The US Department of Education had some good advice for college students facing their first student loan payments. Even if you’re just planning ahead, their thoughts on the process and how to organize yourself (before you walk across that stage or step on campus at all) is worth checking out.
The article “8 Student Loan Tips for the Class of 2016” touches on critical ways to get a jump start on consolidating loans, figuring out payment or forgiveness plans and how not to postpone the process.
They explain that “…to make a plan to tackle your student loans, you need to understand what money you have coming in, and what expenses you have going out. If you haven’t already, it’s important that you create a budget.” Knowing how to budget your money ahead of graduation will help you build in that extra room for your student loans.
Don’t forget to look into your options: “…if you need or want lower payments because you haven’t found a job, aren’t making much money, or want to free up room in your budget for other expenses and goals, you should apply for an income-driven repayment plan.”
Even small things matter. Keep your contact information up to date, and only ask for free assistance, which your loan provider should offer. What’s a loan servicer? It’s “…a company that collects your student loan payments and provides customer service on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. This is a FREE service. There are many companies out there who offer to help you with your student loans for a fee. Do not trust these companies. Remember: You never have to pay for help with your student loans.”
That’s an important part too! Ask for help understanding how loans and loan payments work so you don’t end up in hot water later. Going into the process with as much information as possible will help you pay them off as efficiently as possible. Check out the US Department of Education’s loan website for more information, or read the full article here.