So you graduated from the college or university of your choice and now, just a few short months later, those student loans are creeping back up and it’s time to start repaying them. How can we eliminate student loan debt? What are some common ways of getting out from under student loan debt and what strategies can you use to stay ahead of the game?
Debt should not be the defining characteristic of anyone’s life and it’s important to remember that going to college and pursuing your education is a valuable investment (even if it doesn’t always feel that way). A degree is a valuable thing and while it’s expensive, you should commend yourself for working hard and earning your degree.
With that said, you don’t have to allow your student loans to hover over you like a dark cloud for the rest of your life. You graduated from college and there were difficult days there – think of your student loans as a challenge you will overcome and you will. Paying off student loans is not a pipe dream. It will be your reality. Options exist to make the process simpler and easier. Commit to your next goal today!
4 Ways to Get Out of Student Loan Debt
- Pay off student loan debt – This is the first and most obvious way to get rid of student loan debt. Pay it off. This is also (obviously) the most expensive option and the one that takes the longest amount of time. It is also the option that most individuals will end up opting to go with and part of committing to pay off your student loans means sacrifice. Sacrifice a few dinners out or that daily latte. Sacrifice some time on the weekends to earn some extra cash. If you can commit on a daily basis to achieving your long-term goal you will surprise yourself with your progress.
- Join the military – The military, along with your commitment, will repay some (or all) of your student loans. This option isn’t for everyone, but it’s important to mention it as an option for those willing to serve. With that being said, the old adage is true: you get out what you put in. The military is a great way to get a step up in life and, along with your college degree, you will enter the military at a higher rank than you would enlisting right out of high school.
- Public service, government, or nonprofit jobs – All of these qualify for student loan debt forgiveness programs. If you earned a degree in education or enjoy teaching consider spending time in a Title I school (5 years of service and the federal government will forgive a portion of your student loans). If you join Americorps out of college your loans will be deferred, offering you time to save money and put your debt repayment plan in place. Typically, debt will be forgiven for full time workers after they have re-payed at least 120 qualified loan payments. Research your options during your final year of college and find a program which will work for you.
- Income based repayment plans – These will modify the amount of your loan repayments based on your income. This can, sometimes, result in $0 payments if a persons income is low enough. After twenty five years of making payments, remaining debt is forgiven. Keep in mind that taking this approach will often increase the total amount you owe as interest will continue to accrue – you’ll be banking on the 25-year forgiveness clause, which may not be possible if you get a job which earns a lot more money. We recommend this as a last resort or short-term solution.
Student Loan Debt Repayment Tips & Recommendations
Pay off student loans and get your life back. The truth of the matter is, loans are a burden that hangs over many of us for years after graduation from the program of our choice. The process is made as difficult as a person could possibly imagine because of all of the bureaucratic red tape that is involved. It can sometimes be difficult to know who to even begin paying. With that being said, once those letters start coming and you know who you need to be paying, it is best to get on top of it immediately.
The process you go through to eliminate student loan debt should be as simple and straightforward as possible. Don’t get lost in the minutiae of the process and don’t be fooled by the jargon that the schools and loan officers give you in response to questions. By utilizing some of the options outlined here, you should be able to get rid of your loan debt without too much hassle.