Student loans are not an uncommon part of the college experience, but what most students don’t realize is that there are different types of student loans, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Whether you’re just starting out in school or trying to figure out which way to go after graduation, you need to know about your options before making any decisions about your student loans. Here are five things you need to know about student loans before making any decisions about your education or future career path.
When Can I Borrow Money?
The first thing you need to know is when you can borrow money. In general, undergraduate students can begin borrowing in their junior year and graduate students can begin in their senior year. To keep things simple, your loans will come from two places: federal and private lenders.
What Is My Financial Aid Eligibility?
A financial aid award letter can look confusing, but once you get past all of those dollar signs, here’s what you need to know. In order to determine your eligibility for federal and state grants and loans, college financial aid offices base their calculations on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). It’s sort of like a personal credit score that takes into account your income, assets and other information.
How Will My Monthly Payments Be Determined?
Your monthly payment will be determined by two factors: how much you borrowed and for how long. Borrowers with higher annual incomes typically have lower monthly payments than borrowers with lower annual incomes because income is used to determine what percentage of your income goes toward repaying your student loans (this is known as an income-driven repayment plan). To qualify for these plans, which cap payments at a certain percentage of income, you must demonstrate financial hardship—income below 150 percent of the poverty level.
How Do I Choose a Repayment Plan?
It’s important to choose a repayment plan that fits your budget and schedule. Visit www.studentloans.gov, log in with your Federal Student Aid ID (also known as FSA ID), and review your repayment options. Here are some of my favourite tips on how to pay off student loans
Where Can I Get Help Figuring Out Which Repayment Plan Is Best For Me?
Federal student loans can be automatically scheduled through your servicer, who will also determine which repayment plan you are on. If you’re struggling to make payments, consider switching to an income-driven repayment plan. If that doesn’t work out, and if you’re not in school or earning below your state’s poverty line, student loan forgiveness may be an option. And finally, if none of those options seems right for you, refinancing may be worth exploring—but do it carefully!
How Do I Avoid Defaulting On My Student Loans?
Consider consolidating your federal loans. If you have multiple types of student loan debt, one of your best options for managing payments may be to consolidate them into one type of loan. That’s because it’s much easier to deal with only one lender than it is to work with many.
What Happens If I Miss A Payment?
Missing a payment on your federal student loans will have dire consequences for your credit score. Your loan will be placed in collections, which may cause you to lose your job or keep you from getting new jobs if you are currently employed. Additionally, collection agencies that purchase delinquent debt will try and collect by any means necessary – including calling at all hours of day and night, regardless of whether they can reach you at school or work.
What Happens If I Want To Refinance Or Consolidate My Student Loans Into One Larger Loan?
The information on refinancing and consolidating your loans is often incomplete. In fact, some lenders will encourage you to refinance or consolidate even if it’s not in your best interest. If you’re thinking about refinancing or consolidating your student loans, here are five things you need to know before making a decision.
Should I Get A Degree in a High Salary Field To Lower My Debt After College Graduation?
As tempting as it may be, do not rush out and get a degree in computer science or finance with the idea that you will quickly find a high-paying job and reduce your debt. First of all, statistics show that only 25% of people who graduate college with high amounts of student loan debt end up in careers that match their degrees. Secondly, just because you are receiving high pay doesn’t mean you won’t have thousands of dollars in student loans every month.