I am keenly aware how much of a “Game Changer” the laws passing in many states in America “Legalizing Online Sports Betting” IS …Let’s face it, college students love supporting their school’s teams in any form of sports and with “March Madness” in full swing, students may be more willing to give it a try. BUT? Many can be more leaning to, and it can become a problem for them. Hence,
MARCH is also Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
Now, I am not saying students WILL become addicted to online sports betting, but the possibility is always there. That would be devastating to these students as many already when leaving college are swimming in Student Debt!
If you are a student, and you feel the need to gamble or bet on sports? Please do it responsibly, and my Guest Article is here to help share some tips and advice on helping YOU get of Student/College Debt.
Helping College Student Get Out of Debt
You’ve made it. You’ve passed all your final exams, lined up a few potential job opportunities, and are ready to get that degree in your hands. Maybe you had hopes that all those anxieties you felt before you started your first semester of college would be gone after four years of schooling. But graduating brings on a whole new set of challenges. Finding a job in your field of study, finding affordable housing, and of course, paying off the loans that have been building up over time.
More than 40 million Americans have some form of student loan debt, with almost 6 million of those borrows owing more than $50,000. These numbers aren’t meant to scare you, but more to show you that you’re not alone in this. This kind of debt can take a mental toll as much as a financial toll. Maybe you have a plan in place to keep your student loan payments in check, but what about those that don’t? After all, it’s difficult enough to get through a grueling college experience, let alone prepare a foolproof plan to pay back your loans in a timely manner.
What’s the First Step?
There are a few rather simple ways to help manage your student loans, and you may even find a few tips out there on how to stop paying your student loans altogether. However you decide to pay off your debt, whether you choose to enroll in income-driven repayments, pursue a career in public service, or receive loan forgiveness; the first step to managing debt is understanding it.
Understanding what type of loans you currently have to pay back will give you a better idea of how to pick the right repayment options. There are two types of student loans:
- Federal Loans
- Private Loans
Federal loans have protections from lenders, where private loans do not. It’s likely that you filed for federal student loans at some point during your time in college. Since private loans are not backed by the federal government, they are far more risky and expensive than federal loans. For that reason, they’re not nearly as popular.
Regardless of which type of loan you have, make sure to check out the National Student Loan Data System to view a complete listing of all your federal loans. If you’re not seeing some of them on there, they’re likely private loans. Begin by viewing your current credit reports, and make note of both the lender contact information and balances of each private loan. Both of these things will be necessary for the future.
Pick a Repayment Method
Repayments can be both daunting and downright confusing. Take the time to fully understand the pros and cons of each method of repayment. There will be trade-offs between each option, but here is a general overview of each:
- Standard Repayment
For loans that aren’t consolidated, you can choose to repay in a standard method. All this means is that your payments will be the same over a ten year period. Depending on your balance, these monthly payments may be high, but the quicker you pay off your loan the less you’ll be paying in interest.
- Income-Driven Repayment
If your debt is relatively higher than your current income, you may want to take advantage of the income-driven repayment plan. Your monthly payments will be established by the percentage of your current income. This means if you don’t earn a lot at the moment, your loan payments will be significantly lower.
Although there are clear advantages to this type of repayment plan, there are a few significant drawbacks. You’ll be required to verify your income annually, and because the payments are lower, interest charges will be considerably higher.
Get Your Loans Forgiven
There is a federal program called Public Service Loan Forgiveness that forgives student debt remaining after 10 years of qualifying payments for those in nonprofit, government, or public service jobs. There are even more loan forgiveness programs and options for those working in the military, those in teaching positions, or those in medicine.
Don’t ignore the debt! Ignoring your debt can lead to some serious consequences. Not making payments at all can lead to your loan defaulting. If that happens, the loan balance as a total will become due, wrecking your credit score. You may even have your wages and tax refunds garnished by the government. If you know you’re in danger of defaulting, talk honestly with your lenders. There may be a way to keep this from happening.
Don’t panic! So many people before you have had trouble making payments on their loans due to unemployment, health issues, or those general unexpected financial challenges. Remember, options for managing your loans exist. There are legal and legitimate ways to postpone your payments for a short period of time.
If you’re experiencing a temporary hardship, try deferment or forbearance. Some or all of the loan’s interest may still accumulate even if your payments are postponed. If it’s at all possible, make interest-only payments. Begin today with using these tips and wipe out your student debt!