HOW MUCH AND WHO
- Make yourself familiar with how much you borrowed, the expected amount of your payment(s) and what servicer your student loans were assigned.
- Obtain a contact person and phone number, fax and email address.
- Call them with questions and get answers prior to your repayment start date. Ask them what you need to know about your pending repayment schedule. They are there to assist you.
- Stay in touch with your loan servicer. If you have a change of address, phone, email, etc. Be sure to update your servicer with this information.
- If you don’t know, call 1-800-4FEDAID. They can provide you information about your specific loans and servicer(s).
- Start by opening a savings plan at your local bank. This account should be dedicated to your repayment plan only.
- It is recommended you open this account during the six-month grace period you receive after you leave school.
(Note: Begin to place funds in this account immediately in an attempt to get a jump on your repayment program.)
- After graduation (if not sooner) secure a career preferably in your field of study.
- Have funds allocated to your savings account through payroll deduction. By having this money transferred to a savings account before you receive your paycheck, you will not miss having these funds in your personal account.
SAVE FOR A RAINY DAY
- After determining the required payment amount, add an additional amount to be deducted from your paycheck, which will be installed into your savings account.
- The additional amount you have added to your request will help you to build a safety net for your payment plan.
(Note: What if you had something unexpected happened and you could not work for a period of time? This financial safety net can possibly make a loan payment(s) without causing additional stress during that period of time.)
- Make arrangements with your loan servicer to have your payments taken automatically from your savings account. By authorizing automatic payments from your account, your servicer is authorized to reduce your interest rate by 0.25% over the life of a loan, this can be a significant savings to you the barrower.
- Request your servicer to make these withdrawals every two weeks and in the amount equal to one half of your loan payment. By doing this you will be making a total of thirteen monthly payments each year instead of twelve, which pays your loans off sooner and saves you interest money along the way (money in your own pocket.)
(Note: By doing this, you can reduce 10 years or 120 payments down to around 7 years or 84 payments. Why not put this money in your pocket instead of theirs?)
- Depending on your specific circumstances, you may need or want a different repayment option. There are many options including the standard 10-year repayment, income contingent repayment and income based repayment plans. Contact your servicer to discuss your needs and options for these repayment plans.
- If you have taken out more than one loan during your program, consider consolidating your loans through the Direct Loan Consolidation program.
- You can complete a Direct Loan Consolidation application electronically when you graduate and defer its processing until you enter repayment (six months after graduation).
- Loan Consolidation provides you the option to consolidate all of your FFEL and D/L loan obligations into one loan, which means one payment and one servicer. Depending on the amount of your loan debt, you may have the option of extending your payments out over a longer period of time (up to 30 years, if needed).