It’s six months after college graduation and what arrives? Yes, your Student loan statement. Most student loans have a six-month grace period before repayment must begin. Some even have a nine-month grace period. But, the inevitable always happens and your student loans come due. If you’re in shock, you are not alone. About 70% of college students (2015) graduate with student loan debt. So here are some steps to take to get settled as comfortably as possible into your repayment schedule.
• Make sure, especially if you have not received any information about your loans yet, that the lender or the Student Federal Loan Servicer can contact you. Borrowers are responsible to make sure lenders have the correct mailing and contact information. If you are unsure what servicer is in charge of your federal loan, go to the Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System to find out and also to see a list of your loans.
• Make sure you know what your repayment plan is. You are automatically signed up for a ten-year repayment plan, but there are alternatives. Just make sure you are enrolled and all set to go and that the repayment plan works for you.
If the automatic ten-year repayment schedule is not right for you, there are other possibilities that you can set up though your lender/server.
• Repayment can be deferred. If you have not yet found a job or if you are going to graduate school are a couple reasons for deferment or Forbearance. Be aware, however, that interest will still accumulate over the period of deferral, making your debt larger.
• You can also change the repayment plan by extending the loan and making your monthly payments lower or by changing to income-based monthly payments.
• If you are working at some public service jobs, you can actually have your loans, or part of your loans forgiven. Make sure to check on that.
• There are no payment penalties on student loans. If it is possible, you can pay off your student loan debt early without charge or fees.
Bottom line, if you are having trouble or not getting the help you need from your lender or through your servicer for federal student loans, you can make a complaint and get help from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Good luck with those loans.