Knee-deep in $100,000 of student loans upon graduation, some college graduates are getting their first real tastes of being in debt. Most college graduates have a grace period of six months after graduation, during which interest will not accrue on their student loans and no payments are required. After those six months, however, college graduates must begin tackling their debt, one month at a time.
For new graduates with living costs, travel, and other expenses, this will be challenging. For new graduates who have yet to secure a starting salary, this may be impossible. So, here are possible ways to save on your monthly payments and tackle your debt the right way:
- Consolidate Your Student Loans
Private student loan consolidation or “refinancing” is a tried and true method of saving money on your student loans. If you have $100K in student loans, it’s likely that you probably have a mix of federal and private loans. Consolidating your student loans will combine multiple federal and private loans into one affordable payment. Your new student loan will also likely have a lower interest rate.
- Add a Credit-Worthy Cosigner
A co-signer does not need to be a parent or relative. To benefit your financial situation, a co-signer just needs to be credit-worthy and trustworthy. Adding a cosigner can lower your interest rates upon refinancing your student loans. The more you demonstrate to lenders that you’re not a risky borrower, the more comfortable they will feel about lending to you.
- Pay Off the Expensive Loans First
Student loan consolidation will pay off your current debt and give you a brand new student loan, with an interest rate that is a weighted average of your former loans. If you have one outstanding student loan with an incredibly high interest rate, it may actually be beneficial in the long run to focus on paying off that loan first. Alternatively, refinance your high interest rate loans and keep the loans with the terms you like.
- Student Loan Repayment Programs
Under President Obama’s Pay-As-You-Earn program, students with loans that meet certain income eligibility standards will only need to pay 10 percent of their discretionary income for a maximum of 20 years. Income-based repayment is another popular option that many federal borrowers take advantage of.
- Student Loan Forgiveness Programs
If you work full-time for the government or in any public service job, you may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. This means that you only have to make payments for 10 years, or 120 qualifying payments, after which the remaining loan is forgiven. It should be noted that only federal loans are eligible; specifically, only direct loans are eligible for PSLF. Perkins Loans and Federal Family Education Loans are not eligible.
There are various ways to make your monthly payments more affordable. Above all, what matters most is that you make your student loan monthly payments on time. We hope these tips will aid you in doing so and help repay your debt faster.
For more information about student loan consolidation, or to learn more about student loans, visit Credible.