Students should know their loan repayment options

The DOE’s outreach program will help students manage their debt more effectively.

by Daily Editorial Board

Student loans are becoming a common burden for college graduates struggling under inflated tuition. And with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimating that student debt is now more than $1 trillion, President Barack Obama has made several proposals aimed at making college more affordable.

One of them aims to make the repayment process clearer by contacting borrowers and letting them know their options and whether they qualify for certain payment programs based on their income.

The U.S. Department of Education “is planning to send e-mails to those who seem most likely to benefit from the [loan payment] programs, explaining debt-relief plans based on the borrower’s income,” the New York Times reported Sept. 24.

Though the Department of Education does not have unlimited access to borrowers’ private financial information, the plan intends primarily to educate individuals on the types of loan repayment programs they may be eligible for.

Programs like Income-Contingent Repayment, Income-Based Repayment, Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Pay As You Earn all have different qualifications that may be difficult to sort out for recent graduates as well as those squarely in the workforce, especially without outside help or updates on program changes.

This outreach program is a step in the right direction for making college costs more transparent and more affordable.

Most any initiative to make the borrowing process less confusing and more accessible to students should be supported. Lawmakers should continue to look for ways to make the college financial process easier to understand.