Enables borrowers to better track their loans and manage payments
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) announced today that it has launched a new online tool designed to help private student loan borrowers manage their loan payments and improve financial wellness.
FAME’s Private Loan Repayment Counseling Tool is the first of its kind and provides borrowers with important strategies for tracking their loans and managing payments, as well as important tips on budgeting and saving. The tool stresses the importance of communicating with loan servicers, particularly during times of financial hardship.
“This free resource will be available to all private loan borrowers, regardless of where they attended college or which private loan they borrowed,” stated Mary Dyer, FAME’s Financial Education Officer. “Borrowers who utilize the tool will also have access to additional financial education modules on topics such as smart spending, credit cards, identity theft and investing.”
The tool is one of several new resources that FAME has developed to encourage Maine students to borrow responsibly and to take control of their student loan payments.
Private loan borrowing for higher education purposes is increasing in the United States. Almost 1.4 million undergraduates borrowed private loans in 2011-12, the last academic year such information was available. FAME cautions students and families to exhaust all of their federal aid options before considering private loans. Private loans are not eligible for income-based repayment or loan forgiveness options that are featured with federal student loans.
FAME recently created Leaving College, a publication that focuses on borrowers who are withdrawing from school or graduating, encouraging them to take the necessary steps to avoid student loan delinquency and default. FAME also has developed an online module as part of a new refinance/consolidation program offered by Maine lenders and guaranteed by FAME. The module is required of all borrowers before they can apply for the loan, and educates them on the pros and cons of loan refinance. FAME also recently launched TheLoanforME.com to help students and families make informed borrowing decisions and to help them navigate the complex world of student loans.