Dealing With Student Loan Debt
Dealing with student loan debt can be rough. But with approximately 37 million loan borrowers with outstanding student loans today, you are not alone in your struggle. Before you start to panic or ignore these loans, there are steps you can take to deal with your student debt.
- Understand what you owe.
There’s a good chance you may have different lenders and different types of loans. The first step to managing the debt is knowing how much exactly you have. Make a list of every loan you have including how much you owe and the interest each has. This will allow you to focus on the loans that have the highest interest rate. You have to know what debt you have before you can know how to deal with it accordingly.
- Figure out your best payment plan.
Many lenders offer a variety of payment plans, including plans based upon your income. Explore each option to see what works best for you. If you’re having trouble making payments at all, speak to your lender. There’s a chance you can qualify for a deferment if you’re unemployed or experiencing other economic hardships. A deferment simply means that you don’t have to make a payment for a certain amount of time. The loans do not decrease and interest still accrues.
- Explore Student Loan Forgiveness.
Many volunteer organizations offer partial loan forgiveness such as AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Full-time teachers that work in low-income areas or areas with limited teachers, may be eligible for partial repayment. If you’re in the medical or law field, there’s a chance you can also qualify as well. For lawyers, if you serve in public interest or non-profit positions, you may be able to receive some kind of assistance. For nurses and doctors, there are many programs available in which you must agree to work in remote or low-income areas that need more medical professionals. For more information on student loan forgiveness, visit the official website for a list of resources and a full explanation.
- Signing up for Upromise.
Upromise is a free program where you earn money in various ways towards your student loans. Once you create an account, you can register all of your credit cards and grocery rewards cards. When you make a qualifying purchase, a percentage goes towards paying down your loan. The same is true for certain restaurants and online shopping through their site. They also have a Upromise credit card where you’ll receive money towards your loan. (Note: We are not specifically recommending this service. We are only pointing it out as an option that might help some people reduce their student loan debt.)
- Talk to your lender.
Call and speak to your lender’s customer service. For example, Sallie Mae offers a percentage off your monthly interest rate if you sign up for automatic payments. See what they’re willing to do to help. Ask if you can lower your payments or interest rate to make it more manageable.
- Make a plan and stick to it.
The best way to deal with your student loan debt is just to face it head on. Do not ignore it or get upset about it. Now that you’re done with college, it may be tempting to stop living on that tight college budget and to start to splurge more, but stick to a budget and keep making your loan payments on time.
If a debt collector has been contacting you because of student loan debt and has violated your request that they cease contacting you or is otherwise violating your rights, call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you or complete our online for a free FDCPA case review.