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Student loans for many are a necessary evil for people pursuing a higher education. Unless you have a scholarship, plenty of money saved or the means to pay out of pocket, you will need to take out student loans. Depending on how far you take your education and where you get your degree from, you may face tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars of student debt.

For many, the weight of student loan debt can seem crushing. High-interest rates and payments can be daunting, especially if you are not making a high salary right out of school. Luckily, many companies and programs can help you in paying off your student loan debt. 

Some companies may offer consolidation loans with lower interest rates, meaning you can pay your debt off quicker. Others provide loan forgiveness, assistance programs and payoffs for finding employment in a given field. Check out these 11 companies that will help you pay off your student loans. 

Earnest

Earnest

Earnest provides protection as well as low rates for borrowers. APR rates are as low as 1.99% (with a 0.25% autopay discount). If you have a credit score of at least 650, they can help you out with a great refinance loan to quickly save money and pay off your loans. Their low-interest rates help those with less than perfect credit to get a good rate on their loans.

Borrowers are provided with plenty of resources on their website to help you find the right type of refinancing. Earnest also gives their customers peace of mind that they will always be taken care of by Earnest employees, as they will never sell your debt to a third party company. 

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FutureFuel

FutureFuel

FutureFuel has helped customers save thousands on their student loans. By connecting your federal and private loans to FutureFuel’s app, you can begin saving within minutes. You can then choose the route that helps you to work and pay off your loan that best fits your situation. You can then begin crushing your debt and save money (and time) on being closer to financial freedom.

There are several options to help you to pay off your loan. First, you can reassess your loan and see if plans such as income-based loans or public service loan forgiveness are best for you. You can also round up your loans, allowing for use of spare change from regular transactions to pay down your accrued interest. 

With the Giveback feature, you can shop with brands you love to save money. Over 450 major brands have partnered with FutureFuel to help clients. With every purchase you make, these brands put money towards helping you to pay off your debt.

FutureFuel can also help you refinance your loans by comparing up to 10 leading lenders to find the best rates. With the Roll Up feature, you can combine your federal and private loans into one loan to pay your debt off quicker. 

Related: How to Manage your Finances [Now and Later in Life]

 LendKey

 LendKey

Not every loan program is the same or will fit your specific needs. Some borrowers may want the ability to customize their repayment plans to maximize their savings. LendKey can help in those instances. LendKey works with local and community financial services to help borrowers find the right consolidation loan for them. 

Students can consolidate both private and federal student loans. Working with local credit unions and banks, LendKey can show borrowers the best rates in their community. LendKey offers low-interest rates, no application fees and cosigner release after 12 months of repayment.

LendKey does have several requirements from borrowers. First, they must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. They must have graduated from a Title IV-certified institution.

The borrower or their cosigner must have a credit score of 660 or above. Finally, borrowers must have a minimum annual income of $24,000 and a minimum outstanding balance of $7,500. Once borrowers are approved, they can customize their loan by finding the best repayment terms, payment amounts, and interest rates.

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Public Service Forgiveness Loan 

Federal Student Aid An Office of the US Department of Education

The Federal government offers a great program to help you pay back your loans based on your employment field. By making regular payments on time for 10 years while being employed by a qualifying employer. After the time period is over, any remaining balance of your student loans is forgiven.

There are essentially areas of employment that qualify for the Public Service Forgiveness Loan (PSFL)  repayment program. The first group is government organizations (federal, state, local or tribal). Also, non-for-profits that are tax-exempt under ISR Code 501(c)(3) also qualify. Serving as a full-time volunteer with Americorps and the Peace Corps also qualifies for loan forgiveness too.

The program only applies to federal loans, and private loans cannot be consolidated into the program. After 120 qualifying payments, your loans are forgiven. Qualifying borrowers must have an income-driven repayment plan (IDR) to qualify. As the amount forgiven is not considered income by the IRS, you will not have to pay taxes on whatever the amount is forgiven, possibly saving you thousands of dollars in loan debt. 

CommonBond

CommonBond

CommonBond is one of the more socially conscious lending companies. With each loan they originate, CommonBond helps to pay for a child in need to get an education. They provide some of the lowest interest rates, longest repayment terms and the highest maximum funding amounts. 

CommonBond has teamed with many investors to invest  in our future. They offer borrowers three loan types, such as variable-rate loans, fixed-rate loans and hybrid-rate loans (5 years of fixed-rate, followed by 5 years of variable-rate loans). CommonBond also offers educational and employment resources for customers. If a customer loses their job, payments can be paused until they find employment.

Related: When To Use A Personal Loan To Consolidate Credit Card Debt [With Expert Advice]

Military College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP) 

Military College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP) 

Those students who choose to serve the United States Military in its various branches are given education benefits. The Military College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP) is designed for those who have already accumulated student loan debt and are planning to enter active-duty with one of the armed forces' branches. Members coming off active-duty or reserves may qualify as well.

The CLRP gives our servicemen and servicewomen the ability to have all of their debt forgiven.  Requirements include being in a Military Occupied Specialty (MOS), have a high school diploma, qualifying student loans, a score of at least 50 on the Armed Forces Qualifications Test and request CLRP on their enlistment contract.

Different branches offer different repayment amounts and conditions. Repayment only goes towards the principal amount, not the interest. There is also tax reliability on the amount forgiven. Service members may also qualify for partial or full loan forgiveness under discharge and disability discharge programs. Military members may also qualify for the PSFL program as well.

Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank

Some people may go to college and not earn their degrees. They may have a major life change that causes them to have to stop attending, or they may find a career that does not require a degree. This can become an issue if you take out student loans, as some companies may not make repayments if you do not earn a degree.

Citizens Bank is one of the few lenders who allow people to refinance without a degree. They also offer loan discounts such as 0.25% autopay discounts and 0.25% loyalty discounts. Also, if you have to get a cosigner, after 36 consecutive, on-time payments, they can be removed from your loan. 

With Citizens Bank, there are some requirements to qualify for student loan refinancing if you did not graduate. You must be out of school and make at least 12 consecutive, on-time monthly payments to qualify to refinance your loan.  

SoFi

SoFi

SoFi is the perfect option for borrowers who also need help in finding employment. For borrowers with an associate’s degree or higher with good credit, SoFi offers services to help borrowers to pay off their debt. If you are in danger of defaulting on your loan, SoFi provides career coaching and networking opportunities instead of simply sending out forbearances. 

SoFi is one of the best lenders for those going into the medical field. SoFi is one of the only lenders that allows borrowers to allow deference for up to four years. As long as you can pay $100 during residency, you can pay down your loan without incurring interest.

Parents also like SoFi for the fact that it allows them to easily help their child in paying off their debt. You can refinance your parent PLUS loan in your child’s name and allow you to refinance for a lower rate. Your child is also protected with this, as the loan debt cannot be transferred to them.

Related: How You Can Be Financially Independent And Retire Early (FIRE)

Credible

Credible

One problem that borrowers have with getting a refinance loan is their credit score. Like most things, the better your credit score, the better rate you can recieve. However, if you have too many credit checks, they can lower your credit score. Credible gives borrowers the ability to compare rates without hurting their credit score. It is free to use and can help you to find multiple repayment options to help you pay off your loans.

Credible allows you to get estimates from several lenders at one time to pick the best one for you. Their single application check allows you to save time and easily pre qualify without hurting your credit score. Credible includes major leaders such as Citizen Bank, Sallie Mae and Ascent.

There are some drawbacks as not all lenders are included, and some conditions may apply. You will want to research each lender to find which one will work best for you. Credible can help you make these decisions easier.

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Laurel Road

Laurel Road

Laurel Road provides a variety of ways for customers to save money on their student loans. Fixed-rate loans range from 3.00-6.20%APR and variable-rate loans of 1.99-6.10%APR. They can work with both federal and private loans and offer flexible repayment options for student loan assistance. 

A great incentive for borrowers is their referral bonus plan. You can earn money by referring Laurel Road to others that need help consolidating their loan debt. You can then use that money to pay towards your loan debt. Discounts are also available to qualifying borrowers.

Discover

Discover

When looking to refinance your student loan, a credit card company is not your first go to. Many financial gurus will preach against credit card companies and their high-interest rates. While this can be true, Discover offers great terms for refinancing loans. They offer decent rates for private student loan consolidation.

Discover has several advantages, including zero loan application or origination fees. They offer a 0.25% discount with autopay and no cosigner requirement. Loans range from 2.99-6.12% APR for variable-rate loans, and 3.99-7.74% APR for fixed-rate loans. 

There are some restrictions for borrowers dependents on their loan debt. Borrowers must have at least $5,000 in loan debt, but cannot exceed $150,000 in loans. While most private and federal loans can be consolidated, there are a few exceptions.

With decades as one of the most trusted credit companies, Discover is a great option for private consolidation loans. With fair interest rates, they can save you a lot of money in the long-term. 

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Employers Who Help Pay Off Student Loans 

Guy and gal looking happily at their mail

Did you know some companies set up specific programs to help employees pay off their student loans? 

Companies are setting up student loan payment contributions for their employees as a benefits package. Most of these employers are partnering with companies like the ones listed above and/or offering a monetary match up to a certain amount. 

Many of these programs are similar to a 401K match or health insurance as an added employee benefit for full-time employees and, depending on the company, part-time employees. Student loan repayment assistance programs might not be the norm for companies right now; it is definitely something to consider whether you are fresh out of college, a millennial or someone looking for a new job that still has student loan debt. 

Not only are some companies offering student loan repayment programs some are also offering tuition assistance. 

Here are a few companies that offer student loan repayment benefits: 

  • Aetna¬†
  • Chegg¬†
  • CommonBond
  • Estee Lauder¬†
  • Fidelity Investments¬†
  • First Republic¬†
  • Hulu
  • Kronos¬†
  • Live Nation¬†
  • Nvidia¬†
  • Penguin Random House
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)¬†
  • SoFi
  • Staples¬†¬†

There is Help for Student Loan Debt

For those just getting out of college, your student loan debt may seem impossible to pay off. Managing your finances can be the initial step, but sometimes that can still not be enough. 

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to pay off your loans, from student loan repayment assistance programs to employee benefit perks and more. Check out some of these companies to see what help they can offer for your student loan payments. 

You can also speak with your lender to see what options they may offer to take the pressure off your student loans. Whether consolidating private loans, federal loans or both there are plenty of options available to help you find financial freedom from student loan debt.

You might also be interested in: 10 Tips for Staying Healthy and Happy During the Coronavirus

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Posted 
Aug 19, 2020
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