Repayment Road: Top 7 Student Loan Tips
Many of your recent graduates are on the road to repayment, and you’re in a position to give them directions that will get them safely there. Guiding your former students down the path toward successful repayment is one of the most important things you can do for them.
Here are 7 of the most important tips you can share.
- Find out how much and who you owe. Your credit report (available through annualcreditreport.com) will identify all federal and private loans, the amounts, due dates, interest rates, servicers, and payment amounts. You need this important reality check—and the sooner, the better.
- Provide updated contact information for the servicers of all your loans—federal and private. You can learn more about loan servicing and find your federal loan servicer(s) by logging into your Federal Student Aid account. You’re responsible for everything that appears on your credit report, even if you don’t receive important information from creditors. Adulting lesson #1: Avoiding important information is a mistake.
- Reach out for help. If you don’t have a big gig yet and you can’t afford loan payments you’re responsible for, own up to it. Reach out to your servicers and let them know about your situation. You may qualify for different options, but you can’t take advantage of them if you don’t even know about them. Federal Student Aid (FSA) can help you figure out How to Repay Your Loans and answer common questions you may have.
- Watch out for scammers. See #3. Again, if you reach out to the right people, they can help you work out a payment plan that helps you stay current. When you start missing payments, you become a bigger target for scammers who will charge you for help you can get, free, from your loan servicers. Use free FSA resources like Repaying Your Loans for more information, and then contact your servicers for the free help you’re entitled to.
- Make decisions based on where you want to go. Going to grad school is never a good idea as a solution for avoiding repayment of undergrad loans. Educational plans should always use your educational investment to find a career that will offer you work opportunities, advancement opportunities, and the ability to eventually pay off the educational loans you took out to get there.
- Make a repayment strategy. Getting all the information together about your loans is the first step toward creating a repayment strategy for yourself. Once you have information gathered, FSA’s Repayment Estimator can help you estimate payments and put together a strategy that will work for you.
- Live like a student while you pay down your debt. You haven’t been working for 25 years, so don’t feel pressure to live like that right away. In fact, until your loans are paid down, continue to live like a student. Don’t worry: better days are ahead for you if you live modestly and focus on paying down your loans and building your credit now.
Share with Us
What advice have you given exiting students that they told you was most helpful? What was the best advice you received about getting on the right track when you graduated from college? What helpful resources have you recently shared with graduating students? We want to hear about them! Join the conversation on LinkedIn.