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Start Gathering Student Loan Information Now

Start Gathering Student Loan Information Now
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Recent college graduates certainly don’t want to think about repaying their student loans during summer months, but think about them they must. Most loans have a six month grace period before repayment begins, which may seem like a long time, but it can fly by very quickly. You must repay your student loans even if your financial circumstances are not as positive as you had anticipated. Your loans cannot be canceled simply because you did not get the education or employment you expected. Let your loan servicer know if you will be returning to school or serving on active duty in the military, as you will not have to make loan payments during those times.

Some may believe they have no control over what will happen, but this can be a miscalculation. If you don’t get on top of student loans now servicers will collect based on a standard repayment term; however, you have some options with your federal student loans if you won’t be able to meet those repayment amounts. Here are a few steps you should take to start gathering student loan information now:

• Find Out How Much You Owe: For federal student loans, you can use your FSA ID to log into My Federal Student Aid and review your loan balances. With private student loans, you will need to contact your loan servicer directly.

• Review Your Repayment Options: If you don’t think that you can make the suggested payment amount with the standard ten year repayment plan, you will need to review the other available federal student loan repayment options. If you have questions, you can work with your loan servicer to help find a federal student loan repayment plan that’s best for you.

• Make Payment Simpler: You can choose to have payments made electronically so you will not have to deal with writing out checks every month. It might make sense to consider loan consolidation if you have a number of loans you will be paying. This consolidates all of the smaller federal student loans into one larger loan, with payments beginning about two months after the larger amount is disbursed to pay your other loans.

When you do start making payments you may discover that you have more or less money available than originally anticipated. Paying a little extra each month can reduce the interest you pay and reduce the total cost of your loan. Contact your loan servicer as soon as possible if you experience any problems making your payments.

Get more tips on using student loans wisely in my new book, Secrets of a Financial Aid Pro. It takes you through the process of borrowing and repaying student loans, provides information on the various types of college financial aid, explains how to search for college scholarships, and answers questions regarding talking to students of any age about money. Order it now, no matter how old your child is, and get the money discussion started with your student.

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