Friday, October 15, 2010

Paying Off your Student Loans

For those of you who graduated in May 2010, your grace period is quickly coming to an end. I’m sure you receive letters from your student loan creditors every other week.  Although you wish your debt would just go away, you have to pay off your student loans (unless you want your credit to go down the toilet.)  The Department of Education has several payment plans to help you pay off your debt. Here is a breakdown of some of the most common plans.

This plan gives you 10 years to pay off your debt. Your monthly payment will be a fixed amount of at least $50. You may have a higher payment with this plan, but you will pay less in interest since you have a shorter payment period.

Under this plan, you have 25 years to pay off your loans. You will have a lower payment, but you will pay more in interest because you have a longer repayment period. There are some restrictions with this plan. If Direct Loan is your creditor, you must have more than $30,000 in Direct Loans. If FFEL (Federal Family Education Loan) is your creditor, you must have more than $30,000 in FFEL Program loans.

With this plan, your payments start out low and increase every two years. This plan also gives you 10 years pay off your loans. This plan is good if you expect your income to steadily increase over time.

Income Based Repayment Plan (IBR)
The Income Based Repayment Plan started in 2009. Under this plan, your payment is based on your income and family size. You are eligible for this plan if your monthly payment is lower under IBR than under the standard plan. This plan also comes with a few incentives. If you repay under IBR for 25 years and meet other requirements, your remaining debt can be cancelled.  If you work in public service and repay under IBR, your remaining debt can be cancelled after 10 years in public service. While this plan does have incentives, it also has disadvantages. Because you are making a lower payment, you may pay more in interest. You also have to send your lender documentation about your income and family size every year. You can get an estimate of your payment under this plan by using IBR caluclator.
For more information on all these plans, visit

NOTE: Paying off your student loans may feel overwhelming, but remember you made an investment in yourself. People pay $50,000 for a luxury car that depreciates as soon as they drive it off the lot and pay it off within 5 to 10 years. Your earnings and career appreciate overtime with your degree. Don’t stress, make your payments on time, and focus on your new career.

All information presented only relates to Federal student loans and is provided by the Department of Education. If you have private student loans, contact your lender(s) for repayment options.

No comments:

Post a Comment