Student Loan Advocacy

Assisting student loan borrowers in Washington 

The student loan advocate supports current and future student loan borrowers in Washington State. Coordinating with other state agencies, the Washington Student Achievement Council’s (WSAC) advocate:

  • Addresses student borrower complaints.  
  • Provides information and resources about student loan repayment.
  • Educates the public about the rights and responsibilities of student loan borrowers.

Ask WSAC's student loan advocate about: 

  1. Income-driven repayment (IDR)
  2. Public service loan forgiveness
  3. Delinquency and default
  4. Deferment and forbearance
  5. Total and permanent disability discharge
  6. Closed school discharge
  7. Consolidation
  8. Other student loan questions

Common terms

  • Loan servicer. A loan servicer is a company that handles the billing and other services on your federal student loan. 
  • Direct loans. A federal student loan borrowed directly from the U.S. Department of Education to attend a participating school. 
  • Loan discharge. Cancellation of a borrower's obligation to repay all or a portion of the remaining principal and interest owed on a student loan. 
  • Direct consolidation loans. When borrowers combine many loans into one new loan. 
  • Discretionary income. The difference between your annual income and 150 percent of the poverty guideline for your family size and state of residence.

Income-driven repayment 

Income-driven repayment (IDR)

Base monthly student loan payments on income. Borrowers can base their monthly student loan payments on their income. Depending on loan eligibility, the loan payment could be anywhere from 10-20 percent of discretionary income. Low-income borrowers could have a monthly income-driven payment as low as $0.

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Public service loan forgiveness 

Public service loan forgiveness (PSLF)

Public service and debt forgiveness. Borrowers who have full-time public service jobs could be eligible for debt forgiveness if they:

  • Have already made 120 on-time payments;
  • Work at least 30 hours per week for local, state, federal, or tribal government or non-profit organizations;
  • Have Direct loans;
  • Are on an eligible income-driven repayment plan; and
  • Make on-time payments on their student loans.
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Payment delinquency, default

Payment delinquency and default 

Borrowers with delinquent payments can get back on track. Many borrowers fall behind on their student loan payments at some point. Borrowers who are currently behind on their loans, but have not yet defaulted, may be able to lower their monthly payments.

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Borrowers can get out of default. Borrowers who have already defaulted on their loans still have options. They can get out of default and avoid having their wages garnished or tax refunds withheld. Visit these links below for more information.

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Deferment and forbearance

Deferment and forbearance 

Short break from making loan payments. Deferment and forbearance are good options for borrowers who need a break from making student loan payments. These options are best if used for a short period of time. Why? Interest continues to grow, which increases the amount borrowers must pay back.

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Disability discharge

Total and permanent disability discharge (TPD)

Discharge student loans due to disability. Loan discharge may be an option for borrowers who are disabled and unable to engage in substantial gainful activity due to your disability. Substantial gainful activity is a level of work performed for pay or profit that involves doing significant physical or mental activities, or a combination of both. All TPD applications are handled by Nelnet, a federal student loan servicer.

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Closed school discharge

Closed school discharge 

Discharge student loans due to school closure. Sometimes schools close before students can finish their credential. Students in this situation, who have also taken out loans to pay for their education at the closing school, may be able to get a closed school discharge. Borrowers can qualify if they were:

  • Unable to complete their education because their school closed.
  • Attending classes when their school closed.
  • On an approved leave of absence when their school closed, or if the school closed within 120 days after they withdrew.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is automatically discharging loan debt for eligible borrowers. Eligible borrowers will receive an email from ED. Borrowers who don’t receive an email from ED can still apply for closed school discharge or borrower defense to repayment. Borrower defense is an application for loan cancellation for students whose school misled them or engaged in other misconduct in violation of certain state laws.  

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Consolidation

Consolidation

Combine many loans into one loan. There are trade-offs to consolidating federal student loans. This might make monthly payments simpler or more affordable. However, borrowers can also lose some benefits and consolidation may extend repayment time.

It’s easy to consolidate federal student loans online, and there is no fee or cost for borrowers. Borrowers should research their options before making a decision.

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