The explosion of US student debt to over $1 trillion outstanding had lead to today’s graduates making significant lifestyle decisions and sacrifices that would be unnecessary without such financial burden. More and more young professionals are resorting to living with their parents to avoid paying rent, let alone delaying even the thought of taking on a mortgage. The root of the problem is the sheer lack of education surrounding student loans when college-aspiring students are considering their (limited) financing options for pursuing further education. Financial exit counseling is now a legal requirement prior to entering in to a loan, however this has clearly been ineffective. More than 40 percent of federal student loan holders have no idea if this counseling is something that they actually received, and those that did felt like it was “fantastically ineffective” in educating them about their loan repayment.
If exit counseling didn’t help you figure out how to effectively pay back your loans, these four tips may help ease the burden:
Find additional income sources
New companies like Gradible provide flexible online tasks that can be completed in your spare time, and make payments directly to your student loan, removing any chance of financial mismanagement or reprioritization.
Manage your debt effectively
Particularly for graduates with multiple loans, managing your debt can become confusing. Online platforms like Tuiton.io and Ready for Zero help you to visually understanding your repayment requirements, and to budget accordingly.
Educate yourself about loan forgiveness
If you are eligible for certain loan forgiveness programs (for example, because you work in the public service sector), be sure to learn more about those programs. They may help you chip away at (and in some cases, eliminate entirely) your outstanding loan amount.
Consolidate your loans
Making payments on a handful of different loans can be confusing and expensive. Loan consolidation may result in a lower overall student loan payment and remove the confusion of holding loans at different interest rates. Private companies like Citizens Bank are also working to help refinance student loans, to help make repayments easier.