Student loans are suddenly becoming newsworthy and the news usually isn’t good. There is an abundance of horror stories of student who are so far into debt that they just don’t see a way out. But you can avoid costly mistake by planning wisely and educating yourself about student loans. the advice below is a great starting point.
When it comes to student loans, make sure you only borrow what you need. Consider the amount you need by taking a look at your total expenses. Factor in items like the cost of living, the cost of college, your financial aid awards, your family’s contributions, etc. You’re not required to accept a loan’s entire amount.
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.
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.
Never ignore your student loans because that will not make them go away. If you are having a hard time paying the money back, call and speak to your lender about it. If your loan becomes past due for too long, the lender can have your wages garnished and/or have your tax refunds seized.
If you can pay off any loans before they are due, pay off the ones with the highest interest first. If you solely base your repayment by which ones have a lower or higher balance, then you might actually end up paying back more in the end.
Choose the right payment option for you. In most cases, 10 years are provided for repayment of student loans. If this won’t work for you, there may be other options available. You may need to extend the time you have to repay the loan. This often comes with an increase in interest. Another option some lenders will accept is if you allow them a certain percentage of your weekly wages. Some student loan balances are forgiven after twenty five years have passed.
Now you have a better understanding of what you need to know about student loans. But don’t be afraid to ask question and request for clarification on anything that you don’t quite understand. Taking the time to educate yourself about student loans before you borrow can help you avoid costly mistakes that affect your future.