Bea Bernhausen - Mon, 08/10/2009 - 11:34
I missed the deadline for the loan forgiveness---although I dont even know if I would have been eligible due to the fact that I am not finished my studies yet.
I have a whopping loan of both BC and Canada. I am considered a student with a permanent disabilty--but not through the BC Disabilty Program. Can you let me know my options? If I get a low paying job is it taken into consideration in rate of repayment? I am also 62 years old---is age taken into consideration in any way?
Thanks for your reponse - Bea Bernhausen-Raichle
Jeannine replies: (Comments closed due to spam)
Actually, Bea, it sounds as if you didn't miss anything. Some people in school are making student loan payments but it sounds as if you're not. So you would not have been eligible.
When you graduate, your BC loan will probably be your biggest challenge, due to the recent cuts in BC student loan aid featured in our 'countdown campaign'. The way student loans are normally set up, your BC loan will be 40% of your total debt.
In BC, you may qualify for a loan forgiveness program, so check this out (see our "In Payment" advice). However, relatively few qualify now. If you're not one of the lucky few, your best hope now may be Interest Relief if your income remains low after graduation. While Interest Relief doesn't reduce your debt, it gives you smaller - or no - monthly payments as long as you qualify. I won't state exact months of Interest Relief available now since BC is re-examining its Interest Relief program. (For details, check "In Payment" advice - or use our search engine.)
So with your BC loan, Interest Relief would buy you time to either find a better-paying job or stay in good standing so you're eligible for future aid programs. BC is considering a RAP-style aid program for BC loans that might start in 2011 or 2012. (More on RAP below)
Your Canada loan should be your easiest loan to manage if your income after graduation is low enough to qualify for the new RAP (Repayment Assistance Plan) program. For details, see the In Payment advice articles RAP 101 and RAP 201.
For example, if your gross annual income (income before taxes) was $20,000 or less, you'd have no monthly payments due under RAP. Those with higher incomes would pay something, depending on family size, but their income would determine their payment. So the size of your loan won't be the deciding factor for your monthly payments if you qualify for RAP.
Furthermore, if you are accepted under the Permanent Disability criteria of Canada Student Loans, any Canada loan debt you haven't managed to pay off in 10 years would be forgiven. (These terms may change, but they stand for now). You may qualify for for this Permanent Disability criteria even though you say you don't qualify for the BC program. Rules vary with different programs.
If Canada Student Loans don't accept you as Permanently Disabled, the RAP rules promise loan forgiveness on your remaining Canada debt after 15 years.
On the other hand, maybe you could find yourself making more money than you think in years to come. In that case, your student loans would be more manageable.