The cost of a college degree can be a daunting amount. Fortunately student loans are available to help you but they do come with many cautionary tales of disaster. Simply taking all of the money you can get without considering how it affects your future is a recipe for disaster. So keep the following in mind as you consider student loans.
If you are having a hard time paying back your student loans, call your lender and let them know this. There are normally several circumstances that will allow you to qualify for an extension and/or a payment plan. You will have to furnish proof of this financial hardship, so be prepared.
Do not default on a student loan. Defaulting on government loans can result in consequences like garnished wages and tax refunds withheld. Defaulting on private loans can be a disaster for any cosigners you had. Of course, defaulting on any loan risks serious damage to your credit report, which costs you even more later.
Your loans are not due to be paid back until your schooling is complete. Make sure that you find out the repayment grace period you are offered from the lender. For Stafford loans, you should have six months. Perkins loans often give you nine months. Other student loans’ grace periods vary. Know exactly the date you have to start making payments, and never be late.
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.
Pick out a payment option that you know will suit the needs you have. Most student loans have a ten year plan for repayment. You may discover another option that is more suitable for your situation. As an example, it may be possible to extend your payment time, but typically that’ll include a higher interest rate. Think about what you “should” be making in the future and carefully go over everything with a trusted adviser. After 20 years, some loans are completely forgiven.
When you pay off loans, pay them off from highest to lowest interest rates. Pay off the highest interest student loans first. By concentrating on high interest loans first, you can get them paid off quickly. The is no penalty for early repayment.
It can be hard to figure out how to get the money for school. A balance of grants, loans and work is usually necessary. When you work to put yourself through school, it is important not to overdo it and negatively affect your performance. Although the specter of paying back student loans may be daunting, it is usually better to borrow a little more and work a little less so you can focus on your school work.
To keep your overall student loan principal low, complete your first two years of school at a community college before transferring to a four-year institution. The tuition is significantly lower your first two years, and your degree will be just as valid as everyone else’s when you graduate from the larger university.
Try to make your student loan payments on time. If you miss your payments, you can face harsh financial penalties. Some of these can be very high, especially if your lender is dealing with the loans through a collection agency. Keep in mind that bankruptcy won’t make your student loans go away.
To get the most out of your student loan dollars, take a job so that you have money to spend on personal expenses, rather than having to incur additional debt. Whether you work on campus or in a local restaurant or bar, having those funds can make the difference between success or failure with your degree.
Limit the amount you borrow for college to your expected total first year’s salary. This is a realistic amount to pay back within ten years. You shouldn’t have to pay more then fifteen percent of your gross monthly income toward student loan payments. Investing more than this is unrealistic.
To get a better interest rate on your student loan, go through the federal government instead of a bank. The rates will be lower, and the repayment terms can also be more flexible. That way, if you don’t have a job right after graduation, you can negotiate a more flexible schedule.
If you want to see your student loan dollars go farther, cook your meals at home with your roommates and friends instead of going out. You’ll spend less on the food, and a lot less on the alcohol or soft drinks that you buy at the store instead of ordering from a server.
It is important that you pay close attention to all of the information that is provided on student loan applications. Overlooking something can cause errors and/or delay the processing of your loan. Even if something looks like it is not very important, it is still important for you to read it in full.
Take advantage of graduated payments on your student loans. With this arrangement, your payments begin small and then increase bi-annually. In this way, you can pay off your loans faster as you gain more skill and experience in the work world and your salary increases. This is just one of many ways to reduce the amount of interest you pay in total.
Remember that you may be able to deduct some of your student loan interest from your income taxes. As much as $2500 may be deductible. This is a significant reduction of your tax bill. If you get it back in the form of a refund, put it toward your student loan to help you pay off your principle faster and reduce your interest rates.
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