Congress has allowed future student loan interest rates to double as of Monday, July 1, 2013. Future student loans provided by the government through the William T. Ford Direct Student Loan Program earlier had interest rates of 3.4%, which has now increased to 6.8%. It’s sad that at the time when US desperately need graduates in scientific and technical fields, such steps are being taken. Currently, Americans owe an enormous amount of $1.1 billion in student loan debt. The hike is going to affect approximately 7 million students in the country and on an average it’ll cost $2,600 on each student.
Student loan is like a protective umbrella for many, leaving you with no option other than opting for it, if you seek admission in college. It’s very important to plan carefully and avoid borrowing as such much as possible. There is no point getting a degree and a job while getting drowned in debt, a problem many face today. You can try to get independence from future college debt by following certain strategies:
1. Attain scholarship
You must apply for scholarship programs regularly before and even during college. It’s not necessary to get 100% percent scholarship, but any of its kinds must be welcome. Anything that can reduce your loan should be tried, be it through games, quiz or any other co curricular activities.
2. Be aware of your rights
It is also important that you know all your rights and conditions while repaying your student loan. If you go through bankruptcy, or suffer a complete and permanent disability, your student loans will be discharged. The banks being private, still, can go after your cosigners to redeem their losses.
3. Make frequent or larger payments
You can pay as many times as possible throughout the year, whenever you think you have an extra cash in hand. You can also add some extra amount to your payments each month so that you save money on your interest. This can help you get freedom from your student loan soon.
4. Stay informed
You must approach any college as an informed consumer and check the interest rates keenly. Focus on not paying more than required.
5. Seek for loan forgiveness programs
American Student Assistance is one nonprofit group that helps people to manage their student loan debt. It has produced a lot of occupation based loan forgiveness programs. Even if you don’t want to become a firefighter, policeman or a social worker, you must have a look at these programs.
6. Consolidate your loans
There is a possibility of consolidating all your loans in one single loan at a lower interest rate. There are loan options in retail banks or student loans lenders that may offer lower interest rates than what you are currently paying.
7. Try flexible repayment options
There are few programs like income-contingent repayment and pay as you earn forgiveness, that can help you to plan your repayment of federal student loan based on your income. For example, if your loan payments are more than 15% of your wage, you can plan about income based repayment. Under this program, your monthly payment is calculated based on your earnings and after 25 years of payments, any remaining money owed gets forgiven.
8. Stay disciplined
Student loan is like any other debt and getting out of it requires a lot of planning and discipline. You must understand your situation and focus on repaying your loan. Pay your loans every month on time without missing out any. Prepare a budget wherein you include your student loan also.
9. Earn dollars on Rose Day
You can make rose artifacts and sell them to your friends and earn dollars. In turn, you can use these dollars towards paying off your student loan debt.
It is also obviously advisable to not get stuck in a student loan debt in the first place. However, once you are stuck in it, it will suck the joy from your life. You can surely attempt to repay the debts as soon as possible by using any of these strategies.