Raise your hand if you really understand what exactly you’re paying or will eventually pay for your student loans? You don’t eh. I thought so- but it doesn’t surprise me because I too was the same. I was the girl who:
Knew nothing about student loans, but knew if I didn’t get them I wasn’t going to college because my parents couldn’t afford it.
Who knew nothing about the difference between private loans vs. federal loans and Pell Grants vs. Map Grants. I just knew I needed a grant lol.
Who learned quickly that I could borrow way more in loan money than I needed to -to do irresponsible shit like pay my rent, ball out at the bar, and go on trips with my friends (eyeroll)
Who thought it was sweet until Sallie Mae started calling about her money.
See, I like many current college students and recent graduates didn’t properly prepare myself for student loans or student loan debt. I also feel like my financial aid advisors didn’t do a great job of preparing me for what was to come. And what happens when you aren’t properly prepared? You end up not knowing what you’re paying? Why you’re paying it? Or your options to pay.
Here are Three Ways you can prepare to tackle your student loans pre-or post-graduation.
Track Down Your Loans – this will help you answer Who You Owe? What You Owe? And When You Owe?
Before you can start the process of planning to pay, you must first know what loans you have. A great resource for this is the National Student Loan Data System. This website lets you see a complete list of the loans, amounts, and lenders your student loans are associated with. Keep in mind, this will only show Federal student loans. If you have private loans, you’ll have to contact the lender directly.
Know your Repayment Options
Although you are granted a six-month grace period after graduation, there are still plenty of options available to help you repay back your student loans. Some options include Income Based repayments or Pay as You Earn repayments. Of course, there’s upsides and downsides to every option so pick the one that Is best for you. You can learn more here.
Make a Budget and Plan
Once you’ve figured out what you owe and your options, now it’s time to plan! This is probably the toughest part especially if you’re not making money yet- but this step gives you a plan of attack which Is important. One thing I’ve learned is that you don’t want to play with Sallie Mae!
Here also is a list of Free Student Loan Resources that have helped me during my process.
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