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.
Start your student loan search by looking at the safest options first. These are generally the federal loans. They are immune to your credit rating, and their interest rates don’t fluctuate. These loans also carry some borrower protection. This is in place in case of financial issues or unemployment following your graduation from college.
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.
Stay in communication with all lenders. Always let them know anytime your personal information changes, because this happens quite a bit when you’re in college. Anytime you receive a phone call, email or paper letter from your lender, pay attention to it as soon as it is received. If any requests are made or important stipulations are shared with you, act on them right away. Failure to miss anything can cost you a lot of money.
If you have taken a student loan out and you are moving, be sure to let your lender know. It is important for your lender to be able to contact you at all times. They will not be too happy if they have to go on a wild goose chase to find you.
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.
Be mindful of the exact length of your grace period between graduation and having to start loan repayments. Six months is usually the length for Stafford loans. For a Perkins loan, this period is 9 months. Make sure to contact your loan provider to determine the grace period. Know when you are expected to pay them back, and make your payments on time!
Exercise caution when considering student loan consolidation. Yes, it will likely reduce the amount of each monthly payment. However, it also means you’ll be paying on your loans for many years to come. This can have an adverse impact on your credit score. As a result, you may have difficulty securing loans to purchase a home or vehicle.
Pay extra on your student loan payments to lower your principle balance. Your payments will be applied first to late fees, then to interest, then to principle. Clearly, you should avoid late fees by paying on time and chip away at your principle by paying extra. This will reduce your overall interest paid.
Sometimes consolidating your loans is a good idea, and sometimes it isn’t When you consolidate your loans, you will only have to make one big payment a month instead of lots of little ones. You may also be able to lower your interest rate. Be certain that any loan you take out to consolidate your student loans offers you the same variety and flexibility in borrower benefits, deferments and payment options.
If you want to give yourself a head start when it comes to repaying your student loans, you should get a part-time job while you are in school. If you put this money into an interest-bearing savings account, you will have a good amount to give your lender once you complete school.
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.
To get the most out of your student loans, pursue as many scholarship offers as possible in your subject area. The more debt-free money you have at your disposal, the less you have to take out and pay back. This means that you graduate with less of a burden financially.
Try to make your student loan payments on time. If you miss your payments, you can face harsh financial penalties. Some of these can be very high, especially if your lender is dealing with the loans through a collection agency. Keep in mind that bankruptcy won’t make your student loans go away.
Take advantage of student loan repayment calculators to test different payment amounts and plans. Plug in this data to your monthly budget and see which seems most doable. Which option gives you room to save for emergencies? Are there any options that leave no room for error? When there is a threat of defaulting on your loans, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
You should consider paying some of the interest on your student loans while you are still in school. This will dramatically reduce the amount of money you will owe once you graduate. You will end up paying off your loan much sooner since you will not have as much of a financial burden on you.
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.