If you’re among those who have federal student loan debt, your payments will soon be restarting. More extensions are extremely unlikely. To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of things you should do now:
Revisit Your Budget: Before making payments, review your budget to ensure that you can afford to make the loan payments. You will probably need to adjust your spending in certain areas in order to make room for the loan payments.
Check Your Loan Status: Make sure you know exactly which loans include, how much interest is accruing, and what payment plan you’re currently enrolled in. If you want to check if you have a student loan, there are several resources available to help you. You can visit the Federal Student Aid website at studentaid.gov and log in to your account to view your loan information. Another option is to check with your school's financial aid office, as they can provide you with details about your loans. Additionally, the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) maintained by the U.S. Department of Education is a valuable resource to access information about your federal student loans. Remember to gather your necessary identification and login credentials before accessing these platforms.
Sign Up for Auto-Pay: Enrolling in auto-pay can help ensure that your payments are made on time and save you money with lower interest rates. And the best part? You don’t have to worry about forgetting to make a payment.
Explore Repayment Options: If you’re having trouble affording your loan payments, you may want to explore repayment options such as income-driven repayment plans or loan consolidation. Working with a financial advisor can help you make the decision that is right for you.
Reach Out For Help: If your financial situation is difficult, don’t be afraid to reach out for help from a qualified financial professional. A trained advisor can help you understand and navigate all of your student loan debt options. (BTW, MM Strategic Advising will be opening up a select amount of spaces starting in November!)
By taking these steps now, you can be sure that you’re prepared for the restart of your federal student loan payments. Don’t wait – it's imperative that you start preparing today if you haven't already.
Tips for Making Student Loan Payments
Once you have begun making student loan payments again, here are some tips to help make the process easier and more affordable:
Set aside money for loan payments in a separate account. This makes it easier to track your spending and ensure that your loan payments are made on time. Often, your employer will allow you to make a certain number of automatic deductions from your paycheck into other accounts. This can be a great tool. If you are only permitted one or two external transfers, I recommend an automatic deduction towards retirement and another automatic deduction to an online savings bank account with envelopes that you can pre-set how money comes in. For example, you might have the portion of money that comes in be saved in this way- 25% automatically transferring to a tax bucket, 25% to a student loan repayment bucket, 25% to travel savings, and 25% to a wedding account. Ally Bank is a great tool for this.
Consider making additional payments when you can. Paying more than the minimum each month will help reduce the amount of interest you pay over time, and may even allow you to pay off your loan more quickly. Side note: This may not be a good strategy if you work in a non-profit or government agency and are working towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Utilize available resources to help you better manage your student debt. There are many online tools, apps, and services available that can make it easier to budget for loan payments and keep track of your progress.
Remember: Take the time to review your options and make a plan of action now, so that you can confidently manage your payments in the future.
If you have questions about managing your student loan debt or want to explore other repayment strategies, here are some helpful resources:
U.S. Department of Education Student Loan Repayment Information: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans
Federal Student Aid Loan Simulator: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/tools/loan-simulator
These resources can help you understand your options and make the best decisions for managing your student loans. Good luck and feel free to get in touch with any questions by emailing email@example.com.