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Strategies to Get Student Loan Debt Under Control, Part 2-State Loans

The Minnesota Office of Higher Education offers the Student Educational Loan Fund (SELF) program to help finance postsecondary education with low-interest loans. The aim of the program is to provide money to students to get a college education. The SELF Loan program is not based upon income levels. This program is offered to those who meet the minimum program requirements and have a co-signer.

Student can choose either a fixed or variable rate loan under the program. SELF interest rates as of 1 August 2016 are: 3.4% variable and 6.0% fixed. The reasons why the number of students taking advantage of the SELF program has decreased between 2009 and 2016, is twofold:

  • First, the federal government passed a law in 2008, which greatly restricted the ability of most colleges to give students information about non-federal loans. Before this law was enacted, colleges could disseminate information to students about SELF Loan and the low interest rates available.
  • Second, the ability of the student to borrow larger sums to cover the cost of a college education through the SELF program was limited to $10,000. Subsequently, in 2016, the SELF program has increased the borrowing limits to $20,000 for students enrolled in a 4-year or graduate program.

The current advantage of the SELF Loans for an undergraduate is a lower interest rate than what the student can get from the U.S. Department of Education. According to the Federal Student Aid website, an Office of the U.S. Department of Education, for loans first disbursed on or after 1 July 2016 and before 1 July 2017, the interest rate on a Direct Subsidized/ Unsubsidized Loan would be 3.76% compared to a SELF Loan of 3.4% variable and 6.0% fixed. So, the Department of Education is not the only game in town for student borrowers.

Further, the SELF Refi program introduced in 2016, offers Minnesota residents the ability to refinance their postsecondary education debt. This Refi Loan is available only to Minnesota residents who have earned their credentials, are currently employed, meet credit and debt-to-income requirements and have at least $10,000 in qualified education loans to refinance. Additionally, the program does offer an option for a co-signed loan if the second cosigning borrower meets minimum credit and debt-to-income requirements. The maximum SELF Refi loan is $70,000.

To find out more about student loan help for Minnesotans, contact Hedervare Law Office. Call 651-383-4725 now to schedule an analysis of your situation.

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