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Paying for College: Student Loan Tips for the Newbie College Grad

Student Loan Tips

Graduating from college is one of those milestone moments. You leave your college bubble and pseudo adult life, only to enter “real time” adulthood. While graduation means graduation parties, graduation gifts, and no more late night study sessions or final exams, it also means a nine to five job, “real world” bills, and student debt. Graduates today are facing hard times. With a steady and astounding unemployment rate, a competitive job market, and mounting student debt, it’s not hard to imagine new grad life being less than glamorous. While this transition is always going to be a challenge, there are several things that new or soon-to-be grads can do to prepare for real life. Use these tips to carefully manage your student loan debt and reduce some of the stress in your first year as a college graduate. Here are 3 Student Loan Tips:

Student Loan Tip #1– Prepay Your Loan

Mortarboard, SooMee turning tassel

Student Loans Soon, SooMee turning tassel—quinn anya (Flickr.com)

With harsh times afoot, many individuals make efforts to lower their monthly student-loan payments from the beginning. This can be a very enticing thing to do. You can consolidate your loan or you can extend your repayment of the loan. While these options offer immediate relief, they tend to make things more challenging over time. Extending your repayment period means that you make more payments over a longer period of time. Doing this means that you end up paying more money in interest on the loans overall. Sure, a loan extension may be necessary at certain times and in specific circumstances, but, if at all possible, it is best to hold off on extending the loan period for times of emergency.

Student Loan Tip #2– Set Reachable Goals

It’s important to set goals for yourself when it comes to loan repayment. Student loans are difficult because they are dropped on you before you can even find your footing in the world of true adulthood. Sit down and set up some basic, attainable goals for yourself. Ideally, you should attempt to make the suggested monthly payment plus a little bit extra whenever is possible on your loan. But, of course, sometimes (particularly in the beginning) this just isn’t going to be possible. Look at your finances and decide what type of goal is reachable for your repayment. Once you figure that out, stick with it. When the time comes that you think you can pay a little extra on top of your usual payments, reevaluate your goals. Even 10 dollars extra a month can make a huge difference in interest charges. Generally speaking, the repayment period for a student loan is 10 years. This is a good goal to start with, but take a look at your specific situation and see what’s best for you.

Student Loan Tip #3– Understand the Terms

Just because you are no longer a college student, doesn’t mean you are no longer going to act like a college student. This happens to the best of us. When it comes to student loans, research and studying are the last thing newbie grads want to think about. However, understanding the terms of your loan is really important in the repayment process. Take a moment to read through things and figure out when payments are due. Pay special attention to the “grace period” of your loan. Lenders will give new grads a grace period where no payments are expected immediately after they have graduated. This period can vary, but is typically around six months. Be sure you know when this grace period is up. After your allotted grace time, you are expected to make payments and may be subject to penalties if you don’t make your payments on time. Late payments can also hurt your Credit Rating.

See Also:

Cutting College Costs


About the Author

Angelita Williams writes about a variety of topics pertaining to education. Angelita has a particular interest in online education, as she covers many stories on online courses and the distance learning lifestyle. Her email is angelita.williams7@gmail.com.

About Tim McMahon

Work by editor and author, Tim McMahon, has been featured in Bloomberg, CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Washington Post, Drudge Report, The Atlantic, Business Insider, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Oakland Press, Free Republic, Education World, Realty Trac, Reason, Coin News, and Council for Economic Education. Connect with Tim on Google+