Does your stomach flip every time you get your student loan statement in the mail? If you’re one of the millions of college grads with tens of thousands of dollars student loan debt, managing your monthly payment - let alone paying off all of your debt - can feel like an impossible task.
There’s no easy solution; completely eliminating your student loan debt would take a little bit of magic (and maybe a time machine). But even though the end of your debt days seems incredibly far away, there are ways to ease the burden of your student loan payments today. If you find yourself struggling to meet your minimum monthly payment, consider the following steps:
- Explore repayment plan alternatives. Here’s some good news: you aren’t necessarily stuck with your current monthly payment. Did you know that most federal student loans let you reduce or defer your loan repayment if you’re struggling to make your minimum payments? Federal student borrowers have multiple repayment options based on your income level, like “Pay as You Earn” or “Income-Based Repayment.” Private loan borrower repayment plans depend on the loan or the loan provider. Which is why it’s important to...
- Talk to your loan servicer. Every student loan servicer is different. Whether you borrowed federal or private student loans will impact the types of repayment options you have access to. The list of repayment options may seem overwhelming, so if you aren’t sure what repayment plans would be best for you, contact your loan servicer. You can look up your federal student loan servicer by using the National Student Loan Database. Just be sure to contact your student loan provider before you miss a payment.
- Consider consolidating your student loans. Consolidating multiple loans into a single loan is another option to help you manage your monthly payments. A direct consolidation loan from the federal government, for example, lets you combine multiple federal student loans into one, which means one monthly payment, a fixed interest rate and a lower monthly payment. Loan consolidation can help simplify your life today; however, if you increase the length of your loan repayment, you’ll be paying more in interest in the long run. You may also lose some borrowers benefits if you consolidate, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons before you combine your loans.