When it comes time to pay for your tuition you are faced with many different choices. Some of these choices might leave you scratching your head while making decisions on how to go forward. When choosing which loan(s) to take you need to consider:
- the interest rate (fixed or variable),
- the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized Federal student loan,
- if you will need to take additional private student loans,
- and what the deferment period is on your loans.
SMMC coaches can help make sense of all these concepts as you begin to navigate your way through the student loan process. Make an appointment to get answers to your questions!
Where do I find out how much I have borrowed for student loans?
There are two places to find a student’s loan data. The first website to find information is www.nslds.ed.gov. This website is the National Student Loan Data System which keeps track of federal student loans a student has taken during their collegiate career. In order to access this information the client will need to know their FAFSA personal identification number (PIN). If a client cannot remember their PIN a SMMC coach will direct them to www.pin.ed.gov to recover their PIN.
The second place to look for student loan information is on your personal credit report, which can be found at https://www.annualcreditreport.com. A SMMC coach can help a client through the forms on this government website. Once the client has gained access to a credit report, there will be a listing of all forms of credit one might have. Specifically, a SMMC coach would help a student find any private student loans they might have applied for and accepted. The coach will be able to help find the terms of the loan and will import both the federal and private loans into a program called SALT.
How much will my payment be each month on my student loans?
To determine how much a student’s loan payment will be depends on the terms of the loan(s) and how much money was borrowed. Most student loans have a term length of 120 months (10 years), however some private loans could be less than 10 years. As stated previously, a SMMC coach will import all of the client’s private and federal loans into a program called SALT. Once the loan data has been imported to the program, the financial coach will be able to tell exactly how much the student’s loan payments will be for each month. However, this information is subject to change if the client is to take out future loans.
SMMC coaches recommend that students make an appointment with them the final semester before graduation to review outstanding loans and import student loan data into SALT. This is recommended because the financial coach can show the client exactly when each loan’s deferment period ends and how much each loan payment will be, so as not to catch the client by surprise.
What options do I have concerning the repayment of my loans?
When it comes time for a student to begin repayment of their student loans, there are a few options they may qualify for and should definitely consider.
Occasionally, a student comes out of college and finds that the loan payments are too much to manage on the standard 10-year repayment plan. A student could increase the duration of the loan based on their total loan amount, which would decrease the payments, but in the long-term would end up paying more for the loan in interest.
Another option is the Income Based Repayment plan. This plan factors in how much money a student makes (AGI), the student’s family size, tax filing status, state the student lives in, and the outstanding balance on a student’s federal loans. To learn more about the IBR plan please visit: http://studentaid.ed.gov/. Students can also use a calculator on www.ibrinfo.org to see if they qualify for the IBR plan.
The Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan is yet another repayment option for a student’s federal loans. The repayment option is only available for Direct Loans. The Pay As You Earn plan is designed to lower a student’s monthly payment, however qualifying for this plan depends greatly on how much the student’s income is per year (their AGI) and the student’s family size. To see if you qualify for this plan or to learn more about this repayment option please visit: http://studentaid.ed.gov/.
Other options that may be available to you include- loan consolidation, loan forgiveness, Rural Opportunity Zones, and more. To discuss what options are available to you, schedule a One-on-One SMMC coaching session by clicking here: Request a Coaching Session