Student loan nightmare stories are becoming all too common. You may wonder how people get is such a huge financial mess. It’s quite easy actually. Just keep signing on that line without understanding the terms you are agreeing to and it will add up to one big expensive mistake. So keep these tips in mind before you sign.
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.
Paying your student loans helps you build a good credit rating. Conversely, not paying them can destroy your credit rating. Not only that, if you don’t pay for nine months, you will ow the entire balance. When this happens the government can keep your tax refunds and/or garnish your wages in an effort to collect. Avoid all this trouble by making timely payments.
Try getting your student loans paid off in a 10-year period. This is the traditional repayment period that you should be able to achieve after graduation. If you struggle with payments, there are 20 and 30-year repayment periods. The drawback to these is that they will make you pay more in interest.
To reduce the amount of your student loans, work as many hours as you can during your last year of high school and the summer before college. The more money you have to give the college in cash, the less you have to finance. This means less loan expense later on.
To keep your overall student loan principal low, complete your first two years of school at a community college before transferring to a four-year institution. The tuition is significantly lower your first two years, and your degree will be just as valid as everyone else’s when you graduate from the larger university.
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.
Understand that school affiliations with lenders can be quite misleading when you are deciding which lender to choose. They may have a deal with a private lender and offer them use of the school’s name. This may be deceiving. The school may receive some sort of payment if you agree to go with a certain lender. Therefore, don’t blindly put your trust in anything; do your own research.
If you are in a position to do so, sign up for automated student loan payments. Certain lenders offer a small discount for payments made the same time each month from your checking or saving account. This option is recommended only if you have a steady, stable income. Otherwise, you run the risk of incurring hefty overdraft fees.
To bring in the greatest returns on your student loan, get the most out of each day at school. Instead of sleeping in until a few minutes before class, and then running to class with your binder and notebook flying, wake up earlier to get yourself organized. You’ll get better grades and make a good impression.
Communicate with the lender or whoever is making the loan to you. This is important as you will want to know all of the information on your loan and what stipulations are involved in your payback plan. You may even get some helpful advice from your lender about how to pay it back.
Always keep your lender aware of your current address and phone number. That may mean having to send them a notification and then following up with a phone call to ensure that they have your current information on file. You may miss out on important notifications if they cannot contact you.
If you are the forgetful type and are worried that you might miss a payment or not remember it until it is past due, you should sign up for direct pay. That way your payment will be automatically deducted from your checking account each month and you can be sure you will never have a late payment.
To keep your student loan borrowing costs to a minimum, consider working as a resident advisor during your last three years of undergraduate study. While you will be living in a dorm with freshmen, serving as the leaders of the building, you will also receive free room and board, which makes the duties somewhat less onerous.
To receive the best return on your student loan investment, establish a daily routine that includes attending class, working, studying, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. That way you will emerge from college a well-rounded, disciplined individual, able to handle the challenges of life after leaving university for the real world.
If your credit score is less than perfect, taking out federal student loans is preferable to taking out loans from private lenders. Unlike the federal government, many private lenders require you to have a cosigner. If you are unable to meet your payment obligations, the burden falls on your cosigner. This in turn can have an adverse impact on their credit score.
To keep from wasting your student loan funds, make sure that you take advantage of all of the opportunities that your campus has to offer for personal enrichment. You only get to go to college once, so take in things like the college theater, the university orchestra and the student fitness center.
Making educated decisions about student loans is the best way to avoid financial disaster. It can also keep you from making a costly mistake that will follow you for decades. So remember the tips from above, don’t be afraid to ask questions and always understand what you are are signing up for.