How to Manage Your Student Debt

Last Updated on May 23, 2023

Young African American male college student reading documents for student loans.

Student debt is a serious problem for many young Americans. The fierce competition for jobs have forced many to enroll in colleges they cannot afford, and simply hope that when the time comes, they will be able to pay off their student loans.

Unfortunately, one in four graduates find it an uphill battle they are apt to lose. Currently, about 40 million Americans hold a combined student debt of $1.2 trillion. Some have taken to the streets to lobby for cancellation of these debts among other thing. However, until that happens, you will just have to learn how to manage student debt. Here are some strategies to help make it easier.

Know your student debt

Most students know they have a loan, but not any details about it. You should make it a point to find out everything you can about the student loan you have. Find out the type, amount, interest rates, and repayment schemes. For federal loans, you can check with the National Student Loan Data System for more information. If you have a private loan, check the paperwork you signed. If you think there is something questionable about your student loan, take it up with a lawyer. Recent investigations have turned up some illegal practices by major private student loan service providers, including but not limited to overcharging their clients and using harassing debt collection tactics.

Look for relief

Many programs are available for student debt relief, especially if you get involved in the military or non-profit organizations. In some instances, public service relief may be available. You can also ask for deferment if your situation calls for it, such as poor health. In some admittedly rare instances, you can even have part or the whole of your debt cancelled such as if your school closed before you could graduate and you did not get a refund of your tuition.

Negotiate with the lender

If you think that you will be unable to pay your monthly dues, communicate with your lender and ask to restructure your loan. Depending on the type of your loan, you can renegotiate it so that you will only pay what you can afford based on your income.

Use the grace period wisely

Your student debt repayments kick in after a grace period following graduation, so put it to good use. Get a job as soon as possible. Instead of indulging yourself to new gadgets or new wardrobe every payday, start putting aside money for paying back your debt. If you pay your loans early on, you can enjoy the benefits later. It's all about deferred gratification.

Work while studying

Every little bit helps, so if you can start saving up while studying, you will be that much closer to paying off your debt. Many universities offer work-study programs that can get your nest egg started, or you can find work outside the campus. In either case, you still need to manage your time. Many apps are available to keep you on track, and others that help you maximize your time by helping you get your schoolwork done efficiently.

Learn new skills

Your time is college is not just about getting your degree. You have many opportunities to learn new skills that are not necessarily part of your core subjects, but which you can use to help you make more money in and out of college. You can use your business course to develop good habits of budgeting and organization that will help you manage your student debt, and life, better. Plus, you never know which among these pragmatic skills you acquired can be useful when you start working. Employers are all about skill sets these days.

Build up your resume

One of the things employers are looking for in an applicant is someone who has proven leadership and communication skills. Aside from having excellent grades, they look at your extracurricular activities. Take the opportunity to join school organizations that will look good on your resume, and if possible, run for an executive position. You are more likely to get better job offers if you show you have not been wasting your time in college.

Build networks

Social media can help you make it. If you foster good relationships with everyone around you, you will get a good reputation that employers nowadays are looking for. You can do this by making connections in college. Get involved with your classmates, and espouse student causes that show you have what it takes to be part of a community. This can give you brownie points when you graduate, and you may make a couple of good friends you can rely on for the rest of your life along the way.

Make more money

It is easy enough to supplement your regular income by doing some freelancing on the side. You can just plan to make enough to cover the monthly payments for your student loan. If you always got good grades for your essays, you can apply for freelance writing jobs. If you spent a lot of your time on Twitter and Facebook, you can turn that to good account by going into social media marketing. If you have stuff you can make and/or sell, take advantage of the online marketplaces to turn it into cash.

A college education is definitely a good thing to have, but your student debt should not hinder you from realizing your dreams and ambitions. Student debt is just like any loan that you will probably get in your lifetime. The most important thing is to have full information and knowledge about the consequences of those debts, so that you can plan your life accordingly. You have all the tools at your disposal to make it happen. Use your skills and ingenuity to help you manage your student debt.

About the author:

Kelly Ray is student, blogger and writing expert on popular essay service. As any student she tries to manage with finance difficults and have free time for self-development. Kelly is happy to share her resulsts with other students and provide a piece of advice. You can follow her on Facebook and Google+

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