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.
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.
If you have extra money at the end of the month, don’t automatically pour it into paying down your student loans. Check interest rates first, because sometimes your money can work better for you in an investment than paying down a student loan. For example, if you can invest in a safe CD that returns two percent of your money, that is smarter in the long run than paying down a student loan with only one point of interest. Only do this if you are current on your minimum payments though and have an emergency reserve fund.
Be careful when consolidating loans together. The total interest rate might not warrant the simplicity of one payment. Also, never consolidate public student loans into a private loan. You will lose very generous repayment and emergency options afforded to you by law and be at the mercy of the private contract.
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.
If you want to pay off student loans before they come due, work on those that carry higher interest rates. Repaying based on balance size could actually cause you to pay more in interest than you otherwise would have.
It is important to know how much time after graduation you have before your first loan payment is due. Stafford loans offer loam recipients six months. Perkins loans enter repayment in nine months. The amount you are allowed will vary between lenders. Make sure you know how long those grace periods are, and never pay late.
Sometimes consolidating your loans is a good idea, and sometimes it isn’t When you consolidate your loans, you will only have to make one big payment a month instead of lots of little ones. You may also be able to lower your interest rate. Be certain that any loan you take out to consolidate your student loans offers you the same variety and flexibility in borrower benefits, deferments and payment options.
Plan your courses to make the most of your student loan money. If your college charges a flat, per semester fee, take on more courses to get more for your money. If your college charges less in the summertime, be sure to go to summer school. Getting the most value for your dollar is a great way to stretch your student loans.
Always know your repayment options. If you think your income initially will not support your bills, think about enrolling in graduated payments. This makes it so that your early payments are smaller and will gradually increase as your earning potential rises.
To help make your student loan funds last as long as possible, shop for clothes out of season. Buying your spring clothes in November and your cold-weather clothes in May saves you money, making your living expenses as low as possible. This means you have more money to put toward your tuition.
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.