Student loan debt is a $1.2 trillion problem nationwide, with more than 10 million students taking out new federal student loans every year. The average student graduates with $29,400 of student loans and often spends years trying to pay those tens of thousands back. One way to make student loans more manageable is to make sure students know available options to help end their debt. The following are a few tips for managing student loan debt:
- Know the terms of the loan. Student loans often made intentionally complicated. As a result, they often trap borrowers in a financial mire and leave them gasping for air. By reading through loan terms and agreements carefully and asking the loan officer very specific questions about payments, a student or graduate can learn about borrower rights as well as grace periods in the agreement that may save money.
- Defer. If you don’t have the means to pay off your student loans, defer them. A graduate can defer, or receive a temporary stay on making payments, for as long as he or she is qualified. To qualify, one generally must prove economic hardship, unemployment, service in the army, or continuing education. It never hurts to conduct thorough research and take advantage of any available options.
- Find savings. Work with loan officers to find ways you can save money, even if it’s only a small percentage. Many loan companies will, for example, allow you to save by paying via direct deposit. However you can, take advantage of these savings, because in the long run they will mean smaller payments for you.
For those interested in more tips to deal with student loans, a little bit of research and talking with a student loan lawyer can go a long way.