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Brain Power Wellness, a holistic, school-based wellness organization, works hard to educate and train educators, parents, and coaches on how to help students learn to regulate their emotions. In the unprecedented times that we live in, this is an essential skill that all children should learn, but they need the help of the adults around them to do so.
There are many ways Brain Power Wellness offers support in schools, including classroom visits and retreats. In this article, Brain Power Wellness reviews two important training pieces: the Certified Teacher Leader program and the Student Leadership Program.
One of the main ways that Brain Power Wellness helps adults support children in this regard is through its Certified Teacher Leader program. This program helps adults gain the professional skills necessary to effectively share the Brain Power Wellness holistic wellness and training system with organizations and schools in your community.
A unique portion of the BPW program is sustainability, and BPW accomplishes that by training a select number of teachers through the Certified Teacher Leader (CTL). For this program, schools are able to send staff members to get trained on how to facilitate a vibrant program school-wide. Participants attend a retreat with other Level 1 trainees and receive valuable training and resources they can share with students, parents, and colleagues.
Once trainees have attended the retreat, they can participate in monthly reinforcement sessions that will support the application of what they learned at the retreat.
The CTL retreats include brain break activities revolving around the Brain Power 10 themes, including mindfulness, team building, and SEL. These retreats are held two to three times per year.
Another way Brain Power Wellness offers support is within schools. In this way, BPW implemented a Student Leadership Program, coaching up to 25 students with natural leadership abilities in each participating school.
Many of these students have shown problematic behaviors in the past. With help from BPW’s Student Leadership Program, these students learn ways to lead other students and promote a positive school culture. Ways these students can lead the rest of the student body include routines and exercises for large gatherings such as assemblies or even in the cafeteria.
The Student Leadership Program training begins with an eight-hour workshop given in two-hour increments that include complementary reinforcement and a full-day leadership & celebration retreat. After the initial workshops are concluded, the staff of Brain Power Wellness reviews the material and training in follow-up visits.
Brain Power Wellness is a school-based wellness company that supports healthier school environments. Transforming partner schools through self-development, mindfulness, community building, retreats, SEL, holistic wellness, and brain training, Brain Power Wellness helps teachers, students, parents, and administrators. Since 2007, it has impacted more than 25,000 teachers and half a million students in 500 schools worldwide.
TLS Academy Pte Ltd has been awarded the EduTrust certification by the Committee for Private Education (CPE), a government agency that regulates the Private Education sector in Singapore.
The EduTrust Certification Scheme is a quality assurance scheme to distinguish private schools that are able to maintain a high standard of quality in the overall provision of education services and to make continual improvements that lead to positive student outcomes.
There are 7 criteria under the EduTrust Certification Scheme: Management Commitment and Responsibilities, Corporate Governance and Administration, External Recruitment Agents, Student Protections and Support Services, Academic Processes and Student Assessment, Achievement of Student and Graduate Outcomes, Quality Assurance, and Monitoring and Results.
With the Edu-Trust certification, international students can benefit from the Singapore private education in the country. TLS Academy can help foreigners living outside of Singapore to apply for a Student’s Pass to study in the country.
Individualised and Holistic Education
At TLS Academy, learning is individualised to suit each and every student’s pace. Every student is encouraged to learn more actively and independently and nurtured to love learning that stays with them throughout their lives.
The Singapore private school’s holistic and individualised approach to learning allows it to cater to each child’s academic, social and psychological needs. The needs of each student are met at their individual performance levels. Each student advances through the curriculum at their optimum rate of achievement. Depending on the student’s rate of academic development and level of motivation, he or she may graduate before or beyond his or her chronological age.
“At TLS Academy, we see every child as a gem, being turned over to us to be polished. Every child is created by God as a unique individual, with specific learning styles. This calls for an approach and a programme that is designed and geared to meet the learning needs of every individual child.
We see potential in every child that comes to us and we endeavour to bring out the very best in him/ her. Our staff is trained to identify the sore points, treat them and then strengthen them. The children eventually become independent learners. They were given fish, but, eventually, they become fishers.” said Principal, Ms. Esther Koh.
Eligibility & Enrolment
TLS Academy is open to receive students from Singapore and overseas.
The basic entry requirements for TLS Academy are:
• Ability to read, write, speak and understand English.
• Undergo an ACE® Diagnostic Test in order to determine performance level and learning gaps.
For Singaporeans, under the Compulsory Education Act, we are unable to accept them until they have obtained withdrawal approval from the public school they are attending. At the same time, TLS Academy will seek approval for their enrolment from the Ministry of Education.
For foreigners living outside of Singapore, who require a Student’s Pass in Singapore, TLS Academy, being an EduTrust-certified Private Education Institution (PEI) in Singapore, is able to help with the application.
For enrolment inquiries, please email [email protected] or visit https://tlsacademy.org
ABOUT TLS ACADEMY
TLS Academy is an EduTrust-certified Singapore private school that provides individualised and holistic private education for both local and international students. The school adopts an independent and holistic learning programme that is built on Christian principles. It caters to students from Grade 1 to Grade 12 (equivalent to primary to post-secondary education). Upon completion, graduating students will receive an American High School Diploma.
Since its inception, TLS Academy has enrolled over 200 international students from over 20 nationalities.
Company Name: TLS Academy Pte Ltd
Contact Person: Rodney Chua, Director of Growth
Email: Send Email
Picking a credit card can seem like trying to choose an elective class—there are so many options available and it’s difficult to figure out where to start. Some first-time credit card applicants may see the advantage of a secured card instead of a student card and others may want to be an authorized user on someone else’s card or find a cosigner and obtain a card with more robust offerings than a typical student card (if the card issuer allows cosigners). Forbes Advisor’s resources can help you figure out what sort of card might be right for you if you’re looking at applying for your first credit card.
Before applying, carefully consider your options. Here are some questions to ask:
Are you trying to maximize earnings or do you value simplicity? If you don’t want to wonder which category is getting bonus points this quarter, a flat-rate card is probably a better choice.
Some cards offer generous welcome bonuses, but are not the best for real category bonuses. Are you looking for a rewards kick-start or a generous ongoing rewards program?
Carefully consider a few important items when selecting the right card for you.
Many credit cards charge annual fees. Typically, these cards also provide better rewards, more benefits and other valuable perks. You should consider several factors when deciding if you want an annual fee, but first among them is whether or not you’ll receive enough additional benefit from the annual fee. It may be easy to ask, “will the rewards or benefits of this card pay for the fee?” but the question you should ask is, “will the rewards and benefits of the card pay for the annual fee and bring me more value than the best no-annual-fee option for me?”
Another factor to consider, especially as a student with little to no credit history, is that an annual fee is often charged to the credit card account and immediately reduces available credit. If your card’s annual fee is $100 and you’re only granted a $300 credit limit, you will be opening an account with credit utilization already at 33%. You should be prepared to immediately pay this down to avoid reducing your credit score; we never recommend credit utilization exceed 30%—and preferably remain below 10%.
What is the card’s APR? What are the hidden fees and how do you avoid them? studying the fine print of any card agreement should be done before agreeing to anything. studying terms and conditions and ensuring you fully understand them should be done before applying for a card. If this seems like too much work, don’t apply for a credit card. See the resources above for help deciphering what things you may not understand mean for your everyday card use.
A major reason many students should consider student credit cards is the opportunity to build healthy credit. This won’t happen, though, if the card issuer doesn’t report your account information to major credit bureaus. For best results, find a card issuer that reports to all three major consumer credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and Transunion. Using a student card to build stronger credit will help you gain easier and more affordable access to other types of loans and more rewarding credit card offers.
Student credit cards now often offer decent rewards in the form of (usually) either cash back or points. Though student card rewards remain unlikely to compete with the best rewards cards on the market, they’re often better than rewards offered by secured cards and other options for those with little to no credit history.
Student cards rarely require security deposits and often offer an unsecured alternative to other credit-building products such as secured credit cards. This lack of a security deposit can be a huge help to students without the capital to collateralize a credit account for the sake of building credit or earning rewards.
Plan to travel abroad? You’ll want to make sure your card will be accepted internationally and not charge you for every purchase you make in your host country. Card networks play an important role in international acceptance: Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted by international merchants, but Discover isn’t always accepted in foreign countries.
Foreign transaction fees range between 2% and 5% depending on the card and issuer, but many travel-oriented cards forgo these fees entirely. If you don’t plan to leave the U.S., these fees are not likely an important consideration. But if you do, these fees can stack up quickly and make travel that much more expensive. Be sure not to confuse foreign transaction fees with currency conversion fees.
Travel benefits may be another consideration. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for Students charges no foreign transaction fees and would be widely accepted by most international merchants that accept credit cards but goes even farther to offer several benefits aimed toward students traveling abroad.
By definition, students are supposed to learn—and that’s what a good student credit card can help you do. Though the consequences are the same as real credit cards and issuers rarely leave much room for mistakes, the great student credit cards provide those seeking education an opportunity to explore rewards, benefits and credit. To make the most of a student credit card, use the opportunity to build better credit and great spending habits.
Educate yourself on how to maintain healthy credit and how your credit score works. Learn about credit utilization and find out what great credit can help you achieve. Know that you should always pay a bill on time, in full if you can. You should never miss a minimum payment and don’t spend more than you can afford to pay off at the end of the month. Don’t use up too much of your available credit and ensure your account remains open and in good standing. All these tips can help you keep moving in a positive direction when it comes to building your credit.
Even if you have made mistakes, remember that we’re all students and it’s never too late to learn. Besides, collection agencies may be able to use court orders to take your money, but a good education is something no one can take from you.
If you have hefty student loans, chances are you are anxiously awaiting details of the Biden administration’s plan to wipe out a big chunk of that financial burden.
In August—citing the fact that more than 45 million Americans owe more than $1.6 trillion in federal student loans—President Biden promised to cancel $10,000 in student loans for most middle-class borrowers and for some, up to $20,000.
The official student loan forgiveness application is available on the Federal Student Aid website. However, there are still hurdles to the Biden plan. On Oct. 21, a Federal Appeals court temporarily blocked the plan in response to a lawsuit brought by Republican leaders in six states. As The Wall Street Journal newsroom reported, the Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the case, putting it on a fast track that could lead to a final ruling early next summer.
Here’s what you need to know about how to apply for student loan forgiveness so you can get all your ducks in a row.
The Biden administration is offering widespread loan cancellation to qualifying borrowers, and for some the process may be automatic. But don’t count on this. Unless the Education Department already has your income information—for instance, if you recently applied for an income-driven repayment plan—you’ll need to fill out an application to get your loans forgiven. The deadline to apply is Dec. 31, 2023.
“So far we don’t know who exactly will be automatic and who won’t be, so better to be safe than sorry and apply,” says Meagan Landress, financial coach and certified student loan professional.
The Department of Education launched the application, so borrowers can start applying now. As for how to apply for student loan forgiveness? The application is short, easy to complete and doesn’t require your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID or any supporting documents.
The simple form asks for your:
Before submitting the application, you’ll need to type your electronic signature and check a box certifying “under penalty of perjury” that the information you provided was true.
This application is available in both English and Spanish. Submitting it means that you’re applying for loan forgiveness, meet income and other eligibility guidelines and will provide proof of income by March 31, 2024, if requested.
After applying, borrowers should receive loan forgiveness within four to six weeks. If you apply by Nov. 15, for instance, you could see loan forgiveness by the end of the year.
With legal challenges and so many borrowers applying, there are likely to be some bumps in the road.
“There’s no way to know how the forgiveness process may play out,” says student loan lawyer Adam Minsky. “Some new lawsuits have been filed against the Biden administration seeking to block loan forgiveness, and it’s possible these lawsuits could interfere with the program.”
Six states—Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina—have brought lawsuits against the loan forgiveness plan (Arizona also separately filed its own challenge). On Oct. 21, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to halt student loan initiative while it considers the request of the six states.
In early December the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on an expedited time line. The move which came at the request of the Biden administration, will allow the White House to avoid waiting for lower court rulings that could have dragged out a decision even further. In the current scenario, borrowers should be able to expect a final ruling by the end of June 2023.
With all these issues popping up, it’s a good idea to apply as soon as possible and to save all your documentation (e.g., screenshot any loan forgiveness you receive) in case rules change in the future.
First and foremost, you can fill out the application for up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness on the Federal Student Aid website. Once you’ve completed that, it’s a good idea to sign into your Federal Student Aid account and review your loans.
Passwords sometimes expire, so check if yours is active or needs to be reset. Once you’re logged in, look over how much you owe, who your student loan servicer is and what your interest rates are. Check whether you received a Pell Grant in college, which could qualify you for an additional $10,000 in loan forgiveness. Update your contact information, as well, so you don’t miss any important communications.
You can also sign up for the Department of Education’s newsletter so you’ll be notified about any developments to the program.
If you still have a balance after receiving loan forgiveness, review your options for repayment ahead of the new year. Federal Student Aid’s Loan Simulator tool can help you review your loans on different repayment plans and find one that fits your budget.
“January will almost certainly be a chaotic time for the [student loan] servicers,” says Michael Lux, attorney and founder of The Student Loan Sherpa. “Getting everything figured out now will save a ton of headaches in 2023.”
You can also explore your options for forbearance and deferment, both of which pause payments temporarily. Forbearance is typically granted for 12 months at a time, while deferment times can vary but may last for up to three years. Keep in mind, however, that your loans may accrue interest if you pause payments through these programs, causing your loan balance to grow.
You might also check out alternative options for student loan forgiveness, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness. If you don’t need federal protections, you could also consider refinancing your student loans for better rates.
By reviewing your options for repayment plans and forgiveness programs now, you can make informed decisions about your federal student loan debt in the months to come.
The Biden administration is offering up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness to borrowers who owe federal loans and meet income guidelines. Any eligible borrower will receive up to $10,000 in forgiveness. If you received a Pell Grant in college, a type of aid reserved for undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, you could get an additional $10,000 in forgiveness for a total of $20,000. You can check whether or not you received a Pell Grant in college by signing into your Federal Student Aid account.
To qualify for loan forgiveness, your adjusted gross income must have been less than $125,000 per year as a single tax filer or $250,000 per household if you’re married. These income thresholds apply to the 2020 or 2021 tax year.
If you were claimed as a dependent on your parents’ tax return in 2020 or 2021, the government will look at your parents’ income to determine if you’re eligible.
Current students can qualify for loan forgiveness as long as their loans were disbursed after June 30, 2022, and they meet other requirements.
You don’t need to have graduated with your degree—you can still qualify for forgiveness of your student loans.
If your student loans were in default before the emergency forbearance (i.e., you missed payments for 270 days or more), you could still qualify for forgiveness. In the past couple of years, the government paused collections on defaulted student loans. In April 2022, the Education Department announced that defaulted loans will enter current repayment status when the moratorium ends. Borrowers will regain access to federal protections and get a fresh start with their defaulted loans.
Thanks to the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, which waived taxes on loan forgiveness through 2025, you won’t have to pay federal taxes on the forgiven amount. However, some states, such as Mississippi and North Carolina, may levy state income taxes. If your state charges a tax rate of 5%, for example, expect to pay about $500 in taxes on $10,000 in loan forgiveness or $1,000 on $20,000 in loan forgiveness.
This widespread student loan cancellation is only available for federal student loans from the Direct loan program that were disbursed before June 30, 2022. Qualifying loans include Direct subsidized and unsubsidized, grad Plus loans, parent Plus loans and consolidation loans.
When the administration first announced loan forgiveness in August, it appeared that borrowers with other loan types, such as Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and Perkins loans, could make those loans eligible by consolidating them with a Direct consolidation loan. The FFEL loan program closed in 2010, and Perkins loans ended in 2017.
In late September, however, the Education Department said that privately-owned FFEL and Perkins loans are not eligible for forgiveness, even though they are federally-guaranteed. Now, the guidance is this: “As of Sept. 29, 2022, borrowers with federal student loans not held by ED cannot obtain one-time debt relief by consolidating those loans into Direct Loans.”
This rule reversal could exclude more than 800,000 borrowers from student loan forgiveness, reports NPR. If you hold a mix of loan types, your Direct loans will still qualify. However, any privately-owned FFEL or Perkins loans will not at this time.
Some good news for borrowers who kept paying their loans during the emergency forbearance, though—the government may refund those payments. If you qualify for $10,000 or $20,000 but paid off your balance to a lower amount in the past couple of years, the government should refund that amount. Note that refunds are not available for payments made before March 13, 2020. If this situation applies to you, contact your loan servicer to request a refund.
When the Biden administration announced its plans for up to $20,000 in loan forgiveness, it also introduced other changes to federal student loans.
For one, the administration extended the emergency forbearance through the end of 2022. The emergency forbearance was initially introduced in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and has been extended several times since. For the past couple of years, borrowers have not had to make payments on their federal student loans, and interest has been frozen at 0%.
Most recently, this forbearance was set to expire on Aug. 31, 2022. With this latest extension, it will end on Dec. 31, 2022. According to the administration, this latest extension will be the final one. Assuming no additional extensions, borrowers can expect to resume repayment on Jan. 1, 2023.
Besides extending the student loan freeze for another four months, the administration also announced its plans to introduce a new income-driven repayment, or IDR, plan. Currently, borrowers have four options for income-driven plans:
All of these plans reduce your payments to 10%, 15% or 20% of your discretionary income while extending your repayment terms to 20 or 25 years. If you still have a balance at the end of your term, it will be forgiven.
With the newly proposed income-driven plan, your payments on undergraduate student loans would be capped at 5% of your discretionary income. You could also receive loan forgiveness after just 10 years of repayment if you owe less than $12,000, a whole decade (or more) sooner than what’s currently on offer.
At this point, it’s not clear when this new income-driven repayment plan will be implemented or how it will treat graduate school loans.
“They haven’t been super clear on this,” says student loan consultant Jan Miller. “However, I anticipate that only borrowers who don’t have any grad school debts will get the 10-year loan forgiveness.”
Once this plan is available, though, it could offer lower payments and a faster loan forgiveness timeline than the current IDR options, at least for borrowers with undergraduate student loans.
If your student loans are on one of the current income-driven plans, you may need to recertify your income in the months to come. IDR plans base your monthly student loan payments on your family size and income and require recertification on an annual basis.
Recertifying your income and family size only takes 10 minutes or less, and you can complete the process online on the Federal Student Aid website. Usually, you need to provide proof of your income with verifying documents, such as tax returns.
Until June 30, 2023, however, the Department of Education is allowing borrowers to self-report their income online or over the phone. You don’t have to upload supporting documentation, which could make the recertifying process quicker and easier.
Note that you can choose to recertify your IDR plan ahead of your annual deadline if your circumstances change.
“If your income has decreased since the pandemic started and your payments are going to be too high for you, you can always request a recalculation,” says Miller. “You don’t have to wait until your recertification deadline, but can ask for a recalculation immediately to lower your payment based on your new lower income.”
The advice, recommendations or rankings expressed in this article are those of the Buy Side from WSJ editorial team, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our commercial partners.
Nov. 30—On Nov. 15, Midland College students enrolled in the dual credit Patient Care Technician program took the National Health Career Association Phlebotomy Certification exam, a press release stated.
Ninety-two percent of the students passed the test during this first attempt.
"Kudos to the amazing teachers — Stephanie Gilbreath and Maci Day," Wendy Wood-Collins, MC dean of Health Sciences Dual Credit and Continuing Education, stated in the press release. "Never has a group of students been more supported and encouraged, and it paid off. A 92 percent pass rate is definitely something to celebrate!"
The Midland College Patient Care Technician program is a dual credit program where high school students receive both college and high school credit. These students are seniors at MISD high schools and began the program last year.
During the spring semester, they passed the Certified Nurse Aide exam, and this year, in addition to the Phlebotomy Certification exam, they will also take the EKG Technician Certification test and a comprehensive Patient Care Technician Certification exam.
"Once these students pass all certifications—by the time they finish high school, they will not only have 15 hours of college credit, but also be eligible for employment as a Patient Care Technician," Wood-Collins stated in the press release. "They will have competencies beyond that of a Nurse Aide with the scope of a variety of patients ranging from pediatrics to emergency room and critical care. Many of them also choose to continue their education in healthcare fields such as nurses, respiratory care technicians, radiography technicians, paramedics and even physicians. By taking healthcare courses in high school, these students are able to explore the many exciting career opportunities available in the healthcare industry."
ST. PAUL — A judge has granted class certification in a lawsuit against the University of Minnesota that seeks larger refunds of mandatory student fees paid during the spring 2020 semester, when students were urged to go home to avoid catching and spreading the coronavirus.
The class representatives are Steven Staubus, a freshman in 2020 who had returned home to Illinois for spring break and stayed there the rest of the semester, and Patrick Hyatte, who was a senior music student from St. Paul who had an ensemble performance canceled.
Both said they supported the March 2020 decision to shut down campus activities and move classes online due to health concerns, but that the refunds they received were insufficient.
“We weren’t able to access the services in person and on campus and fully the way they were advertised,” Staubus said in a February deposition.
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents in early April 2020 approved $27.8 million in refunds for students throughout the system. Four days later, in response to criticism and in hopes of avoiding a lawsuit, the board upped that amount to $35.4 million.
Students got full, prorated refunds for housing, dining, parking, transportation, safety and recreation and wellness. The U refunded just half the remaining fees for student government and student services, “in recognition that student groups are no longer able to meet in person, although many continue to meet virtually, and other student service activities are modified from original plans.”
Students got no refunds for fees that fund building improvements and pay off the football stadium’s debt.
In a January deposition, President Joan Gabel said many student services continued in spring 2020 even though few students remained on campus.
“We put up services that didn’t even exist before in order to take care of students,” she said. “We were figuring out every possible thing we could do to maximize the student experience academically … (and) beyond the classroom.”
The U even kept paying student workers, including Staubus, for jobs they no longer had to do.
Gabel said she knew the refunds for housing, dining and student fees would be expensive, but said that was not a factor when deciding how much to provide back.
“The only thing I relied on was what I thought was fair for students,” she said.
Staubus and Hyatte each filed separate lawsuits in Hennepin County District Court in 2020. Hyatte initially sought refunds for both tuition and student fees, but a judge dismissed the tuition claim, and the two cases were consolidated.
District Judge Laurie Miller granted class certification last week, which will allow all similarly situated students to be treated equally, depending on the outcome of the case.
If the class representatives win at trial or reach a settlement with the U, more than 60,000 students throughout the five-campus system — anyone who was charged mandatory fees that semester — stand to get paid.
A spokesman for the U declined to comment, noting that the U has a motion pending before the court that could resolve the case in its favor.
The class action is one of hundreds like it throughout the country, some of which have resulted in payouts. Rutgers University, for one, agreed to a $5 million settlement, which is roughly $60 per student.
One of the local attorneys for the class, Matt Morgan with the Nichols Kaster law firm in Minneapolis, did not return a phone message. Also serving as class counsel are Minneapolis-based Pearson, Simon & Warshaw; the Chicago-based Stephan Zouras; and New York-based Sultzer Law Group and Leeds Brown.
It’s hardly any secret that student loan debt is a major burden for individuals and families across the country. According to the Education Data Initiative, student loan debt in the United States totaled $1.745 trillion as of the third quarter of 2022. About 92.7% of all debt is federal student loans.
The average individual debt balance, when including both federal and private loans, is projected to be about $40,780, according to the same Education Data Initiative report.
So what happens if the worst occurs and the borrower passes away without having fully repaid their student debt? It's an important question to consider. And the answer varies based on the type of loan in question.
The process for dealing with federal student debt in the event of a borrower’s passing is the most straightforward. According to the U.S. Department of Education, federal student loans are discharged. This policy also includes Parent Plus loans. If either the parent who took out a Parent Plus loan, or the student who was the beneficiary of the loan, passes away, the debt will be discharged.
However the discharge of the debt does have other financial consequences.
“The discharge is typically taxable,” says Conor Mahlmann, certified student loan professional and a student loan advisor for Student Loan Planner. “The estate would be responsible for the taxes on the discharged loan. As an unsecured debt, it would go in line with all of the other unsecured debts that must be paid by the estate.”
For the time being however, thanks to the adoption of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this death discharge tax responsibility has been waived through 2025.
While only about 7.3% of student loan debt is tied to private loans, according to the Education Data Initiative, it’s equally important to understand how to deal with this financial burden should the need arise. When the borrower dies, the remaining private student loans may be handled in a variety of ways.
“Private loans vary by lender. Some will discharge upon the death of the borrower. Others bill the debt to the deceased estate,” says Betsy Mayotte, the president and founder of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors.
Some lenders, such as Sofi, state very clearly on their websites that they will discharge the debt if the borrower dies. Earnest is another example of a lender that will discharge student loans in most cases in the event of the borrower’s death.
But here, too, there would be taxes to be paid on the discharge for which the deceased’s estate is responsible for paying, says Mahlmann.
If the private student loan debt involved a co-signer or belonged to a spouse, the resolution is less straightforward. Again, the policy often varies from lender to lender.
“In some cases, if the primary borrower should pass away, the co-signer is still liable, but in others, it is forgiven,” says Mayotte. “The borrower’s promissory note should state the rules for their particular private loan."
A co-signer may indeed be responsible for repayment when a borrower dies and the deceased individual’s estate cannot cover the balance remaining.
“If there’s a balance that can’t be paid from the borrower’s estate and the lender doesn’t include death discharge clauses, a co-signer could be on the hook to make payments on the remaining balance,” says Mahlmann. “This is true only for private loans taken before November 20, 2018. After that, co-signers are protected from having to handle the balance in the event of a borrower’s death.”
In the same scenario, a spouse could be required to make the payments as well, if the student loans were established during the marriage and the couple lives in a community property state. It’s also worth noting that in some instances a cosigner's death may trigger an automatic default of the student loan. This can occur even if you've been making all of the loan payments on time all along.
“This means that the full balance becomes due immediately,” says debt relief attorney Leslie Tayne, of Tayne Law Group. “While you are probably not legally required to notify your lender of a cosigner's death—this would be outlined in the promissory note— some banks review public death records for this reason.”
Reporting the death of a student loan holder is typically a straightforward process, whether it’s private or federal loans. Proof of death is usually required to be submitted to the loan servicer by a family member or some other representative.
In the case of federal student loans specifically, there’s a handful of acceptable forms of documentation that can be used in such cases:
Original death certificate
Certified copy of a death certificate
An accurate or complete photo copy of either one of those documents.
“The exact process will depend on the loan servicer. When a borrower dies, a family member should gather the appropriate documentation and then reach out to the servicer for each loan to determine the next steps,” says Tayne.
While it’s never easy or pleasant to think about death, if you have significant debt, it’s important to lay the proper groundwork to protect your loved ones. There are various actions you can take to minimize the financial burden on your heirs or family members should you pass away with unpaid private student loan debt.
“First, borrowers need to ensure that their families or survivors know how to access their servicer’s online portal in the event of their passing,” explains Mahlmann. “This is generally true of any financial accounts.”
In addition, borrowers who have private student loans that do not include a death discharge clause should ideally have an adequate amount of life insurance to ensure that the loans can be paid off in the event of their passing without causing financial distress to their families. It may also be worth exploring refinancing with another lender that offers a death discharge policy, says Mahlmann.
Those holding loans with a co-signer may also want to explore their options as well. “If you have a very ill cosigner, it may be a good idea to pursue a cosigner release,” says Tayne. “This is a process where you demonstrate to your lender that you’re now financially capable of managing your loans on your own, and get the cosigner removed. And if your cosigner dies, you should look into refinancing immediately.”
It’s important for those who have student loan debt—and even their family members and loved ones—to be aware of what happens in the event of the borrower’s death. Loan requirements and clauses pertaining to death should be reviewed well ahead of time. And if you’re holding student loan debt that does not include a death discharge, there are several steps to consider including obtaining enough life insurance to cover the outstanding debt or refinancing the loan with a lender that offers a discharge policy.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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