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Tips For Reducing Student Loan Debt

Jan 31, 2008
Student debt is generally thought of as a positive debt because it is taken for the purpose of furthering one's education with the ultimate aim of finding a career that will sustain your future. However, as with any other loan it is best to minimize your student loan debt or avoid it altogether.

Don't rush into getting a loan

There are several options available that may get you free money for school. Exhaust all your free avenues before actually apply for a student loan.

Make all your payments on time

Making regular payments is key to managing your student loans. Missing a payment could mean you would have to pay back a larger sum of money because of increased interest rates. On the other hand, increasing your monthly repayment amount by even a small amount every month can shorten the life of your loan by a few years while helping you save money in the long run.

Having trouble remembering to make monthly payments? Setting up an automatic payment option through the bank is one way to ensure that your monthly payments are always made on time.

Explore different student loan payment options

Ask your loan provider for suggestions on how you can adjust your monthly payments to better suit your income. Explore the options of refinancing or consolidating your loans in order to reduce your monthly payments. Consolidating a loan, which means rolling all your loans into one larger loan, helps by either extending the life of your loan or by giving you a fixed, lower rate of interest. Opting for a lower interest rate saves you money on your monthly repayments as well as over the long-term repayment of your loan.

Find out if and when you are eligible for consolidating your student's loans

Eligibility and terms for consolidation differ from one provider to the next. Most loans are considered eligible for consolidation if the loans meet a specified minimum balance requirement or when the loan is in its grace period or when you are no longer enrolled in school; that is if you are graduating, leaving school or dropping out of school half way. Not only do you save money with the lower interest rate of a consolidated loan but also having one lower monthly payment in lieu of several different loan payments can help you organize your finances better.

Consolidate federal and private student loans separately

Consolidating federal and private student loans can only be done by taking a private consolidation loan. If you do this however, you stand to lose the various financial benefits that federal loans offer such as tax-deductible interest and forgiveness programs. The best way to do maximize your financial benefits is to first consolidate your federal loans and only then explore your options for private consolidation.

Consider Loan Forgiveness Programs

A loan forgiveness program permits you to cancel your entire loan or part of your loan in return for a particular period of service. Services that qualify for loan forgiveness typically include teaching or providing legal aid and health care in select communities, volunteering or military service. The total amount of the loan will vary depending on the organization as well as the amount of time that you serve.
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