Tuesday, June 14, 2016

You've just graduated from college. Most students graduate with at least $35,000 of student loan debt. Maybe you've considered doing a year or two of service after you get your degree, but when you look at your debt, it just doesn't seem like a responsible thing to do anymore. It's time to get a job and make some money, right?

You might have more options than you realize. Student loans can be a barrier to service, but not an insurmountable one. We'd like to outline some of the best ways to do MVS without feeling overwhelmed with your student loan debt.

Option #1: Deferment/forbearance

There are many types of deferments and forbearances. In general, they are all ways to postpone or suspend your loan payments.

The Economic Hardship Deferment is the most common option that MVSers have used in the past. Deferment is generally granted in 12-month increments for up to 36 months during the life of the loan. Interest will continue to accrue during this time, but if you have a subsidized loan, the government will pay that interest for you!

Option #2: Scholarships

For the past two years, MVS has offered student loan scholarships to any participant who completes a full term of service and provides us with basic information about their loans. This money can help cover the interest that accrues during your time in MVS.

While the amount of money we are able to give fluctuates from year to year, MVSers completing their first term this August will receive an average of $1,200 per person, and second-year MVSers will receive an average of $1,500. (Award amounts vary somewhat depending on the total student loan debt that an MVSer holds.) 

Option #3: Income-based repayment plans

Income-based repayment plans have been around for a while, but recent changes have made them an even better deal for people who want to do volunteer work with a program like MVS.

The idea of an income-based repayment plan is that, once signed up, your monthly payment will never exceed 10 percent of your discretionary income. If you're in MVS, this means that your monthly payment is basically $0 (though interest will continue to accrue).

Are you considering a career in the nonprofit sector? An additional benefit of income-based repayment plans is that if your loan has not been paid off within 10 years, and if you have been working at nonprofit agencies for that entire time, you will be eligible to have the remainder of your loans forgiven under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program

And don't forget about jobs!

In 2014, 53 percent of MVSers received job offers as a direct result of the work they did at their placement, often from the very agency where they were serving. We're not talking about padding your résumé, we're not talking about making connections—we're talking about unsolicited job offers falling out of the sky and landing in your lap.

If you are considering MVS but aren't sure if you can make it work with your student loans, contact us or complete an application. Kent Peters, our resident student loan expert, can help you review your options.



https://www.mennonitemission.net/info/Balancing student loan debt and service



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