Student loans can be your ticket to the college that you just can’t afford any other way. But you need to carefully think about how much debt you acquire. It can add up quickly over the 4 or 5 years it takes to get through college. So heed the advice below and never sign anything that you don’t fully understand.
Know your grace periods so you don’t miss your first student loan payments after graduating college. Stafford loans typically give you six months before starting payments, but Perkins loans might go nine. Private loans are going to have repayment grace periods of their own choosing, so read the fine print for each particular loan.
Try getting a part-time job to help with college expenses. Doing this can help you cover some of your student loan costs. It can also reduce the amount that you need to borrow in student loans. Working these kinds of positions can even qualify you for your college’s work study program.
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.
Pay off big loans with higher interest rates first. As your principal declines, so will your interest. Pay off the largest loans first. Once you pay off a large loan, use the money allotted to it to pay off the one that is the next largest. Pay off the minimums on small loans and a large amount on the big ones.
Be sure you understand the terms of loan forgiveness. Some programs will forgive part or all of any federal student loans you may have taken out under certain circumstances. For example, if you are still in debt after ten years has passed and are working in a public service, nonprofit or government position, you may be eligible for certain loan forgiveness programs.
To keep the principal on your student loans as low as possible, get your books as cheaply as possible. This means buying them used or looking for online versions. In situations where professors make you buy course reading books or their own texts, look on campus message boards for available books.
If your credit isn’t the best and you are applying for a student loan, you will most likely need a co-signer. Once you have the loan, it’s vital that you make all your payments on time. If you don’t, the person who co-signed is equally responsible for your debt.
Student loan deferment is an emergency measure only, not a means of simply buying time. During the deferment period, the principal continues to accrue interest, usually at a high rate. When the period ends, you haven’t really bought yourself any reprieve. Instead, you’ve created a larger burden for yourself in terms of the repayment period and total amount owed.
Starting to pay off your student loans while you are still in school can add up to significant savings. Even small payments will reduce the amount of accrued interest, meaning a smaller amount will be applied to your loan upon graduation. Keep this in mind every time you find yourself with a few extra bucks in your pocket.
Look into meal plans that let you pay per meal. That way, you won’t be overpaying for extra items in the cafeteria. You will just pay a flat fee for every meal.
Make sure that you understand the serious implications with taking a student loan. This means that you should not miss too many payments, as it could lead to delinquency and default. This can greatly impact your credit score and could prevent you from getting more loans that you need in the future.
Always keep your lender aware of your current address and phone number. That may mean having to send them a notification and then following up with a phone call to ensure that they have your current information on file. You may miss out on important notifications if they cannot contact you.
Know the terms of your grace period. Your grace period is the time you have after leaving school until your first payment is due. The grace period can vary, depending on the kind of loan you have. Missing your first payment is not a good way to start off your repayment plan.
To make the student loan process go as quickly as possible, make sure that you have all of your information in hand before you start filling out your paperwork. That way you don’t have to stop and go looking for some bit of information, making the process take longer. Making this decision eases the entire situation.
Being an educated borrower is the best way to avoid costly and regrettable student loan disasters. Take the time to look into different options, even if it means adjusting your expectations of college life. So take the time to learn everything there is to know about student loans and how to use them wisely.