Student Loan Forgiveness News & Information

AFBC Reminder: Student Loan Repayment is Solely On Borrower

AFBC Reminder: Student Loan Repayment is Solely On Borrower

When it comes to repaying federal loans, who is responsible? The borrower who signed the promissory note. While there might be a village of people assisting in the application for loans and in the repayment process, the borrower is the only one responsible for making payments. American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), a document preparation company that assists in applying for and maintaining enrollment in repayment plans, reminds clients that even when receiving assistance, borrowers are always in charge of loan payments. “At AFBC, we provide customized assistance to student loan borrowers when it comes to enrollment in repayment plans offered by the Department of Education,” said Brandon Frere, CEO of AFBC. “Depending on circumstances, we even get borrowers on track towards forgiveness. But our clients maintain their access to their loan accounts, and only they can make payments on their loans.” The income-driven repayment plans that AFBC specializes in assisting borrowers apply for  can potentially reduce a borrower’s monthly payment, since the plans require payments based on income and family size. Once in a plan, however, borrowers are the only ones responsible for making all monthly payments to their servicer. When it comes to students and their parents, there may be confusion about who is responsible for paying back federal student loans. Even if parents helped fill out financial aid forms, if the student signed the promissory note and the loans bear the student’s name, only the student is responsible. Similarly, parents can take out federal loans in their own names to finance their child’s education. These are Parent PLUS loans and the parent who signed the promissory note... read more
American Financial Benefits Center Cautions Federal Student Loan Borrowers About Refinancing

American Financial Benefits Center Cautions Federal Student Loan Borrowers About Refinancing

What happens when federal student loan borrowers refinance? Refinancing might be right for certain borrowers, but refinancing federal loans means losing out on certain borrower protections, including the opportunity for forgiveness. American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), a private document preparation company that specializes in applying for repayment plans, cautions federal borrowers when it comes to refinancing. “The things that are lost when a federal borrower refinances can be important,” said Brandon Frere, CEO of AFBC. “One of the biggest is forgiveness. Many people appreciate income-driven repayment plans because they know forgiveness is always an option at the end of the life of the loan.” Refinancing—which means a new loan pays off an existing loan or loans—is possible only in the private sector. This means a borrower must take out a private loan to replace the federal loan, so any protections that are exclusive to federal loans evaporate upon refinancing. These include, but are not limited to: Possibilities for forgiveness: Student loan forgiveness can come in many forms for federal student loan borrowers. One of them is forgiveness after a 20- to 25-year period if the borrower is in an income-driven repayment plan (IDR); another is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) after at least 10 years of employment with a qualifying employer. There are various other federal programs that offer loan forgiveness. Opportunities to get out of default: There are a couple of ways for federal loan borrowers to get out of default that don’t involve immediately paying off the entire balance of the loan: rehabilitation and consolidation. Options for defaulted borrowers of private loans may be more limited and... read more
American Financial Benefits Center on When Side Hustles Aren’t an Option

American Financial Benefits Center on When Side Hustles Aren’t an Option

Student loan debt can cause individuals a lot of stress, which can have an adverse effect on their lives. Much of the advice on how to deal with student debt tells borrowers the best way to knock it out as quickly as possible. There are two ways to do that: decrease expenses or increase income, both with the goal of putting more money toward that debt. When decreasing expenses either isn’t an option or isn’t enough, many turn to side hustles. But what if a side hustle is not an option either? American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), a document preparation company focusing on applying for federal student loan repayment plans, reminds borrowers that there’s another way to deal with their student debt. “Life can be busy, and there’s only so much you can pack into a day,” said Brandon Frere, CEO of AFBC. “Everyone’s lives are different, with priorities competing for a limited amount of time. For side hustles to be effective, they need to be consistent, and that’s just not possible for everyone.” Side hustles often take a lot of time, and they require a specific perspective on work in order to be successful. To accommodate the additional work a side hustle entails, people often decline social invitations and work long hours — outside normal full-time hours and on weekends. However, not everyone can spend their time working like that. Some people may have other obligations, like volunteer work and other community involvement. They might have a family and need to look after kids or other relatives. They might have health issues that prevent them from working the... read more
American Financial Benefits Center Reminds Student Loan Borrowers: Check Out Income-Driven Repayment Plans

American Financial Benefits Center Reminds Student Loan Borrowers: Check Out Income-Driven Repayment Plans

The student debt landscape is filled with competing explanations about why debt levels are so high. To cover increasing tuition costs, students must borrow more and more money. But some say the abundance of federal loans is actually the culprit behind rising tuition, not the solution to it. Meanwhile, others wonder if rising student debt is even a crisis at all. While experts continue to analyze the situation and work on improving it for future borrowers, current borrowers who are struggling with student debt may need some help managing it. American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), a private document preparation company specializing in document preparation for federal student loan repayment programs, reminds borrowers that income-driven repayment plans offered by the Department of Education may lower monthly payments. Thanks to all the reports on student debt being published lately, it’s easy to outline what the modern student loan borrower looks like and who is struggling the most. While graduate students accumulate more debt than undergraduates, borrowers with less debt who did not complete a degree program default at a higher rate. Furthermore, debt levels may not be the most crucial factor when predicting default rates; instead, individual circumstances, like the school attended or family financial situation, can be more telling. “Every borrower has a unique financial situation that may benefit from federal income-driven repayment programs,” said Sara Molina, Manager at AFBC. “At AFBC, we’ve seen the impact those programs can have on individuals’ monthly budgets and encourage any federal student loan borrower struggling with payments to look into them.” All student loan borrowers begin repayment in the Standard repayment plan unless... read more
A Long Student Loan Repayment Period Can Still Mean Success, says AFBC

A Long Student Loan Repayment Period Can Still Mean Success, says AFBC

You might have seen the popular student loan stories where the headlines read: “This 30-Year-Old Couple Repaid $120,000 Of Student Loans In 3 Years” and “How this 28-year-old accountant paid off his $73K student loan debt in less than 4 years.” Those can be inspiring stories for people who can emulate them. But for many people, it’s not possible to copy them. And for some student loan borrowers, focusing solely on paying off their loans is not financially smart, either. American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), a document preparation company that assists people in applying for and maintaining enrollment in federal repayment plans, wants to let their clients know that taking a longer time to pay off student loans or achieve loan forgiveness is nothing to be ashamed of. “Some people may be able to pay off their loans quickly, but that’s really not the case for everybody,” said Sara Molina, Manager at AFBC. “Our clients find a lot of relief in staying in repayment plans that we help them enroll in, even if those make their student loan repayment longer. And there’s nothing wrong with that.” Taking a longer time to pay off loans is not indicative of failure; instead, it just means the education was expensive. Consider former President Barack Obama. In 2012, the President revealed that he and then-First Lady Michelle Obama had only paid off their student loans eight years prior. Both the former President and First Lady could attribute their success in part to their education, first as undergraduates at Ivy League schools and then as Harvard Law students, which was made possible by their... read more
American Financial Benefits Center Advises Caution: Tax Filing Status Can Affect Student Loan Payments

American Financial Benefits Center Advises Caution: Tax Filing Status Can Affect Student Loan Payments

What do student loans and taxes have in common? It sounds like the opening to a bad joke, but when student loan payments are calculated using income, which is most easily gathered through tax documents, it’s easier to see the relationship between the two. How income-driven repayment plan enrollees file their taxes can affect the size of their monthly payments. This is especially true for married federal student loan borrowers. American Financial Benefits Center, a document preparation company specializing in assisting borrowers in applying and recertifying for federal repayment plans, encourages its married clients to consider possible implications before they file their taxes. “It’s exciting to file your taxes jointly for the first time after you get married,” said Sara Molina, Manager at AFBC. “But if you’re in an income-driven repayment plan, you might want to take a step back and decide if that’s the best course of action.” Filing jointly when married has many advantages, including higher base deductions, and can mean a larger tax refund for many couples. However, reporting a larger income can result in a larger student loan payment in an income-driven repayment plan. Because joint filing combines a couple’s incomes, payments calculated based on that income will be higher — or worse, sometimes that bump in income can disqualify borrowers from enrolling in an IDR program. (However, while an income bump may prevent borrowers from enrolling in a new IDR, borrowers currently enrolled in an IDR will remain in that repayment plan no matter how much their income increases.) Most IDRs will use both spouses’ incomes in payment calculations only if they filed their... read more
AFBC Encourages Borrowers to Talk About Their Debt When It Matters Most

AFBC Encourages Borrowers to Talk About Their Debt When It Matters Most

While there has recently been a proliferation of articles about personal student loan journeys, YouTube debt confessions, and now even novels about student loan borrowers, talking about student loans can be hard for many borrowers. Despite the fact that tens of millions of Americans carry student debt, borrowers hesitate to speak about their loans. American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), a document preparation company that assists borrowers with navigating federal repayment plans, encourages borrowers to not be afraid to talk about student debt when it matters. “Student debt can be a very touchy subject because it’s a financial matter and it’s a personal matter,” said Sara Molina, Manager at AFBC. “But we encourage people not to be afraid to discuss student loans. You never know when you might stumble across good advice, or just someone who knows what you’re going through. Take it from AFBC clients: they talked to us about their debt and we were able to help them get into a better situation.” Why are people so reluctant to talk about their debt? One reason may be because our culture seems to value success over everything, which can push those who feel unsuccessful into silence. Those who have talked publicly about their student debt weren’t always willing to do so. Some borrowers recount how they were regretful of perceived bad money decisions, embarrassment about their naiveté about loans, or ashamed that they weren’t as successful as they hoped to be. However, AFBC’s position is that pursuit of an education is nothing to be ashamed of, and student loans are evidence of that desire to get an education. Talking... read more
American Financial Benefits Center Reminds Borrowers that Default is Not Inevitable

American Financial Benefits Center Reminds Borrowers that Default is Not Inevitable

As a nation, we are increasingly alarmed by the rising student debt numbers, but the high level of a person’s student debt does not necessarily mean they are less likely to pay it back. Recent data from Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Brookings Institution show that default rates are instead more closely linked to students and institutions than to loan balances. American Financial Benefits Center, a document preparation company specializing in federal student loan repayment plans, recognizes that borrowers’ life circumstances can affect their ability to pay their student loans more than their balances, and supports all its clients in maintaining a federal repayment plan intended to keep their payments affordable. High student loan debt balances can be alarming, especially for those who have them. But often, they merely reflect attainment of more education. Students who earned advanced degrees often have much higher student loan balances than those who did not, but they are also less likely to default. That could be because they have greater earnings potentials than those with less education, or it could be part of their plan. Borrowers are increasingly sharing that their decision to attend grad school relied on the availability of federal forgiveness programs that lean on income-driven repayment plans. “It’s easy to assume that people with high balances and high payments will be the least able to keep up with them,” said Sara Molina, Manager at AFBC. “But that’s not what’s actually happening. No matter who is struggling with their payments, no matter what factors in their life might make them more vulnerable to default, there are options for them.”... read more
Paying for your Kid’s College While in Debt? Not Impossible, says AFBC

Paying for your Kid’s College While in Debt? Not Impossible, says AFBC

Saving or paying for a child to go to college can be a challenge, even more so if the parent is also dealing with debt, including their own student loan debt. However, it’s not impossible to tackle the issue of a kid’s college expenses while in debt. Clients of American Financial Benefits Center (AFBC), a document preparation company that assists student loan borrowers with enrollment in certain federal repayment programs, can keep their bills lower by maintaining their enrollment in the right repayment plan. AFBC clients would also benefit from mapping out a game plan for paying for their kid’s college costs. “While student loan borrowers are often talked about as ‘kids,’ so many of them actually have children of their own,” said Sara Molina, Manager at AFBC. “And a lot of those children are college-bound. So this is a major financial question that borrowers are concerned about.” Depending on how big a borrower’s loan balance is relative to their income, the savings gained by staying in an income-driven repayment plan could be substantial. Current borrowers who are in income-driven plans can also expect to have any remaining balances forgiven at the end of a 20- to 25-year period. AFBC urges their clients who are concerned about paying for a child to go to college to put any savings they can from their reduced monthly loan payment towards a college fund. College savings funds come in many forms, from simple savings accounts to investments in stocks and bonds to tuition-specific plans like 529 Plans. 529 Plans can be state- or school-specific and can come in the form of college... read more
American Financial Benefits Center Clients Have Head Start on Saving in 2018

American Financial Benefits Center Clients Have Head Start on Saving in 2018

Save money or pay off student loans? That’s on a lot of minds as people form financial goals around this time of year. The answer depends on priorities. Those with student loan stress weighing heavily on the mind may want to focus on paying off debt. Those who want to take a vacation this year, save up for a down payment, get together an emergency fund, or save for anything else should focus on saving money. American Financial Benefits Center, a document preparation company that helps individuals apply for and stay enrolled in income-driven repayment plans, focuses on helping its clients reduce student loan payments to free up monthly budgets for other goals. The process of paying down debt and saving up money are not mutually exclusive. Some of the same principles of saving can be used to pay down debt, including student loans. For some, it may take a change in mindset: focus on the future goals instead of the present desires. That may help in reducing spending in favor of putting the money elsewhere, which is an important step in the process. “It can be hard to think of saving money when making the monthly student loan payments and keeping up with other bills is difficult,” said Sara Molina, Manager at AFBC. “But with some work, it’s possible to whip a budget into shape to be able to save for a vacation, a house, or possibly even debt payoff. For a lot of people that might mean lowering payments on student loans and other bills.” The first step in saving more money is seeing how much it... read more

Minimize Your Student Debt!

Are you looking for help with your student loan debt? Please fill out the form below to have one of our counselors contact you.

If you are an existing client of AFBC, contact us at: Ph. 1-800-488-1490 or [email protected]
Monday - Saturday 8am - 5pm PST









Estimated Federal Loan Balance:



Please fill out the following to confirm prior to submission:

AFBC Client Testimonials

My Account Specialist did an amazing job explaining everything. He not only tolerated me, but encouraged me as I research everything that he talked about because it sounded just a bit too good to be true.

Caitlin, Virginia Beach, VA