For many high-school students, college is the logical next step because of the potential it has to increase competitive edge over other job applicants in their desired career fields. Though many entrepreneurs are now choosing to opt out of continued education, many lines of work still require an undergraduate degree in order to even consider hiring an applicant. There is a lot of valuable information taught in university classes; however, bigger schools tend to come with bigger tuition prices. In order to attend, most students will have to take out loans to help cover the high cost, something that, at the time, they may not realize could take several decades to pay back. The process of taking out loans can feel overwhelming, confusing and tedious, so if you haven't yet applied for a loan, work with a guidance counselor or accountant for the most comprehensive step-by-step approach to help get the best rates possible. If you're already a graduate who is looking for a little break on the bank account, here are some steps you can take to help lower your post-college financial stress.
In order to find the right repayment plan for you, one great resource is https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans. As long as you have federal (and not private) loans, you can put in your monthly or yearly income and see if there are ways that you can pay less per month or lower some of your interest rates. You can check the list for loan servicers to make sure yours is there, some of the common ones being Navient, CornerStone and Great Lakes Educational Loan Services Inc. Once you see your servicer, if you have more questions about what the right next steps may be for you, you can either scroll down through some of the steps yourself or call the number provided in the contact section on the bottom right side of the homepage. You may even be able to consolidate multiple loans so that you have one easy payment per month, but make sure you read about whether this option is best for you or if it will cost you more money in the long run.
There are also private repayment businesses that will handle a lot of the steps for you, but if you decide to work with one, make sure you get a good recommendation by word of mouth. Skip the Yelp reviews or any other online opinion forum and check in with sources that you trust. These are your finances after all; if you decide to go this route, you'll want to make sure you're working with someone who has your best interests at heart.
If you'd like to refinance your loans, Student Loan Hero's website comes up with a list of six different banks to help assist you with your search for the perfect fit. If you go directly to this URL (https://studentloanhero.com/5-banks-to-refinance-your-student-loans-vert5) you'll find a comprehensive chart of interest rates, income requirements and eligibility among many more useful points. This may be a better option if you've got private loans in addition to federal, as most of the banks on this list will cover both. On one of the charts, you'll also get to see your potential for both monthly and yearly savings, something that helps put this entire process into perspective. Though this process may feel tedious, it is worth the massive savings for your future. The site also offers links to reviews, so that when you're researching you can have some user feedback to go along with any information you find.
If you currently have a mortgage, a newer company called SoFi can help you consolidate both your mortgage and student loan debts into one payment after refinancing the total amount and potential saving you big bucks. Another great resource to help break down potential repayment and refinancing plans is Nerd Wallet. Go to https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/refinancing-student-loans. Similar to Student Loan Hero, this article clearly explains an otherwise complicated process with reviews in the comment section and YouTube links.
You, like most people, probably want to break free of your student loans as soon as possible. In the meantime, setting up a system in which you have loans automatically deducted from your account can help set your mind at ease, as it isn't something you'll have to consciously think about every month. This can help clear your mind for bigger and more expansive things, so don't let those loans weigh you down anymore!