build a future for themselves. Ameritech Financial supports these programs because of the positive impact they have on so many people."