Student loan debt doesn’t have to be a struggle. Keeping debt under control will make payments affordable, and your credit rating will remain in good standing. Even if you don’t have income yet, or you are struggling to be consistent with payments, these 10 best student loan tips to meet 2017 will surely help you.
Tip #1. Keep loans organized
This helps when seeking loan forgiveness or repayment options. You can go online for more information or contact your lender. You can also get information about your loans from your school.
Tip #2. Learn grace period
This second tip from our best student loan tips for 2017 can be a bit confusing. Grace period describes when payments are set to begin after leaving school. The range varies for different federal loans. For Perkins, it is 9 months, Stafford is 6 months, and other loans differ depending on the issue date. Private loans also have a different grace period.
Don’t underestimate this tip. It is important to know these dates so you can start making payments in a timely manner.
Tip #3. Maintain contact with your lender
It is important to stay in contact with your lender when you get a new phone number, new address, or email. Anytime there is a change in your status, let them know.
In some cases, students may end up incurring additional fees if a lender tries to contact you and fails because their information isn’t up to date. If you become unable to pay, discuss it with your lender.
Overlook this one from our 10 best tips for student loans in 2017, and contacts from collection agencies may be the next step if you continue to ignore calls.
Tip #4. Choose the best option to repay your student loan
Federal loan repayment options include a standard 10-year repayment plan. The plan can be altered based on your ability to repay later on. More interest will be paid if you extend the plan for more than 10 years. After 25 years, the remaining debt on the loan is forgiven depending on the plan.
Tip #5. Stay calm
To meet the upcoming 2017 bold and happy, you should learn your rights. Perhaps this one is the most important tip from our list of the best student loan tips for 2017.
You have the ability to repay student loan no matter your situation. If you are experiencing health problems, job loss, or unexpected expenses, you are not alone. You can temporarily stop loan payments through forbearance or deferments.
Look to make interest-only payments if you can. Keep in mind that loans in forbearance or deferment may accrue interest. The amount of your loan debt could increase.
Consider Income-Based Repayment (IBR) option if your income is expected to be lower for a certain period of time. You may not be required to pay anything or a very small amount, depending on income guidelines. Remember, there’s always student loan repayment options, you should just educate yourself on them.
Tip #6. Avoid defaults and delinquencies
Don’t ignore student loan obligations in 2017. As a borrower, you can suffer serious consequences which can lead to trouble. A federal loan can go into default after 9 months. Your credit score takes a hit at this point, and the entire loan balance is due. You may end up paying much more than you borrowed.
For federal loans, the government can take drastic measures to collect, such as seizing tax refunds or wage garnishment. Co-signers are also at risk, and private loans can go into default sooner than federal loans. Contact your lender immediately if the default is possible.
Tip #7. Pay in advance if possible
Making payments ahead of time during the life of the loan can help reduce interest rates. This means that when you have extra cash, try making payments before they are due or pay more than the minimum. When doing this, let your lender know you want the extra money to be applied to the principal balance.
Tip #8. Pay down high-interest loans first
If you have more than one student loan, tackle the loan with the highest interest rate first. Private loans tend to have higher rates than federal, so if you have both types, consider working on the private first. These loans may not offer flexible options for repayment or special protection. So make sure you stick to your rstudent loan repayment plan.
Tip #9. Explore loan consolidation
This is an option worth exploring if you have more than one student loan. A consolidation loan lets borrowers combine their loans to make one monthly payment. It is important to review advantages and disadvantages of this option carefully.
Tip #10. Forgive student loans
This one is arguably the most interesting tip from our list of the best student loan tips for 2017. You should know that borrowers may be eligible for a number of student loan forgiveness programs available. A common federal program is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness option. This program is for eligible borrowers working in nonprofit, public service, or government sectors. Debt is forgiven after making payments on the loan for 10 years.
Final thoughts on best student loan tips for 2017
We hope that this list of the best student loan tips will help you make the upcoming 2017 year the best year of your life!
As you can see, there are options available for every financial situation a recently graduated student might find themselves in. Don’t be afraid to contact your lenders and discuss your loan issues with them and don’t simply ignore your debt. It will take some hard work on your financial side, but there is a way to repay debt for everyone, student debt included.