Everyone make mistakes as a college student. It just a part of life and a learning experience. But making mistakes about your student loans can quickly become a nightmare if you don’t borrow wisely. So heed the advice below and educate yourself on student loans and how to avoid costly mistakes.
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.
Once you leave school and are on your feet you are expected to start paying back all of the loans that you received. There is a grace period for you to begin repayment of your student loan. It is different from lender to lender, so make sure that you are aware of this.
Try shopping around for your private loans. If you need to borrow more, discuss this with your adviser. If a private or alternative loan is your best bet, make sure you compare items like repayment options, fees, and interest rates. Your school may recommend some lenders, but you’re not required to borrow from them.
If at all possible, sock away extra money toward the principal amount. The key is to notify your lender that the additional money must be applied toward the principal. Otherwise, the money will be applied to your future interest payments. Over time, paying down the principal will lower your interest payments.
It is easy to simply sign for a student loan without paying attention to the fine print. If something is unclear, get clarification before you sign anything. Otherwise, you could have much more debt than you were counting on.
To reduce the amount of your student loans, work as many hours as you can during your last year of high school and the summer before college. The more money you have to give the college in cash, the less you have to finance. This means less loan expense later on.
When calculating how much you can afford to pay on your loans each month, consider your annual income. If your starting salary exceeds your total student loan debt at graduation, aim to repay your loans within 10 years. If your loan debt is greater than your salary, consider an extended repayment option of 10 to 20 years.
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.
Educating yourself about student loans can be some of the most valuable learning that you ever do. Knowing all about student loans and what they mean for your future is vital. So keep the tips from above in mind and never be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand what the terms an conditions mean.