Helping people understand student loans is our job at SALT™, and few are better at it than Betsy Mayotte—the director of regulatory compliance for American Student Assistance® (our parent company). We told borrowers to “Just Ask” her questions, so check out her answers below (as well as her cat—because if Piglet can’t make student loans better, what can?).
Should I Have Gotten A Degree?
In this day and age, is it really a good idea to earn a degree? I owe $40,000 in student loans and I am in an $8.00/hour job. It appears that employers don’t respect degrees anymore because competition is fierce.
I can understand why you might feel frustrated. Anyone considering higher education should conduct a cost-benefit analysis of their desired degree.
I always encourage consumers to check the graduation rate and anticipated debt level for the school and degree of their choice, as well as to research the anticipated outlook of job prospects and salary for the field they wish to enter when making the college decision. In my opinion, college isn’t for everyone—but it can be a great investment for most.
I sincerely wish you luck and an improvement in your job prospects. Hopefully, you’re taking advantage of the lower payment options available for federal student loans to keep your current payments manageable. Let us know if we can help.
Consolidating Cosigned Private Loans
We cosigned private loans for our children. They have graduated and are repaying the loans. The interest rates range from 8% to 9.25%. Is there a smart way to consolidate these loans in their names and at a lower rate? Since we cosigned, I believe we bear the risk of repaying if they became disabled or deceased.
There’s been a lot in the press lately about families that get stuck with their children’s student loans when the unthinkable happens. The good news is that all that press has caused some lenders to rethink their policies in such situations—but it depends on the lender, and it may depend on when you co-signed the loan too.
The best way to determine your particular lender’s policies is to check your promissory notes or the lender’s website. If these feature language stating that you are responsible if the borrower dies, I’d suggest having your children take out life insurance in the amount of the loans.
Private loans can be consolidated—often at a lower rate and without the co-signer if the borrower has been paying on time for a few years and has otherwise good credit. Here’s a list of lenders who may offers that service.
Let me know if you have additional questions.
Have a student loan question you need an answer to? Just Ask.
(Note: The questions and answers above are real; however, they have been edited for grammar and clarity, but not by Piglet.)