It’s never a fortunate state of affairs when a college graduate has difficulty repaying their loans. It’s even worse when they can’t, and they go into default. And, unlike many debts, student loans don’t disappear, they’ll hound people unless the system changes.

Perhaps one of the biggest shockers though is it doesn’t have to be that way for most. Indeed, analysts found that about seventy percent of individuals currently in default were qualified for affordable options before things went sour. While they may not have been prepared for things only creditworthy borrowers are eligible for, such as private student loan consolidation, many were eligible for Income-Driven Repayment plans, which could easily have turned their monthly bills to $0.

The fallout from going into default has caused those defaulted borrowers some serious trouble, including bad marks on their credit and higher interest rates. The Department of Education was quick to notice this, and is now working on a new plan to help remedy the situation. In conjunction with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a web portal for a “Financial Playbook” has launched.

The idea here is to provide straightforward information and messages about the state of a loan. The Department of Education has already been working on a one-size-fits-all website portal for repayment, and this could be a nice addition. Borrowers receiving messages wouldn’t just be alerted to overdue payments either, information about lowering their repayments would also be provided.

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The idea is to inform graduates about what their options are. Once a student finishes college, they have a six-month grace period before repayment begins (unless they opt for deferment or forbearance). During this time, the Department of Education would like its program to help students understand what they can do next, keeping them up-to-date every step of the way.

Avoiding needless defaults and other financial disasters works out for everyone. When loans go unpaid and default, the economy has to pick up the slack. Tax dollars must be used and crippling struggles grow. Since the current US debt related to student lending now exceeds $1 trillion, any kind of help is crucial.

The Department of Education and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have announced this playbook and the web portal should soon be available for anyone to access. The impact should hopefully be positive, instructing borrowers, new or current, what they can do to properly pay off loans. By eliminating possible defaults, it should help slow down the major student loan issue the nation currently faces. As with anything regarding debt, for now it’s best to stay informed and research options, as there’s no need to face unwarranted penalties.