If you experience financial difficulties due to unemployment, illness or other economic hardships, don't be embarrassed or afraid to ask for help. Unlike other consumer debt, such as credit cards, you have options. You may be eligible for a temporary payment plan, deferment, forbearance, loan consolidation, loan cancellation/discharge, or loan rehabilitation. Call the Long Term Loan office before the account goes into default!
If, for any reason, you do not make a scheduled payment on your loan for 60 days, you will be in default. Default means you failed to make payments on your student loan according to the terms of your promissory note, the binding legal document you signed at the time you took out your loan. Your school, the financial institution that made or owns your loan, and the federal government can take action to recover the money you owe. Here are some consequences of default:
- National credit bureaus can be notified of your default, which will harm your credit rating, making it hard to buy a car or a house.
- You would be ineligible for additional federal student aid if you decided to return to school.
- Diplomas, grades, and transcripts (official and unofficial) will be not be released.
- Loan payments can be garnished from your paycheck.
- State income tax refunds can be withheld and applied toward the amount you owe.
- You will have to pay late fees and collection costs on top of what you already owe.
- You can be sued.
- Sent to Department of Revenue or an outside collection agency for further collection action.
- Permanent assignment to the Department of Education.
All defaulted Perkins Loan borrowers are eligible for rehabilitation. This includes borrowers who have a judgment rendered on their loan. However, borrower payments on a loan on which a judgment has been rendered must be "voluntary." Any payments that are equal to the amount the borrower is required to make under the judgment are considered voluntary.
The benefits of rehabilitation are the following:
- Restoration of Title IV eligibility;
- Restoration of the benefits and privileges of the promissory note and a return to regular repayment status;
- A new repayment period of up to ten years;
- Removal of the default from the borrower's credit history.