Getting the student loans necessary to finance your education can seem like an incredibly daunting task. You have also probably heard horror stories from those whose student debt has resulted in near poverty during the post-graduation period. But, by spending some time learning about the process, you can spare yourself the agony and make smart borrowing decisions.
Know that there’s likely a grace period built into having to pay back any loan. In order words, find out about when payments are due once you have graduated. When you stay on top of this, this will help you to maintain better financial control so that you don’t incur any extra fees or bad credit marks.
Don’t worry if you can’t pay a student loan off because you don’t have a job or something bad has happened to you. Usually, most lenders let you postpone payments if some hardship is proven. Just keep in mind that doing this might cause the lender to raise the interest rate on your loan.
If an issue arises, don’t worry. Life problems such as unemployment and health complications are bound to happen. Luckily, you may have options such as forbearance and deferral that will help you out. Keep in mind that interest often continues accruing, so do your best to at least make interest payments to keep from having a larger balance.
Consider using your field of work as a means of having your loans forgiven. A number of nonprofit professions have the federal benefit of student loan forgiveness after a certain number of years served in the field. Many states also have more local programs. The pay might be less in these fields, but the freedom from student loan payments makes up for that in many cases.
Keep good records on all of your student loans and stay on top of the status of each one. One easy way to do this is to log onto nslds.ed.gov. This is a website that keep s track of all student loans and can display all of your pertinent information to you. If you have some private loans, they will not be displayed. Regardless of how you keep track of your loans, do be sure to keep all of your original paperwork in a safe place.
Before accepting the loan that is offered to you, make sure that you need all of it. If you have savings, family help, scholarships and other types of financial help, there is a chance you will only need a portion of that. Do not borrow any more than necessary since it will make it harder to pay it back.
To keep your student loan debts from piling up, plan on starting to pay them back as soon as you have a job after graduation. You don’t want additional interest expense piling up, and you don’t want the public or private entities coming after you with default paperwork, which could wreck your credit.
Fill your application out accurately to get your loan as soon as possible. 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.
Take advantage of student loan repayment calculators to test different payment amounts and plans. Plug in this data to your monthly budget and see which seems most doable. Which option gives you room to save for emergencies? Are there any options that leave no room for error? When there is a threat of defaulting on your loans, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
You may feel intimidated by the prospect of arranging the student loans you need for your schooling to be possible. However, you must not let the bad experiences of others cloud your ability to move forward. By educating yourself about the various types of student loans available, you will be able to make sound choices that will serve you well for the coming years.