Ameritech Financial Recommends IDRs to Address High Burden Felt by Black Student Loan Borrowers

ROHNERT PARK, Calif.,- Tuition costs are rising and that means that the cost of attendance for many may require student loans to cover. For certain populations that historically borrow more for college, that could make repayment difficult. Specifically, black students borrow at higher rates than their white peers. Ameritech Financial, a document preparation company that helps borrowers with federal repayment plan applications, reminds borrowers who struggle to make payments that federal income-driven repayment plans may help ease some financial stress and get them on track.

"Every borrower has a different student loan experience that can be good or bad for their financial future," said Tom Knickerbocker, executive vice president of Ameritech Financial. "Though student loans can be a great burden for many borrowers, they can be managed with the right resources."

Black students borrow at higher rates than any other race at all types of higher education institutions, but the disparity is greatest for four-year public schools. Based on data from 2012, about 86 percent of black students attending a four-year public school borrowed to fund the education, while the rate was about 60 percent for white students. Additionally, black students borrowed more than their white peers. Those numbers are likely much higher for borrowers today.

Additionally, borrowers of color may struggle to repay those loans more than others. With lower household incomes than white borrowers, black borrowers may have trouble affording their payments. In fact, nearly 50 percent of black students default on their federal student loans.

Income-driven repayment plans (IDRs) may provide relief to federal student loan borrowers who cannot afford their monthly payment. Such plans calculate payments relative to income and family size and may end in forgiveness at the end of 20 to 25 years in the program. Borrowers with high payments as compared to their low income may see their payments reduced.

"At Ameritech Financial, we help borrowers understand, apply for and recertify enrollment in IDRs that can potentially put control back into their hands," said Knickerbocker. "With reduced payments from IDRs, we hope borrowers feel financial stability enough to work toward other goals in life."