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 Students and families invest heavily in higher education. Many students rely on student loans to finance their educations. In fact, students amassed $1.56 trillion in student loan debt by 2020.

 According to Forbes, American student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category, exceeded only by mortgage debt. The Institute for College Access and Success says the average student loan debt is $32,731, while the median student loan monthly payment is $222.

 Some students feel like paying off student loan debt is impossible. Many loan repayment schedules kick in shortly after graduation, and certain borrowers may not yet be making enough money to afford even the minimum payments on their student loans. There are ways, however, to get out from under student loan pressure.

Investigate income-driven repayment

 IDR will lower student loan payments based on your income, and some plans even promise to forgive any remaining balance once the repayment period is up. That period can take between 20 and 25 years.

Make a move

 The Rural Opportunity Zone program encourages Americans to move to rural areas to help discourage population decline and to give others the benefits of a lower cost of living. Check with rd.usda.gov for more information.

Work in public service

 A Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, or PLSF, enables student loan forgiveness in exchange for working for a nonprofit or working in government.

 

Refinance the loans

 Graduates may not be aware that they can refinance their student loans at a lower rate or choose new loanterms, including variable or fixed rates. Maturity dates can even be renegotiated in certain instances. It’s possible to save thousands of dollars in interest by refinancing, particularly if borrowers have a credit score of at least 650.

Make more than the minimum payment

 Financial advisor Dave Ramsey says making the minimum payments on student loans will not get them paid

off fast, and the interest could pile

up as well. By paying more than the

minimum payments, you can pay down

the principal more quickly. Designate

tax refunds and salary increases to pay

down student loan debt.

Ask for help

 Speak with your boss about whether

he or she can help pay off student loans.

Some employers offer conditional

student loan repayment to employees.

These are some of the ways that

student loan debts can be repaid

quickly, efficiently and creatively.

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