Education

Five Smart Student Loan Repayment Tips

Many times, knowing your options with a student loan helps you to save money and pay your loans off quicker over time. Some of these helpful tips have to do with federal and other programs the student as they plan their repayment. Others have more to do with smart handling of money and allocating money to where it can work best for you.

Here are some of the repayment tips recommended by experts in dealing with an industry that has its share of complexity and challenge:

Income-Driven Repayment Plans

For many student loan borrowers, income-driven repayment plans are simply the way to go.

These types of plans weren’t available for as many borrowers until the Biden administration extended them with various new programs aimed at helping to lower monthly payments.

The idea with an income-driven repayment plan is that your monthly student loan payment is capped at a certain amount of your take-home pay. The cost can’t go above that amount, and so it helps keep monthly payments affordable for borrowers.

One of the problems that people see with lenders is that they simply misstate the borrower’s income, so you’ll have to look out for that eventuality, but otherwise, the IDR plan is often ultimately effective.

Avoiding Secondary Interest Problems

Although it may be tempting to try to pay off student loans with a credit card or a home equity loan, experts advise against this.

You can run into problems with runaway interest on these secondary loans and get even further behind. Instead, it’s important to figure out a monthly payment where you can contribute to paying off the capital portion of the debt over time, not just paying the interest, or even worse, letting the interest snowball into a higher overall debt amount.

Keep Track of What You Owe

It’s also important to keep good records. That means knowing what you owe on your student loan debt at any given time. You also want to look out for something called capitalization, which is where interest gets folded back into the principal of the loan. Again, that means that you’re not paying off the minimum, and it’s actually making the debt bigger. That’s another area where keeping good records helps, so that you know how much your debt is actually costing you over time.

Keep in Touch with the Lenders

Making sure you’re in touch with your lenders means that you will have more information at your fingertips as you go. Of course, as you can see from public reports, lenders and loan servicers don’t always play fair. Many of them are actually getting negative publicity for different kinds of negligence and bad faith practices, lack of communications and reporting to borrowers.

Being proactive 

You can also make extra payments to expedite paying off your loan debt, and contributing to a 401(k) or investment account may help to bring your income down to get even more out of an IDR plan. Alternatively, you can report student loan interest payments as a deduction on a standard tax form, which may or may not help with your overall tax bill. Think about all of these tips, and pay attention to agencies and other parties that list resources for student loan borrowers who are having a hard time with repayment.

A lot of times, having more information about your options will help you to succeed in working with your lender or loan servicer! You can also find resources from advocate agencies like the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau or CFPB, or The Student Loan Defense, which keeps tabs on shady lending practices. Know your rights and your opportunities to stay current on student loan debt.


Author Bio

Immanuel Jones is a multifaceted professional, known for his expertise in data analysis and his passion for empowering others through education. As the founder of studentloandefense.com, he has dedicated himself to helping students navigate the complexities of student loans with clarity and confidence.

With a strong background in statistical analysis, data visualization, and machine learning, Immanuel brings a unique blend of technical skills and strategic insight to his work. Proficient in SQL, Python, R, and Tableau, he excels at extracting actionable insights from vast datasets, enabling informed decision-making and driving business success.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Immanuel is a master gardener, finding solace and inspiration in the natural world. When he’s not crunching numbers or tending to his garden, you can often find him immersed in a game of Magic: The Gathering, exploring new destinations with his family, or delighting in the adventures of fatherhood with his spirited two-year-old daughter.

Immanuel’s diverse interests and expertise converge to create a rich tapestry of experiences, informing his unique perspective on both data and life itself. He is driven by a deep commitment to excellence and a desire to make a positive impact in everything he does.

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