(StatePoint) College students who borrow to pay for school typically don’t have to start repaying their student loans until six months after leaving school. But when it does come time to start making loan payments, you may find yourself stressing out about the additional monthly expense.
“Properly preparing for this transition can help students successfully manage their payments now and in the future,” says Martha Holler, senior vice president, Sallie Mae.
To help, Holler is offering the following insights.
• Know who and how much you owe. Keep track of lender and servicer contact information and other important details on a spreadsheet. Include the type of student loan, name of the servicer, the servicer’s phone number, interest rate and type, and the ending date of your separation or grace period.
• Tap technology. Set up automatic payments so you’ll never have to worry about missing a payment. You’ll avoid late fees and you might qualify for a discount on your interest rate. For example, Sallie Mae customers may be eligible to receive a 0.25 percent interest rate reduction when they pay on-time via auto-debit. In addition, with the lender’s award-winning mobile app for Android and Apple, customers can make and manage payments anytime, including from an Apple Watch or by using Siri.
• Save money. Make more than the minimum payment each month to pay off your loan faster and pay less interest overall.
• Think long-term. Paying on time consistently can help you establish and build a favorable credit history. This can make a big difference when you apply for a car loan, credit card, lease, mortgage, or even a job.
• Be responsible. Open any mail you receive from your servicer or lender and read it carefully. Update your contact information when it changes, such as when you leave school and “.edu” is no longer part of your email address. If you run into trouble, contact your lender or servicer, touch base with your cosigner if you have one, and look for solutions.
For more tips and tools, visit salliemae.com and check out Sallie Mae’s “Manage Your Student Loans,” a one-stop source of straightforward, comprehensive information featuring practical tools — including a monthly budget worksheet and a loan payment estimator, as well as easy-to-understand explanations of complex subjects, like how interest accrues, how payments are allocated to principal and interest, and how to build a strong credit history.
“Our student loan repayment tips and tools are designed to help new grads adopt responsible personal finance habits now that will serve them well throughout their lives,” says Holler.
Time to repay your student loans? Be sure you have all the tools and facts needed to do so as quickly and affordably as possible.