If you’re considering taking out student loans to pay for school – or you’ve already graduated with a mountain of debt – you’re not alone. Over 44 million Americans currently have student loans, with total student debt topping $1.5 trillion.
While higher education can be a smart investment that will set you up for future success, attending college often comes with a hefty price tag. If you’re struggling to pay back your student loans, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll review organizations and individuals going above and beyond to help students pay back their loans. Plus, we’ll discuss some other ways to help you get debt-free as quickly as possible.
Charities That Pay Back Student Loans
Unfortunately, the list of charities dedicated to paying back student loans isn’t as long as we’d like. While some organizations offer scholarships before or during college attendance, paying off debt after a student leaves school is rare. However, a couple of knights in shining armor are helping borrowers across the country tackle their debt.
Rolling Jubilee acts like a debt collector. They pay lenders pennies on the dollar to take debt that the borrower is unlikely to pay back. However, instead of hounding the borrower for debt payments, they forgive the loan altogether.
Rolling Jubilee takes on mortgage debt, medical bills, student debt, and more. They’ve paid off tens of millions of dollars of debt, helping to free Americans from stress and anxiety.
While institutional charities that pay off student debt aren’t common, some private individuals have decided to pay back student debt on their own. Let’s take a quick look at some of these high-profile donors.
- Robert F. Smith: Smith gave the commencement speech for Morehouse College’s class of 2019. While on stage, he announced that he would pay off the student loans of each of the new graduates. Afterward, he also agreed to pay off each graduate’s parents’ student debt, bringing his total contribution to $34 million.
- Taylor Swift: After a girl in Canada posted on her blog that she wasn’t going to be able to attend college the following year, Taylor Swift transferred money to her bank account to pay off her student debt.
- Ellen DeGeneres: On one of her shows in 2018, Ellen gave away large amounts of money to three students in the audience, including a $50,000 award to a nursing student at Cal State Fullerton.
Perhaps due to the lack of institutional charities paying off student loans, crowdfunding sites have become an increasingly popular way for students to raise money to pay off debt. Crowdfunding programs allow users to create a campaign and solicit donations from friends, family, and strangers. You can think of crowdfunding as a decentralized charity for paying off your student loans.
Before you choose a platform, though, make sure to evaluate the costs of each option. For example, some programs charge fees, which will ount of money you can put toward paying off your loans. You may also want to choose a site with a strong reputation for customer service and satisfaction. Finally, you might consider using a popular platform like GoFundMe, as people might recognize the name and be more likely to donate.
Credit Counseling Agencies
While these organizations won’t pay off your debt for you, nonprofit credit counseling agencies like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) can provide much-needed assistance. After giving the organization a list of your debt obligations, they’ll work with you to develop a plan to get your debt under control.