Approximately forty million Americans currently have student loans, and if you are one of them then you know how confusing it can be to figure out the best way to get them paid off. Thirty percent of those currently repaying loans are more than thirty days late on their payments.
The first step in choosing the repayment plan that is best for you is to understand the different payment methods you have to choose from. Write down the types of loans you have and their interest rates, due dates, minimum payments and existing balances. This will help you explore your repayment options more thoroughly, especially considering they can vary depending on the type of loans you have.
Once you have done your research it will be clearer what the best repayment option is for you.
Most graduates are automatically funneled into this repayment plan for their federal loans. With this option you will pay a minimum fixed amount of at least fifty dollars per month over a ten year period. You will also pay less interest for your loan over time with this plan than with other repayment methods.
With this method will pay less starting out, and the monthly payments will increase every two years. The downside to this plan is that you will end up paying more for your loan over time than you would with the standard repayment plan.
This is an extension of the standard plan. You will have a longer period of time and smaller monthly payments to get the loan repaid. However, with the longer period of repayment time, up to twenty-five years, you will also accumulate more interest.
There are several variations of this plan, each with slightly different terms. These plans allow you to pay a percentage of your monthly income, the amount changing as your income changes. To qualify for this type of repayment plan you must have a partial financial hardship. This method, with interest, will also cost more than the standard repayment. However, after making twenty years of qualifying monthly payments, any leftover balance will be forgiven.
Consolidation or Refinancing
Consolidating will bundle your federal loans into one and give you a single monthly payment and interest rate. This will make your loans easier to keep track of and assure that there is a payment made of all of them monthly.
If you choose to refinance, a private company will replace your loans with a single loan, which will carry a new interest rate and monthly payment. Refinancing also takes your credit score and income to account, and they can play a role on what your monthly payment ends up being.
The key to deciding which repayment plan is best for your student loan debt is to understand your loans, your repayment options, and your financial situation. There is a repayment plan out there for everyone.