Dealing with student loans can be a stressful, uphill battle. Student loan repayment is a financial burden that can impact your budget and overall quality of life. Follow these tips to help you deal with your student loan debt more effectively.
1. Take advantage of the student loan grace period
Lenders usually allow a grace period of up to six months after you graduate. During this time the loan doesn’t accumulate interest. Instead of ignoring your student loans during this time, come up with a smart payment plan, and start paying your loans as soon as you can.
2. Select a payment plan that works for you
If you don’t want to be overwhelmed by your student loans, prioritize repayment. It is better to sacrifice spending now than deal with serious consequences later on. Work on finding the best payment plan that will work for your situation. This way, you can eliminate your student loans faster and with the lowest rates possible.
Take the time to explore your options, so you can have a more manageable method that aligns with your current earning capacity. Consider these options:
- Income-Based Repayment (IBR): The amount of your monthly repayments are based on your monthly income
- Extended Payment Plan: Your payment time is extended to up to 25 years
Caveat! With this plan you may end up paying more in interest.
- Graduated Repayment Plan: You can start paying your debt with lower amounts and then gradually increase the amount every two years. This buys you the time you might need to settle yourself financially and handle your debt
3. Consider student loan consolidation
If you’re dealing with a number of student loans from different lenders, along with credit card debt and other types of debt, repayment can be a lot to handle. By consolidating your student loans, your multiple loans will be combined into one easy-to-remember payment. This lets you better manage your debt and pay on time.
4. Look into student loan postponement
Student loan deferment or forbearance both temporarily suspend payments. You may qualify if you are unable to repay your loans due to unemployment, or face medical bills due to health problems. Understand the differences between deferment and forbearance before making a decision.
5. Apply for student loan forgiveness
Some programs give you an opportunity to have your student loans discharged or forgiven. If you are an essential worker, such as a teacher or nurse, you may be eligible for student loan forgiveness after working for a certain number of years.
The average student loan debt in the United States is at record-high. In total, Americans have $1.4 trillion in outstanding student loans. While college graduation can be a celebratory moment, once the celebrations ends, the challenge is in paying off student loans. Proper debt management can help.