Money Matters: How to start repaying student loans
Many U.S. college grads enter the workforce with student loan baggage. "The national average is somewhere between $25,000 and $27,000," Jennifer Dever, Certified Financial Adviser, said.
"Tech students are looking at around $10,000 to $11,000. At LCU it runs about $27,000 to $28,000," Dever added. Those numbers can be overwhelming. Dever said the first thing to get on track is to establish clear communication with lenders. "We need to make sure they have our correct mailing address, email address, and know how to get in touch with us. That's so that they can give us the options, account balances and that sort of thing," Dever said. Speaking of options, students should prepare to sift through a variety repayment plans. "There's a ten-year pay option, a 25-year pay option, an income-based option," Dever said, just naming a few. One online resource can help spell out those plans. "At studentaid.ed.gov, there's a 'repay your loans' section on that website that's really helpful in terms of comparing the different options that you have, the pros and cons of each and how they kind of stack up against each other," Dever said. Also, there are loan forgiveness programs for certain career fields. "Keep that in mind if you're in social work, teaching or specifically in the health care industry," Dever recommends. Be sure to research consolidation very closely, specifically with federal programs. "They have some options that help you out in times of financial distress or financial hardship that you could lose should you roll that money into another loan with a private lender," Dever said.