Student debt is at an all-time high in America right now; more people than ever are applying for student loans to further their education. Depending on your situation, student loans can be a great way to go to an otherwise unaffordable university, but the challenge of paying them off can be overwhelming as well. Here are a few things you should consider when contemplating how to pay off your debt.
Check your grace periods
In a lot of cases, you don’t have to start repayment immediately after you graduate. For a lot of federal loans, repayment doesn’t start until six months after you leave school. If you’ve taken out personal loans with private institutions as well, like Wells Fargo or Discover, check with them to see if they also offer grace periods.
Deferment or forbearance
In an ideal world, people would be able to pay off their loans with ease, but of course, the world isn’t always ideal. If you find yourself in a situation where that next monthly payment just isn’t possible, you may qualify for deferment or forbearance. During deferment, you aren’t responsible for paying any interest that accrues; during forbearance, you are responsible for that interest. In both cases, you don’t have to make the main monthly payment. Check with your loan provider to see if you qualify and what your next steps should be.
If you have multiple loans, keeping track of the payment amounts, interest rates, and due dates can get overwhelming. In this case, the right path for you might be loan consolidation, which is just what it sounds like. You can bundle all your loans into one, streamlining everything into one payment on one day. Plus, depending on who you consolidate with, sometimes you even get a better interest rate than what you had initially. Check out companies like SoFi to see if you qualify.
If you’re able to make a payment each month but need to adjust the amount, it might make sense for you to look into repayment plans, which adjust your amount each month to fit your needs better. Keep in mind that if you lower your monthly payment, the overall time it will take to pay off the loan will increase, so do your homework to make sure this is the right path for you.
Pay off more each month
If you are in a position to do, paying off more than the required monthly payment can make a big difference in the long run. It may help with how much interest you accrue and how long it takes to repay the loan overall. You also might be able to change your monthly payment due date, so that it can fit better with your pay schedule. Check with your loan provider to see if that’s a possibility for you.