Don’t Fear Student Loans

I remember sitting down with my first financial aid counselor, terrified, thinking I had to drop out after my first semester of college. Her office soon became familiar to me throughout my undergraduate career, and, the more I saw her, the more grateful I felt for my student loans. Yes, they are intimidating; yes, college can get expensive; yes, I wish I had parents who could pay for my education. But today, despite the depth of my debt, I am grateful for my loans everyday. Student loans allowed me to graduate, not once but twice. Student loans allow me to work in a career that I love. I have healthcare.  I am able to travel. I have a retirement account.  Most importantly, I possess the skills to give back to my family and to support my little brother as he embarks on his college journey. I live the life I do because of my student loans.  Yes, I could have taken $60,000 and bought myself a shiny new car, but I didn’t. Instead I invested in myself through an education which I will value everyday for the rest of my life.

Receiving Student Loans
Please work with your financial aid counselor. Never feel intimidated by them; they are available to help you. Visiting the office is always the best means to connect.  If you have a question about your aid package or need more funds, make an appointment. Please, visit my previous blog for details regarding different types of loans.

Paying Back Your Student Loans
When do I pay back my student loans? How do I pay back my student loans? I can’t remember how much I owe?

Most federal loans will offer you a 6-9 month grace period. This means you will have 6-9 months to get yourself started, find an apartment, and find a job before your first bill comes in the mail. The government will assign your student loans to a lending agency, which will contact YOU via your permanent address or email address. You will be set up on a default 10-year repayment plan, which is usually the most expensive. You have the option to call your lender and choose a more suitable repayment plan. The best option is an income based repayment plan which only asks you to repay what is fair based upon your income. If you work in the public sector (heath care, education, government, non-profit, etc.) you can also apply for your loans to be 100% forgiven after ten years of consecutive payments made on time.  Even if your student loans feel overwhelming, you always have options to help you afford your investment.

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