Consolidating fed student loans

After a decade of payments, whatever debt is left over will be forgiven.

“The sooner you start payments, the sooner you get forgiveness,” notes Fred Amrein, a financial planner in Wynnewood, Pa.

She then took some speech pathology courses and found that field wasn’t right for her either. “I come from a long line of teachers, and I wanted to do something different,” Talbert says.

“But the more I thought about it, I realized [teaching] was my calling.” At 27, she’s now about three months into her first teaching job, happily working as high school English teacher in Columbia, S. In all, it took her some seven years to earn an undergraduate degree.

(For Talbert, there’s little downside to consolidating her loans, but that’s not always the case.

Read more about that here.) “You don’t want to be surprised years later if you switch jobs and were planning to have your loans forgiven…

Talbert has 17 individual loans, and only some of them automatically qualify for the income-driven plans that lead to loan forgiveness.

She thought she wanted to be a nurse but quickly discovered science wasn’t her strong suit.

Jessica Ferastoaru, a student loan counselor with Take Charge America, recommends Talbert and other potential applicants fill out the form every year, or at a minimum, any time they change jobs.

“You don’t want to be surprised years later if you switch jobs and were planning to have your loans forgiven…

Finally, Talbert should fill out a form for the Department of Education to certify that her teaching job is qualified.

(You can download it here.) This isn’t required in order to collect public service forgiveness, but it can help borrowers make certain that they qualify and establish a paper trail for when it’s time to claim forgiveness.

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