So you’ve completed your classes, walked across the stage to receive your diploma, and you’ve been hired. What’s next? As you take the next steps in your life, an important thing to do is prepare to pay back your student loans.
At Center for Advanced Legal Studies, where I work in the Financial Aid department, students who complete one of our paralegal programs and apply for student loans receive the following information. This way, they can take charge of their financial situation and begin planning early for their future and their loan repayment.
Make sure to read through to the end. No matter where you go to school and use your student loans, these steps are sure to help you.
Step 1: Find out how much you owe!
Hopefully, you have been keeping up with the amount you borrowed while attending school. But in case you are in need of a reminder of how much you owe, visit www.nslds.ed.gov. Once you log in, this website will show you all the student loans you have ever received. You will be able to find out how much you owe and who your servicer is for each loan.
Step 2: Research loan forgiveness options
This step is not mandatory, but may save you some money. Depending on your career field and area of employment, some people may qualify for partial or full loan forgiveness. It is a good idea to find out if you do. Here are a few opportunities for loan forgiveness that you can look into:
Step 3: Figure out what repayment plan works best for you
Once you are no longer enrolled in school, your student loans go into a 6 month grace period. That means you have 6 months before your first payment is due. Listed below are your repayment options. Talk to your servicer about these options before your grace period ends.
Step 4: Set-up a budget
The final step is to set up a budget. Track all of your income and spending for a couple of months. Look back at your past spending, and figure out ways to trim spending and save more money. Try to incorporate your loan payment amount into your budget early in the process so that you will already be accustomed to paying it once your repayment starts. Remember to keep on top of it so that you never default on your loans. If worse comes to worse and you cannot make a payment, contact your lender to see if you qualify for a temporary forbearance or deferment.
Following these steps will keep you in tip-top shape when it comes to your student loans. We encourage you to keep a positive attitude and tackle those loans with enthusiasm and hard work. If you ever have any questions you can always contact your financial aid counselor and/or your servicer. Happy Repayment!