If you are like most young students hoping to pursue higher education, you are probably wondering how you will pay for it all. Student loans are likely in your future, but you need to learn more before agreeing to any terms. By reading the paragraphs below, you will have the information you need to manage your future wisely.
Be sure you know about the grace period of your loan. Each loan has a different grace period. It is impossible to know when you need to make your first payment without looking over your paperwork or speaking with your lender. Be sure to be aware of this information so you do not miss a payment.
Know your grace periods so you don’t miss your first student loan payments after graduating college. Stafford loans typically give you six months before starting payments, but Perkins loans might go nine. Private loans are going to have repayment grace periods of their own choosing, so read the fine print for each particular loan.
If you have extra money at the end of the month, don’t automatically pour it into paying down your student loans. Check interest rates first, because sometimes your money can work better for you in an investment than paying down a student loan. For example, if you can invest in a safe CD that returns two percent of your money, that is smarter in the long run than paying down a student loan with only one point of interest. Only do this if you are current on your minimum payments though and have an emergency reserve fund.
When calculating how much you can afford to pay on your loans each month, consider your annual income. If your starting salary exceeds your total student loan debt at graduation, aim to repay your loans within 10 years. If your loan debt is greater than your salary, consider an extended repayment option of 10 to 20 years.
To get the most out of your student loans, pursue as many scholarship offers as possible in your subject area. The more debt-free money you have at your disposal, the less you have to take out and pay back. This means that you graduate with less of a burden financially.
Be careful about accepting private, alternative student loans. It is easy to rack up a lot of debt with these because they operate pretty much like credit cards. Starting rates may be very low; however, they are not fixed. You may end up paying high interest charges without warning. Additionally, these loans do not include any borrower protections.
Try making your student loan payments on time for some great financial perks. One major perk is that you can better your credit score. With a better credit score, you can get qualified for new credit. You will also have a better opportunity to get lower interest rates on your current student loans.
If college, professional or graduate school is in your immediate future, chances are that student loan debt is as well. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure that you get the best possible terms and set yourself up for a sound financial future. Refer back to this article often, and you should have no trouble at all.
Joan Holt is a writer and stylist with a passion for the intersection between biology, technology and design. Raised in Bali and of Swedish heritage, She travels across the world have encouraged and informed a global perspective regarding the future of fashion and its relationship to planetary health. She is currently working for a sustainable fashion label in Bali, Indonesia.