Saturday, January 19, 2008
Your three or four years into college. Maybe you've just graduated. You're smart, you've done well in school, and maybe you've got a shiny new degree in business up on the wall. Everything seems peachy keen. If this is the case, then you might be ignoring the thousands of dollars in student loans you've taken out to get here.
If you're like me, and you chose an out-of-state school, there's a good chance that you're student loans amounted upwards of 50k. There's no question, that's a lot of money. And when it hits you (and it will) you'll probably freak out a little.
Alright now. Breathe.
After you graduate, you automatically get a six month grace period in which you are not required to make payments. Sometimes, you can apply for another deferment, in which you can get up to six months more in which to get a job, and start making monthly payments.
Most of the time, student loans of that size can be paid over a long time. Up to 30 years, even. And the interest rates on student loans-- ranging anywhere from 6-11%-- are often a lot cheaper than with credit cards and other sorts of loans. However, monthly payments, which can be up to $1,000 monthly (even higher) can be simply out of reach for many, if not most, recent college grads. But there are options out there that may help you relieve some of that burden.
Check out studentfinancialadvisors.com. Also, look into companies like Sallie Mae, and other companies that do refinancing on student loans. You may be able to reduce your monthly payment to a much more affordable rate.
Some government jobs, like teaching and jobs in the military, offer a repayment program in order to relieve employees of their student debts.
In any case, if you do enough research, there is a good chance that you'll be able to find ways to relieve the burden of an overwhelming monthly payment. So explore different options. You're likely to be part of the population who pays off student loans for the rest of their lives. Make the best of it. And one day, you might just be able to pay off those loans.