Student loans are suddenly becoming newsworthy and the news usually isn’t good. There is an abundance of horror stories of student who are so far into debt that they just don’t see a way out. But you can avoid costly mistake by planning wisely and educating yourself about student loans. the advice below is a great starting point.
Understand the grace period of your loan. Typically this is the case between when you graduate and a loan payment start date. Having this information will help you avoid late payments and penalties.
If you have extra money at the end of the month, don’t automatically pour it into paying down your student loans. Check interest rates first, because sometimes your money can work better for you in an investment than paying down a student loan. For example, if you can invest in a safe CD that returns two percent of your money, that is smarter in the long run than paying down a student loan with only one point of interest. Only do this if you are current on your minimum payments though and have an emergency reserve fund.
Don’t panic if you aren’t able to make a loan payment. You will most likely run into an unexpected problem such as unemployment or hospital bills. There are options that you have in these situations. Still, remember that your interest will have to be paid back, so try and pay what you can, when you can.
If you choose to pay off your student loans faster than scheduled, make sure that your extra amount is actually being applied to the principal. Many lenders will assume extra amounts are just to be applied to future payments. Contact them to make sure that the actual principal is being reduced so that you accrue less interest over time.
Be aware of the amount of time alloted as a grace period between the time you complete your education and the time you must begin to pay back your loans. Stafford loans offer six months of grace period. It is about nine months for Perkins loans. Grace periods for other loans vary. Understand when your first payments will be due so that you can get on a schedule.
Before accepting the loan that is offered to you, make sure that you need all of it. If you have savings, family help, scholarships and other types of financial help, there is a chance you will only need a portion of that. Do not borrow any more than necessary since it will make it harder to pay it back.
Once you leave school and are on your feet you are expected to start paying back all of the loans that you received. There is a grace period for you to begin repayment of your student loan. It is different from lender to lender, so make sure that you are aware of this.
Now you have a better understanding of what you need to know about student loans. But don’t be afraid to ask question and request for clarification on anything that you don’t quite understand. Taking the time to educate yourself about student loans before you borrow can help you avoid costly mistakes that affect your future.