Borrowing money for college these days seems all but inevitable for everyone but the wealthiest individuals. That is why now more than ever, it is necessary for prospective students to brush up on the subject of student loans so that they can make sound financial decisions. The material below is intended to assist with exactly that.
Stay in communication with all lenders. Tell them when anything changes, such as your phone number or address. Be certain that you immediately review anything you get from your lender, be it an electronic notice or paper mail. Make sure that you take all actions quickly. If you miss something, it could cost you more.
Do not hesitate to “shop” before taking out a student loan. Just as you would in other areas of life, shopping will help you find the best deal. Some lenders charge a ridiculous interest rate, while others are much more fair. Shop around and compare rates to get the best deal.
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.
Make sure you understand the true length of your grace period so that you do not miss payments. For Stafford loans, it should give you about six months. Perkins loans often give you nine months. Other student loans’ grace periods vary. Make sure you know how long those grace periods are, and never pay late.
Pay off the loan with higher interest rates first so you can shrink the amount of principal you owe faster. The less of that you owe, the less your interest will be. Make a concerted effort to pay off all large loans more quickly. After you’ve paid off a large loan, you can transfer your payments to the second largest one. When you make minimum payments against all your loans and pay as much as possible on the largest one, you can eventually eliminate all your student debt.
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.
It seems that hardly any young student nowadays can complete a degree program without incurring at least some student loan debt. However, when armed with the right type of knowledge on the topic, making smart choices about loans really can be easy. Using the tips found in the paragraphs above is a great way to start.