Did you know that you have a say in how you pay off your student loans? Unlike your rent and other bills, federal student loans offer quite a bit of flexibility with a variety of payment plans you can choose from. While some plans are reserved for those who can prove they’re in financial hardship, others can be implemented by anyone, regardless of their situation. If writing those checks every month on the Standard Plan feels like a punch to the gut, check out some other popular options that may make repayment a whole lot easier!
My Situation: I have an insane amount of student loans and paying them back means writing a check for close to a thousand dollars each month. At this rate, I won’t be moving out of my parents’ house until I’m in my thirties!
My Plan: Extended Repayment
How it Works: If you have over $30,000 in student loans, you can pay them back over twenty-five years instead of ten years under the Standard Plan.
Pro: Your monthly payments won’t be so scary.
Con: By extending the amount of time in which you pay back your loans, you’ll accumulate more interest. In other words, you’ll be paying more overall, but less on a monthly basis.
My Situation: I just began an entry level job. My monthly payments are a bit more than what I can afford right now. Maybe after I get that promotion, they won’t be so bad…
My Plan: Graduated Repayment
How it Works: If you don’t have enough money to afford your monthly payments in full right now, but suspect as time goes on you will, this plan starts your payments off lower than on the Standard Plan, with the payment amount increasing every two years.
Pro: You’re paying smaller amounts while you’re still the youngster at work, and larger payments as you move on up in the world.
Con: The last years of your payments will be higher than on the Standard Plan.
My Situation: I always have enough money for my monthly payments, but I’m a little forgetful, and some days I would rather pay the late fee than drive to the post office and buy stamps.
My Plan: Automatic Payments
How it Works: Your student loan payments will be taken out of your bank account automatically at the time they are due.
Pro: You have the comfort of knowing your loans are always being paid.
Con: You still have to be aware of what’s in your bank account so you don’t overdraw.
My Situation: My monthly payment is always due the same week every other bill I have is due, and then I end up eating Ramen for two weeks until I get paid again.
My Plan: Altered Due Date
How it Works: You can change the date your student loan payment is due so it’s more convenient for you!
Pro: You’re not starving while you wait for your next paycheck.
Con: Well, there really isn’t one!
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