Its important that you have an understanding of student loans if you plan on going to college. Since college is so expensive, people aren’t generally able to pay for things right off the bat. Luckily, if you make good decisions as it pertains to student loans, you don’t have much to fear.
Always know all of the key details of any loan you have. You must watch your loan balances, check your repayment statuses, and know your lenders. These facts will determine your loan repayment and forgiveness options. This also helps when knowing how prepare yourself when it comes time to pay the money back.
Never panic when you hit a bump in the road when repaying loans. You will most likely run into an unexpected problem such as unemployment or hospital bills. There are options like forbearance and deferments for most loans. But bear in mind that interest will still accrue, so consider making whatever payments you can to keep the balance in check.
Never do anything irrational when it becomes difficult to pay back the loan. Job losses and health emergencies are part of life. 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. But bear in mind that interest will still accrue, so consider making whatever payments you can to keep the balance in check.
Try paying off student loans with a two-step process. Always pay the minimum balance due. Pay extra on the loan with the highest interest rate. This will minimize the amount of money you spend over time.
Choose a payment option based on your circumstances. A lot of student loans give you ten years to repay. If this doesn’t work for you, you might have another option. For instance, you can take a longer period to pay, but that comes with higher interest. It may even be possible to pay based on an exact percentage of your total income. Sometimes student loans are forgiven after 25 years.
How long is your grace period between graduation and having to start paying back your loan? For Stafford loans, it should give you about six months. Perkins loans give you nine months. Other types of student loans can vary. Know when you are to begin paying on your loan.
Be sure you select the right payment plan option for you. In general, ten year plans are fairly normal for loan repayments. If this won’t work for you, there may be other options available. For example, you may be able to take longer to pay; however, your interest will be higher. You might even only have to pay a certain percentage of what you earn once you finally do start making money. Sometimes you may get loan forgiveness after a period of time, often 25 years.
Take more credit hours to make the most of your loans. Though full-time student status requires 9-12 hours only, if you are able to take 15 or more, you will be able to finish your program faster. This will assist you minimizing your loan amounts.
Reduce the principal by paying the largest loans first. The less of that you owe, the less your interest will be. Pay off larger loans first. After you have paid off the largest loan, begin paying larger payments to the second largest debt. Make minimal payments on all your loans and apply extra money to the loan with the greatest interest in order to pay off all your loans efficiently.
Stafford and Perkins loans are the most advantageous federal loans to get. They are cheap and safe. With these, the interest is covered by the federal government until you graduate. The Perkins loan has an interest rate of five percent. The interest is less than 6.8 percent on any subsidized Stafford loans.
The idea of paying off a student loan every month can seem daunting for a recent grad on a tight budget. A good loan rewards program can make it all more manageable. For instance, look into SmarterBucks and LoanLink, products of Upromise. These are very similar to cash back programs, where any dollars you spend can accumulate rewards which apply to your student loan.
Increase your credit hours if possible. Though full-time student status requires 9-12 hours only, if you are able to take 15 or more, you will be able to finish your program faster. This helps to lower your loan amounts.
Your school could be biased toward certain lenders. There are schools that allow certain lenders to utilize the school’s name. This is frequently not the best deal. The school might actually get a commission for your loan. Be sure you understand all the ins and outs of a loan before accepting it.
Be sure to read and understand the terms of any student loans you are considering. Ask to get clarification on anything you don’t understand. This is a simple way for the lender to receive a bit more money than they are entitled to.
Fill out your paperwork the best that you can. If you give wrong or incomplete information, it can slow down processing and you may not be able to start when you planned. This can put you behind by a year.
Stay in touch with the lender providing your loan. You must know all that you can about your loan, and this includes all requirements, possible penalties, etc. Your lender should also provide some valuable repayments tips to you.
Taking out a PLUS loan is something that a graduate student can apply for. The highest the interest rate will go is 8.5%. This rate exceeds that of a Perkins loan or a Stafford loan, but is lower than private lenders offer. Therefore, this kind of loan can be useful for students who are older.
Do not think that defaulting will relieve you from your student loan debts. The government has a lot of ways it can try to get its money back. They can take money off your tax refund, for example. They can also take money out of your paycheck. You could end up worse off that you were before in some cases.
Try to get a job to make money on the side. By doing so you will not be relying solely on a loan and will also be able to earn some spending money.
Be very cautious about private student loans. It can be difficult to figure out what the terms are exactly. You may not know exactly what you’re signing until later. After signing it, a loan is very hard to undo. Learn about the loan up front. If you receive a good offer, go to other lenders and see if they’ll beat that offer.
Don’t think that student loans should be depended on totally. Make sure you save money for your education and research grants and scholarships to help. There are some good scholarship websites that will help you find the best scholarships and grants to fit your needs. Be sure to begin your search as soon as possible in order to be prepared.
Know when and how much you will need to begin repaying. Some types of loans have a designated grace period or are eligible for a forbearance or other options. You should know your options. Before you enter into any loan contracts, find out about these things.
Most people find it necessary to apply for student loans in order to pay for their education. However, you should not take on a student loan without doing some research first. Missing important deadlines sometimes and forgetting little details is never a good idea. (14)