Everyone knows that college is expensive. For those parents who can save enough money to pay for their children's college education, the issues of student loan repayments are minimized. For those who are less fortunate, the reality of student loans and the difficulties in paying them off is a serious problem.
The hope is that upon graduation, the students will land a decent paying job and start whittling away at those massive student loan debts. Some students are fortunate enough to be able to do that, but for an increasingly larger number, that is simply not the case. The number of students is staggering, as is the amount of student loans that is choking decades of graduates.
The student debt crisis has reached the point that students now owe over $1 trillion in loans.
Student Aid mistakes
One might be curious about how students can get into such situations. There are many reasons, but the most important one is the failure of students and their parents to plan appropriately for how to deal with student loans after graduation.
Here are a few things that students might do to help minimize the amount of loans they need.
Apply for scholarships
Many students miss out on some wonderful opportunities to get scholarships and grants that may reduce their expenses. At first, students should visit their school's financial aid office. These are the people who know the process for applying for scholarships and can guide you through it.
Many students ignore that money that is readily available to them through work-study programs. While they may have to work a few hours each day, many of the work-study positions incorporate academics and employment.
Applying too late
Many scholarships, grants, and other student aid programs have deadlines that must be adhered to.
Failure to meet the deadlines will nearly always result in the student missing the opportunity. Don't wait. Students who apply early are more likely to be awarded the available funds.
Students and their parents often use local banks or even credit cards to pay for their college education.
However, federal loan programs offer much lower financing rates as well as liberal repayment programs.
Paying off student loans
Getting out of debt can be a problem even under the best of conditions. If you're just graduated and haven't landed that perfect job yet, there's a good chance that you will soon be struggling with massive student loan debt.
When you realize that you're running into problems with repaying your student loans, do not ignore them. They will continue to grow. Before you know it, you will have massive indebtedness, damaged credit, and your student loan creditors calling and knocking on your door.
Here are some suggestions for how to get out of student loan debt:
Contact your lender
Let them know what's going on. You won't get out of having to pay for your loan, but they may have some short-term solutions to prevent you from defaulting on your loan and ending up in serious difficulty.
Apply for extended terms
Paying for your student loans can be expensive. Although it may cause you to pay longer, you might be able to secure extended payment terms. This will lower the payments you owe, making them a little easier to pay off.
When you get desperate, forbearance may be something you need to consider.
With this option, requesting forbearance can temporarily bring a halt to payments that you owe. This type of action is the final step, as the interest continues to pile up even though you don't have to make payments.
A forbearance usually only lasts for 12 months. After that time, you will once again be required to make payments.
The ideal situation, of course, is to be able to pay your student loans as you agreed to do in the first place. While there may be some forgiveness programs available, they are usually only for certain classes of students. Don't rely on a forgiveness program suddenly becoming available to remove your student loan debt.
Check your credit scores
Student loans appear on your credit report. They are a loan, just like any other, and failing to pay them or being late in making your payments can have a negative impact on your credit score. You should view your credit scores and reports on an ongoing basis to help you understand exactly how your student loans are impacting your credit. While they may seem expensive now, the cost of these loans will only increase over time. The interest will continue to accumulate, and you will soon find yourself in serious difficulty.
Read more: 9 Strategies to attain freedom from student loan debt