How to Manage Your Student Loans

Managing Your Student Loans - a guide by SimpleDirect!

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By Shelly B.

The average college student borrows $37,584 to go to college. That’s a tough way to start adulthood with such a heavy burden on your back.

Buying a home, or even a car often seems impossible with such a large debt load. So how do you manage them?

Here are our favorite tips.

How to Save During School

Most student loans don’t require payment while you’re in school. You must attend at least half-time to keep federal student loans deferred. As long as you keep that status, the loans remain deferred for six months after you graduate.

But, if you want to get a head start on the debt, cover the interest payments while you’re in school. A $37,000 loan at 6% interest would only accrue $25 a month in interest. If you have a part-time job or have money set aside, you can get ahead of the payments, making managing the debt easier moving forward.

Tips on managing student loans: you have many ways to save money during school and university.

Managing your Student Loan Payments

Once you graduate, your loans become payable. If you don’t choose any other payment option, you’ll go on the standard payment option by default. This program amortizes your loan over 10 years.

If you can afford the payments, stick with the standard plan as it’s the fastest way to pay your debt off. But not everyone can afford the higher payments. If you can’t, here are a few other options:

Income-based repayment

Your lender will determine your payment based on your average annual income each year. As your income increases, so will your payment, but it keeps your payments affordable when you’re not making much.

Graduated repayment plan

You start with a low monthly payment, but the payments increase gradually every two years. The plan ensures you pay your debt off in 10 years, which means your payments increase significantly in the last few years.

How to manage your student loans: you should be spending time on working out your payment plan

Extended repayment plan

Your payments are amortized over 25 years instead of 10 years. This decreases your monthly payment but increases interest costs, so choose this option as a last resort.

Other Options for Student Loans

If you’re ineligible for a debt repayment plan or you can’t afford the options available to you, there are a few other options. Make sure you exhaust all repayment plan options first. Once you consolidate or refinance your federal student loans, you can’t get federal help.

Debt consolidation

You may be able to consolidate all student loans into one, if you have multiple loans. You apply for the consolidation through the Department of Education. There’s no fee to use this service.

Debt consolidation options

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SimpleDirect Personal Loans for Bad Credit 5.99 - 35.99% $1k - $50k Apply Now

Refinance

Private lenders may refinance and/or consolidate your loans. You’ll lose any deferment you have, though, so make sure you can make the required payments before doing so.

Managing your student loans isn’t as overwhelming as it seems. Take it one step at a time, and appeal to your servicer for help if you can’t afford the loans. Your goal should be to pay the loan off in as little time as possible. If you can afford it, look at paying your loans off in 10 years to save the most money on interest.

Debt refinance options

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SimpleDirect Personal Loans for Bad Credit 5.99 - 35.99% $1k - $50k Apply Now

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Shelly B.

Shelly is a personal finance writer with experience in writing about savings, investing, and money-management!

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