Anyone who has ever taken out a student loan knows how serious the implications of such debt can be. Unfortunately, there are far to many borrowers who realize too late that they have unwisely entered into obligations that they will be unable to meet. Read the information below to make sure your experience is a positive one.
Be sure you know about the grace period of your loan. Each loan has a different grace period. It is impossible to know when you need to make your first payment without looking over your paperwork or speaking with your lender. Be sure to be aware of this information so you do not miss a payment.
Know your grace periods so you don’t miss your first student loan payments after graduating college. Stafford loans typically give you six months before starting payments, but Perkins loans might go nine. Private loans are going to have repayment grace periods of their own choosing, so read the fine print for each particular loan.
Think carefully when choosing your repayment terms. Most public loans might automatically assume a decade of repayments, but you might have an option of going longer. Refinancing over longer periods of time can mean lower monthly payments but a larger total spent over time due to interest. Weigh your monthly cash flow against your long-term financial picture.
Don’t panic when you struggle to pay your loans. Unforeseen circumstances such as unemployment or health issues could happen. Realize that there are ways to postpone making payments to the loan, or other ways that can help lower the payments in the short term. Make sure you realize that interest will keep building, so think about making at least interest payments so that you can keep balances from growing out of control.
Try shopping around for your private loans. If you need to borrow more, discuss this with your adviser. If a private or alternative loan is your best bet, make sure you compare items like repayment options, fees, and interest rates. Your school may recommend some lenders, but you’re not required to borrow from them.
If you’ve taken out more than one student loan, familiarize yourself with the unique terms of each one. Different loans will come with different grace periods, interest rates, and penalties. Ideally, you should first pay off the loans with high interest rates. Private lenders generally charge higher interest rates than the government.
To get the most out of your student loan dollars, take as many credit hours as possible. While 9 to 12 hours each semester is full time, you may be able to get 15 to 18 which can help you to graduate faster. This will help lower your loan totals.
Defaulting on a loan is not freedom from repaying it. There are many tools in the federal government’s arsenal for getting the funds back from you. For example, it can step in and claim a portion of your tax return or Social Security payments. The government even has the right to take up to fifteen percent of what it deems your disposable income. Most of the time, not paying your student loans will cost you more than just making the payments.
If you are in a position to do so, sign up for automated student loan payments. Certain lenders offer a small discount for payments made the same time each month from your checking or saving account. This option is recommended only if you have a steady, stable income. Otherwise, you run the risk of incurring hefty overdraft fees.
Make sure that you try to get scholarships when you go to college. Save money wherever possible and look into scholarships you might qualify for. There are many websites available that can help match you with grants or scholarships that you may qualify for. You should begin your search early as funds go quickly.
You need to understand what all of your options are when it comes to loan repayment. If you think you’ll struggle to afford school after graduating, try applying for graduated payments. This allows your initial payments to be smaller, then as time goes on they gradually increase when hopefully you are making more money.
If you want to make sure that you get the most out of your student loan, make sure that you put 100 percent effort into your school work. Be on time for group project meetings, and turn in papers on time. Studying hard will pay off with high grades and a terrific job offer.
Make no mistake, student loan debt is an extremely sober undertaking that should be made only with a substantial amount of knowledge. The key to staying out of financial trouble while also obtaining a degree is to only borrow what is truly needed. Using the advice presented above can help anyone do just that.