You might start getting student loan offers in the mail while still far from finishing high school. It can seem very helpful towards achieving your college goals. But before you incur all that debt, you must know some things.
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.
When it comes to student loans, make sure you only borrow what you need. Consider the amount you need by taking a look at your total expenses. Factor in items like the cost of living, the cost of college, your financial aid awards, your family’s contributions, etc. You’re not required to accept a loan’s entire amount.
Once you leave school and are on your feet you are expected to start paying back all of the loans that you received. There is a grace period for you to begin repayment of your student loan. It is different from lender to lender, so make sure that you are aware of this.
Be sure your lender knows where you are. Keep your contact information updated to avoid fees and penalties. Always stay on top of your mail so that you don’t miss any important notices. If you fall behind on payments, be sure to discuss the situation with your lender and try to work out a resolution.
For those having a hard time with paying off their student loans, IBR may be an option. This is a federal program known as Income-Based Repayment. It can let borrowers repay federal loans based on how much they can afford instead of what’s due. The cap is about 15 percent of their discretionary income.
If at all possible, sock away extra money toward the principal amount. The key is to notify your lender that the additional money must be applied toward the principal. Otherwise, the money will be applied to your future interest payments. Over time, paying down the principal will lower your interest payments.
To keep your student loan debts from piling up, plan on starting to pay them back as soon as you have a job after graduation. You don’t want additional interest expense piling up, and you don’t want the public or private entities coming after you with default paperwork, which could wreck your credit.
Parents and graduate students can make use of PLUS loans. They bear an interest rate of no more than 8.5%. While it may be more than other loans, it is cheaper than you will get through a private lender. Because of this, you should get this option only if you’re an established and mature student.
Few decisions in college will be as important as how to deal with your student loans. If you do not pay attention, you may end up causing yourself great financial hardship in the future. keep this information in mind and use it to help you get a good start at the college you plan on attending.