This is a contributed post from Mike on Student Loans.
Education in the US has never been less affordable. These days, the tuition only keeps rising. Yet getting a degree in the United States can lead to more career paths.
The difficulty of paying a student loan is a problem for many people. Some students are lucky and fortunate enough to have their tuition partly covered by their parents. But others have to earn money by themselves to afford to study.
It can be very stressful, especially when you have to balance studies and work. Imagine being overloaded with plenty of assignments like writing essays, for example, and afterward going to work. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. There are services that can help with writer’s block like EssayPro. They can also help with things like proofreading so you know your essay is in great shape before you submit.
The main types of student loans in the United States are divided into federal and private. Federal student loans are given directly to students (Stafford, PLUS, and Perkins loans). The good thing is that these loans are often forgivable regardless of their credit history.
Approval is more likely if a student doesn’t do things to make money and really needs financial aid. Credit amounts vary regarding what educational institution he or she is planning to attend.
Private student loans, given to the parents or directly to students, are made by banks or credit unions. In this case, when deciding to lend you money or not, these organizations have to be sure that you are eligible for a line of credit. Their interest rates are significantly higher in comparison with federal loans, which are set by the U.S. Congress. That’s why private loans should be an extreme measure.
Now we want to draw your attention to some tips on how you can manage your student debt.
Calculate Your Total Debt
Anytime you take a loan, the first thing you should take into account is the overall amount of money you owe. Usually, students end up graduating with plenty of loans, both sponsored federally and private. That’s why you need to buckle down, calculate everything, and weigh all your pros and cons.
If you realize you will not handle it, you can try some alternatives to taking a student loan. When you know for sure you can manage the total debt, and you will be able to make a plan on how to pay the credit down.
Understand The Terms
When you have determined the size of the debt, you need to itemize its terms. The first things you need to take into account are interest rates and various repayment rules. You can save your money by developing a payback plan. This plan should minimize interest, penalties, and fees.
Review the Grace Periods
One thing you need to know about loans is that they have a grace period. This period starts right after your graduation. You are given some additional time before you start to pay back your debts. This period can be different depending on the loan you have chosen.
For instance, Stafford loans offer you a six-month grace period. As for Perkins loans, they provide you with nine months before paying it back.
Look for a Suitable Payment Plan
If you have federal student loans, you can look for the most affordable payment plan. There are some plans that can extend your debt even longer than the standard 10 years. For example, you can choose a plan that allows you to make a smaller monthly payment.
Later on, when you find a job with a reasonable salary or, for example, start your own business, you can choose monthly payments that benefit your budget. So do some research and find the most suitable plan that works for your cash flow.
Plan Your Budget
Planning your budget is important to make sure that you have no difficulty in setting your financial priorities. When you are short on money, budgeting will help you see the difference between the necessary and unnecessary expenses. For example, utility bills and rent are things you can’t avoid. But buying some new clothes or taking a taxi to university instead of using public transport are the avoidable expenses.
To make a budget, start by listing your income, such as the money you get from your parents or your part-time job. Then, list your expenses, including everything like books, rent, food, medication, and so on. You can categorize expenses for further convenience.
Finally, leave some space for funds you can save or spend on yourself. When you start keeping track of your income and expenses, you will get a clear picture of your monthly cash flow and the ways you can increase it.
Avoid Getting Into Bigger Debts
It might sound obvious but if you have already taken out a lot in student loans avoid taking another loan. Many people tend to waste money by splurging on big items or just when they see some large sales. It can lead to a big problem if you can’t control your budget. If you have some dreams about a big purchase like buying a house, an elite car, and so on, they might need to wait.
Refinance Student Loans
The covid pandemic has had a huge influence on the U.S. economy. It has led to many people filing for unemployment benefits. But it has also driven down interest rates. This is good news for students. Now, you can think about refinancing your debts.
It can actually save your money if you do it right under specific circumstances. With the help of refinancing, you can score a lower interest rate and change it from a variable to a fixed one. In addition, you can consolidate your debts to a single monthly payment or release a co-signer.
To Wrap It Up
If you really want to get your college education make it come true. Taking a student loan may be necessary to do so. Just make sure you have a plan it place on how you will be able to pay it back.