Student loans can help you go to your dream college, but it can be a nightmare if you’re not borrowing wisely. It is key that you understand everything about student loans before making that final commitment. Keep reading to learn all you need to personally know.
Don’t worry if you can’t pay a student loan off because you don’t have a job or something bad has happened to you. Generally speaking, you will be able to get help from your lender in cases of hardship. Just know that when you do this, interest rates might go up.
Never do anything irrational when it becomes difficult to pay back the loan. Job losses and health emergencies are part of life. Know that there are options available such as a forbearance or deferment. Make sure you realize that interest will keep building, so think about making at least interest payments so that you can keep balances from growing out of control.
If you want to pay down student loans faster than scheduled, start with the highest interest rate loans first. Basing payments on the highest and lowest amounts can make you end up paying more money later.
Choose the right payment option for you. Many student loans will offer a 10 year repayment plan. If this isn’t going to help you out, you may be able to choose other options. It is sometimes possible to extend the payment period at a higher interest rate. You can also possibly arrange a deal where you pay a certain percentage of your overall post-graduation income. It may be that your loan will be forgiven after a certain period of time as well.
You may feel overburdened by your student loan payment on top of the bills you pay simply to survive. Loan rewards programs can help a little with this, however. For example, you can look at SmarterBucks or LoanLink programs from Upromise. These are similar to other programs that allow you to earn cash back. You can use this money to reduce your loan.
Be sure to read and understand the terms of any student loans you are considering. It’s essential that you inquire about anything that you don’t understand. This is one way that lenders use to get more than they should.
The Stafford and Perkins loans are the best options in federal loans. These are the most affordable and the safest. It ends up being a very good deal, because the federal government ends up paying the interest while you attend school. The Perkins loan interest rate is 5%. The Stafford loans which are subsidized come at a fixed rate which is not more than 6.8%.
If you don’t have great credit, you might need a cosigner. You must be current on your payments. If you default, your cosigner will be responsible for the payments.
PLUS loans are student loans that are available to graduate students and to parents. The interest rate is no greater than 8.5%. While this is generally higher than either Perkins or Stafford loans, it still has lower interest rates than the typical personal loan. For this reason, this is a good loan option for more mature and established students.
Student loans come with a lot of variables. Your decisions can benefit you or haunt you forever. These tips will ensure you borrow intelligently.