While college is typically known as the best time in a person’s life, the opposite is often said about the time immediately following graduation. Whether you got a bachelor’s in fine arts at Virginia Tech, or a Villanova’s master of taxation online, graduating from college can be a real shellshock. After four years of constant structure, being surrounded by friends, fun, and opportunity, your life is all of the sudden a blank slate. Save for the lucky few who get a job the day they graduate; most are left with nothing on their mind but a desperate job hunt.
Rent and bills are racking up, and emails from your mom are starting to more frequently contain the words “moving” and “home” in some order. If all of this weren’t hard enough, you’ve also got your massive student loan debt. If you’re lucky, you’ll find employment by the time the six-month grace period is up and you have to start making payments on your loans. But even then, it’s unlikely your 30 hours a week at McDonalds are going to make a big dent in what are some pretty significant bills.
But you can’t allow yourself to fall too behind, or you risk falling into default. Going into default on your student loans will earn you a number of penalties on your loan, as well as significantly damaging your credit score and financial future. By following this guide, you can do the impossible, and avoid default on your student loans.
Contact the Loan Provider
You’re not dealing with teachers and grades anymore. There’s no point in worrying about getting in trouble. This is very serious business, so if you are having trouble paying off your loans, notify the provider of the loan immediately. They will be much more knowledgeable than you on the subject, and probably deal with a hundred people just like you everyday, so they can help you out.
Consolidate Your Loans
You probably needed to get multiple loans to fully cover your college expenses, which means your payment process is now complicated and multifaceted with multiple bills due to different lenders at different times of the month. Consolidate all of your loans into one easy payment to save on stress, reduce the possibility of missing a payment, and lowering your interest rates to boot.
Pay Attention to Your Loans
When you have student loans in college, you get bombarded by paperwork and meetings explaining how you can pay off your loans. It is annoying at the time, but you will end up wishing you retained that information later. So hold onto those papers, and keep good records of your loans and loan payments in order to stay organized.
Only Borrow as Much as You Need
When you first take out your student loans, it feels like the more the better. You’re going to be in debt anyway, so why not be flush with cash in the meantime? If you follow this route, then you will only end up hating yourself once you’ve graduated. Borrow the minimum amount possible to get by, and once you’ve borrowed that, try to save any leftover bits. It will only make your life easier once you’re done with school.