Published On: Tue, Feb 4th, 2014

5 Tips to Help You Beat the Student Loan Blues

It seems like old Aunt Sallie Mae has her hand in everyone’s pockets these days.  Defer, defer and defer is the route that many people take to address their student loan blues.  In the long run deferring is just delaying the inevitable.  The money you borrowed for the degree you are not using is now due.  I know it hurts but let’s pull ourselves together, take a step back and slap old Aunt Sallie Mae in the face with a solid plan of action! Here are 5 tips to help you beat the student loan blues. 

  1. Determine what type of loans you have (federal loans vs private loans), how many loans and how much you owe in total.  It may seem scary but it’s time to swallow your fear and “get ‘er done”.  You can get this information by pulling your credit report for free at www.annualcreditreport.com, going online to your lender or by giving them a call directly.  The information can also be found inside the letters you may have been ignoring.
  2. If you need temporary relief during a period of unemployment or under-employment, determine if you qualify for an interest free deferment versus an interest accruing forbearance.  If you don’t qualify for the interest free option, pay the interest during the deferment/forbearance period.  Paying the interest will be a much smaller amount than the full payment and it will keep your balance from growing into a bigger problem.
    Don't let student loans shackle you for decades!
  3. If you’re like the little woman who lived in the shoe and had so many loans she didn’t know what to do, determine if direct loan consolidation is a good option for you.  Instead of paying several bills, you can consolidate into one payment.  Make sure to “do your math” to determine if your new consolidated payment is less than the previous payments totaled.  Also, decide if you can live with your newly extended payoff date.

  4. If your loans remain separate, make your regular payment for each and find an extra amount ($10, 25 or $50) in your budget (a few less Strabucks latte’s) to pay additional towards the smallest loan first.  Once it’s paid off roll that amount to the next loan and so on.  Semi-monthly payments also help to reduce the balance faster.  Before you know it, you will be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

5. Determine your repayment options.  There are now income based, graduated and extended repayment options.  Final note, you can start paying a small amount while you’re still in school.  Wow, who knew?  Yes, a new breaking story: the lender will take payments before you get out of school and can’t find a job.  This is amazing isn’t it?

The Road To Freedom…Permission to Slap Aunt Sallie Mae – GRANTED!

Rhonda Williams

Rhonda Williams

Financial Management Counselor at Operation HOPE
Ms. Williams has been teaching and encouraging clients, peers and her family in the area of personal finance for more than 10 years.Ms. Williams is known affectionately as the “All Cash Queen” among her peers and family.As a certified financial counselor, Rhonda brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience to her audience.
Rhonda Williams

About the Author

- Ms. Williams has been teaching and encouraging clients, peers and her family in the area of personal finance for more than 10 years. Ms. Williams is known affectionately as the “All Cash Queen” among her peers and family. As a certified financial counselor, Rhonda brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience to her audience.

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Did you know?

African Americans are significantly more likely to have some type of debt (94%) compared with the general population (82%). Credit card debt, student loan debt, and personal loans are all significantly higher in the African American community.

Source: Prudential’s 2013 "African American Financial Experience" study