Do you feel like you are never going to be able to pay off your student loan debt? Are your high student loan payments preventing you from buying a home or reaching other financial goals? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are not alone.
As the cost of higher education continues to rise in the United States, students are leaving colleges and universities saddled with larger and larger debts. In fact, the graduating class of 2014 left with an average debt of $33,000 per student, which is the highest average debt ever.
The good news is that there is help available from financial professionals who can make sure you are handling your student loan debt in the best ways possible.
One of the most important things to do is to figure out the right repayment plan for your situation, the senior vice president of Edvisors.com told CNBC. While you might be tempted to pay the lowest monthly amount possible, this isn’t always the most cost-effective option.
Another helpful tip is to use the student loan payoff calculators on websites such as finaid.org or bankrate.com to help you determine how long it will take you to pay off your loans under different payment options, and the interest you will be charged along the way.
Here are a few additional tips to consider:
- Refinance your student loans under a lower interest rate. Note: this isn’t always possible and typically requires a good credit score.
- Work a public sector or nonprofit job for 10 years to have part of your loan or your entire loan forgiven.
- Ask your loan service provider for a deferment if you are going through financial hardships.
Although student loans usually aren’t dischargeable in bankruptcy, it can’t hurt to speak with a bankruptcy attorney who can give you advice on paying off debt and improving your credit score.