Cornerstone is a financial services provider that services federal student loans issued by the government. With student loan debt over $1.6 trillion as of 2020, borrowing money to finance your education is more common than ever. If your student loans are serviced by Cornerstone, there are a variety of repayment options to choose from, including standard repayment, income-based repayment, and loan forbearance, deferment and forgiveness.
While the company is headquartered in Utah, Cornerstone is a federal student loans servicer that handles the process of managing student loan paperwork and documents, processing payments and assisting borrowers in managing their repayment strategies.
Paying back loans with Cornerstone
If you have Cornerstone federal student loans, you have a variety of repayment options. Which repayment option is best for you may depend on your circumstances, including your total student loan burden, employment status and income. While it may be tempting to select the plan that comes with the lowest monthly payment, this isn’t always the best option financially, as you may pay much more in interest over the long term. Repayment options and services offered by Cornerstone include:
- Standard repayment plan: This plan sets borrowers on fixed monthly payments over 10 years. The payments are the same amount each month and are based on your total loan amount.
- Graduated repayment plan: This plan consists of gradually increasing payments over the course of 10 years. The payments start out smaller initially and gradually increase over time. By the end of the 10-year period, you will have fully paid off the balance of your student loans.
- Extended repayment plan: This plan is an extended repayment period of 25 years. This means that your monthly payments will be smaller, but that it will take a longer period of time to pay off your loans. You’ll also end up paying a larger amount of interest over time.
- Income-driven repayment plans: These plans include Income-Based Repayment, Income-Contingent Repayment, Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Repayment and Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Repayment. The plans are based on your income, so you won’t be asked to pay more than a certain portion of your income each month, generally 10-15% of your discretionary income. After a certain period of time (usually 20 to 25 years) the remaining balance of your student loans will be forgiven. Income-driven repayment plans are a good option for borrowers who have a hefty student loan burden and who may not otherwise be able to make monthly payments on a standard plan. Cornerstone reviews your income every year based on your previous tax return to set the monthly payments on this plan.
Cornerstone also offers a variety of helpful educational tools for borrowers to learn more about different repayment plans and strategies, including a repayment calculator that can help you to visualize how long it will take you to pay off your student loans. If you’re a current or prospective student and are considering how much it makes sense to borrow, Cornerstone offers helpful advice that takes into consideration the skills you’ll learn during education and how much your income might be once your graduate. It also offers resources that educate borrowers about smart borrowing, budgeting, credit and money skills.
Cornerstone student loan forgiveness programs
There are a variety of different student loan forgiveness programs that borrowers with federal student loans serviced by Cornerstone may be eligible for. With student loan forgiveness, borrowers may have the remaining balance of their loans forgiven after engaging in public service or participating in a repayment plan over a certain period. When student loans are forgiven, the forgiven balance is sometimes subject to income tax. Repayment options offered for Cornerstone loans include:
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness: If you’re employed by the government, or by a qualifying not-for-profit organization, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness after a 10-year period of employment during which you make qualifying payments.
- Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness: If you previously applied for Public Service Loan Forgiveness but did not qualify, you may be eligible under the expanded version of the program.
- Teacher Loan Forgiveness: If you’re a teacher employed by a low-income public school, you may also be eligible for partial loan forgiveness. To qualify, you must teach for five consecutive years at a low-income school. Teachers who specialize in science, math or special education may be eligible for a greater amount of forgiven loans.
- Income-Based Repayment Loan Forgiveness: If you’ve made payments through an income-based repayment plan for a certain number of years (typically 20 to 25 years) you may also be eligible for student loan forgiveness. Income-based repayment plans take how much money you earn into account, so you won’t be faced with unbearable monthly payments even if you have a low income.
While not all borrowers are eligible for loan forgiveness, it’s an option worth considering, especially if you have a hefty student loan burden or a less lucrative career path. In some cases, however, it makes more sense to pay off your student loans under a standard or graduated repayment plan, since you’ll end up paying less over time in interest.
How to contact Cornerstone
If you have questions about Cornerstone student loan servicing or need to get in touch because they service your federal student loans, you have a variety of options. These include email, website, social media and a physical mailing address.
For servicemembers: (844)-255-8326
For general correspondence:
CornerStone Education Loan Services
P.O. Box 145122 Salt Lake City, UT
U.S. Department of Education, CornerStone
PO Box 979133 St. Louis, MO
The bottom line
If you have a Cornerstone student loan, the company provides a variety of helpful financial resources that can help you to manage your finances and gradually pay off your student loans. If you’re having trouble making monthly payments, Cornerstone can work with you to find a payment plan that works for your situation, including income-based repayment plans or temporary forbearance. If you’re wondering how much is safe to borrow or how to manage your finances, Cornerstone also has helpful resources to meet these needs.