How to Manage Your Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt can significantly impact your future and even your career if it gets out of hand. Unpaid student loans can prevent you from getting a government job, and it can also put a negative mark on your credit report.

Knowing how to manage your student loan debt can help keep these things from happening. Here are some money management tips for HBCU college students to help you keep your finances on track as you build and prepare for your future.

What types of loans do you have?

Not all student loans are created equal. Typically, when a student is looking for ways to finance their education, they will turn to federal loans and private loans. The Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) is a common type of student loan. If you borrowed prior to July 1, 2010, you may know it as a Federal Stafford loan or Federal Direct loan. Others include the Perkins loan, graduate PLUS loan, and parent PLUS loan. You can do this by accessing the National Student Loan Data Systems (NSLDS). The financial office for your college or university will also have this information. Taking inventory and knowing the type of loan you have will help you manage it more effectively.

Assess the details of each loan

Loan terms can vary from one type to another and from one lender to another. Make a list of each loan you have and be sure to include this information:

  • Whether they are subsidized or unsubsidized
  • Due date for payments
  • Amount of payments
  • Amount of principal
  • Amount of interest and if it is fixed or variable

Setting up payment terms

Once you have all of your loans listed, reach out to each lender to discuss repayment terms to help you manage your student loans more effectively. Some items you may want to mention include:

  • Do they offer automated loan repayments?
  • What repayment options are available to you? (10-year plan, extended plan, etc.)
  • Are there any prepayment penalties? If so, what are the terms?
  • What are your loan forbearance or deferment options (if you ever need them)?
  • When do you need to start making payments?

Create a loan repayment strategy

A very helpful strategy for paying off student loans, or any loans or that matter, is to identify the ones with the shortest repayment length and tackling those first. You’ll pay less interest this way and it will keep your loans manageable. Consolidation is another option that may work for you since it groups all of your loans into a lump sum, so you have one easy payment. Do the math first though to make sure this is the most cost-effective plan for you. In some cases, consolidation is not the best option.

Affordable college education in Arkansas

One of the best ways to manage your student loans is to keep them small right from the start. Our financial aid office is available to help anyone with questions about their student loans. Contact Arkansas Baptist College at (877)-643-5390 for more information about your college experience.

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