It’s become a fact of life that most tech students need to take out some form of credit to get them through college. And while most of us know that, ultimately, we will have to pay the money back, it’s something that we rarely give a thought until graduation starts to approach. Don’t be one of those students who leave getting a good understanding of what’s involved with paying back your debt to the last minute. The internet has made it easier than ever to research everything and that includes listing your liability, getting to grips with grace periods and understanding what’s expected of you. Listen up tech pros, as we’re about to run through some of the most important things you should know about student debts.
List All Your Debt
If you’ve been burying your head in the sand, it’s time to make a list of all your debt and maybe consider refinancing your student loans at a lower rate. Create a spreadsheet that lists the following details for each loan you have taken out:
- Providers/Servicers – Note that a private lender may not be the same as the company that services your credit
- Principal balances
- Interest Rate
- Credit Term
- Date of First Payment
- Payment Details
- Customer Service Contact Information
- Grace Periods
One easy way to help you to find the information is to use the National Student Loan Data System or log into the Department of Education’s website where you will be able to track all your Federal student loans. To confirm private student loans, check your credit report, which will contain a listing of all your credit. This can be done free of charge once a year through AnnualCreditReport.com.
What is a Grace Period?
Put simply, the grace period is the time between graduation and the first payment that needs to be made. In some cases, it may be possible to defer the payments, especially if you want to return to school or you may want to request forbearance if you are going to find it financially difficult to make the payments.
How Long Is It?
Grace periods may differ, so you need to find out the length of each. The easy way to do this is to review the statements sent to you by your servicer which will give you the date that your payments are due to begin. Some lenders may give you a period of between six and twelve months before you need to start making repayments, while others may not offer a grace period at all. While this period is designed to give you time to find a job, if you’re lucky enough to be employed before that date, it’s a good idea to start your payments early to avoid accruing additional interest. You’ll also get to pay off your debt earlier.
Determine What Your Payment will be
While you are checking out your payment date, find out what your payment is likely to be. If you do have enough spare cash, you may want to consider setting that money aside each month before your payments are due to kick in. By doing so, it won’t come as so much of a financial burden when you have to start making payments for real, and the money can be put to good use such as paying down credit card debts or creating an emergency fund.