Student Loan Management Services Disclosure
Updated October 19, 2022
You should read this disclosure carefully and consider your personal financial circumstances before deciding whether to utilize Betterment’s student loan management services.
Betterment’s student loan management services offer you the ability to establish a student loan management account, through which you can view, manage, and make recurring and/or one-time payments, other than your monthly minimum payments, towards your linked student loans. Unlike investing goals, Betterment’s student loan management services do not invest your funds in securities but instead allow you to direct cash payments from either your paycheck or your linked checking account to outstanding student loans.
Monthly Minimum Payments
Betterment’s student loan management services cannot be used to make any required monthly minimum payments on your student loans. You are solely responsible for making such payments directly to your student loan servicer outside of Betterment’s platform.
Betterment will recommend the student loan you should prioritize repaying as compared to other student loans that you have linked to Betterment in the interface. Betterment’s student loan repayment methodology seeks to prioritize paying off student loans with the greatest Financial Impact. “Financial Impact” is determined based on the following factors:
- Interest Rate: Loans with higher interest rates rank higher than those with lower interest rates.
- Loan Type: Loans that are unsubsidized rank higher than those that are subsidized.
- Loan Status: Loans that are in repayment rank higher than those in grace periods.
- Current Balance: Loans with lower outstanding balances rank higher than those with higher outstanding balances.
Betterment’s student loan management services will attempt to refresh your linked student loan information every 72 hours. When the information is refreshed, the Financial Impact score may change (for example, if a variable interest rate loan moves up in priority or a student loan is repaid), and your recommended repayment priority may change accordingly. Once your student loan with the greatest Financial Impact has been paid off, Betterment will apply any remainder of your payment and any subsequent recurring payments to the student loan with the next greatest Financial Impact, until all your linked student loans have been paid in full.
Typically, interest rate carries the most weight in Betterment’s methodology, meaning that most of the time, your student loan with the highest interest rate will be prioritized for repayment. However, in some cases–especially in low-interest environments–other factors may cause a loan with a lower interest rate to be prioritized. Betterment’s recommendations are entirely optional, and you can select a different loan to pay at any time.
If you select your own student loan to repay, Betterment will apply your payments towards your selected student loan until it is paid in full, and then apply any remainder of your payment and any subsequent payments to the student loan that Betterment determines, based on the methodology described above, will have the next greatest Financial Impact. Should you wish to deviate from the recommended repayment methodology again, you can select alternate student loans by periodically logging into your account.
As a part of student loan management services, your employer may elect to contribute an amount, up to a certain percentage of your annual salary, towards repayment of your student loans (the “Employer Match”), provided the Employer Match will not exceed the amount of your individual Student Loan Payments.
If your employer has agreed to offer an Employer Match, you will see information about your Employer Match when you set up your student loan repayments in your student loan account. You can only receive an Employer Match on recurring student loan payments made via payroll deduction. One-time payments are not eligible for the Employer Match. By initiating student loan payments that are eligible for an Employer Match you hereby authorize Betterment to process such student loan payments via payroll deduction and automatically apply the Employer Match.
Limited Scope of Advice
The advice provided via student loan management services is generated solely based on (1) the information you provide to Betterment in connection with your student loan management services via Spinwheel and (2) the assumptions shown or selected with respect to student loan management services, which are limited and may be incomplete or inaccurate.
Student loan management services do not take into account information that is not provided to Betterment, including but not limited to, information on other student loans that are not linked to Betterment, or information about other types of debt or assets you or other members of your household may hold. Student loan management services do not take into account your other Betterment accounts and/or goals, including any retirement or other investment accounts, and Betterment’s advice with respect to other Betterment accounts and/or goals does not consider whether contributions or deposits would be better utilized to repay debt. Student loan management services also do not consider your risk tolerance, any repayment plan with your loan servicer (including any loan forgiveness eligibility), or your credit score.
Betterment waives your fees on student loan management services. Betterment receives payments from your employer in connection with offering your employer-sponsored retirement plan and adjacent employee benefits. Betterment has a financial incentive to recommend that Betterment clients invest in securities rather than make student loan payments because Betterment charges fees on account balances in securities accounts, while Betterment waives fees on your use of student loan management services. However, as noted above, Betterment does not provide advice regarding whether you should use certain funds to invest in securities rather than paying down student debt.