As Maine’s weather finally improves, and cabin fever abates, many of us feel the need for some spring cleaning. Your cleaning doesn’t need to be limited to your home and yard, but can also include some clean-up of personal finances. Student loans are a great place to start.
Whether you are currently paying back loans, entering repayment for the first time, or have prior loans that you need help bringing back into good standing, options are available. FAME is here to help you understand your repayment option.
Locating your loans is a crucial first step! Visit My Federal Student Aid to get an overview of all your federal student loans, including outstanding balance, accrued interest, and information on your loan servicer. Review your credit report to identify any private education loans you may have.
Once you have located your loans, the next step is determine the right repayment option. The most comprehensive information is located at Federal Student Aid including a side-by-side comparison of all the various repayment plans. It is important to note that unless you opt-in to one of the other plans, you’ll automatically be placed in Standard Repayment of 10 years.
Opt-in repayment plans include Extended and Graduated repayment (longer term and gradually increased payments, respectively) and a number of Income Driven repayment options.
If you’re having trouble making student loan payments, it is important to contact your servicer. You may be able to change your repayment plan or learn that you are eligible for a deferment or forbearance. However, you must be pro-active with the servicers and ask them to review your options.
FAME has created a few publications to help you understand repayment and your options. Visit the Publications section of our website and click on Lifetime Learning Kit. For your convenience, materials are available in both print and electronic formats.