If you are like most college graduates, you leave college with some amount of student loan debt. Here are a few simple steps anyone can take when learning how to pay off student loan debt.
Organize your Student Loan Debt.
One of the best ways to get started paying off that student loan debt, is to know exactly how much you owe. For federal student loans you can visit www.nslds.ed.gov to see your loan balances, and for private student loans you will want to contact each lender for a copy of your private student loan balances (if you do not already have them). When organizing your student loan debt, you will also want to make certain to understand the Grace Period on each of your student loans.
Repayment Programs and Student Loan Consolidation.
Determine if you will qualify for and/or would like to implement any student loan repayment programs or student loan consolidation. For federal student loans, you may have a variety of repayment options available to you, so clearly understanding all of your options will be important. Student loan consolidation can help make the repayment process easier by combining all of your current student loans into a new loan, with one single payment. However, you will want to make certain consolidation is the right option for you, as it can often extend the lifetime of your loan, leaving you paying more interest than if you would have kept the original loans.
Pay More Than the Minimum.
If you can make more than the minimum payment on your student loan, do this. If you have multiple student loans, consider making more than the minimum payment to the student loan with the highest interest rate. For private student loans, make certain to include a note with the payment indicating that you would like the “extra” money to go towards the principal balance of the loan and not be treated as prepayment for next month(s).
Do Not Miss Payments.
Make certain to avoid missing student loan payments or making late student loan payments. In order to pay off your student loan debt efficiently, you need to make certain you are always in good standing with your student loan payments. Missed payments and/or late payments could result in extra fees or penalties and/or damage your credit.
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