How to Deal With Student Loan Debt

A recent report revealed that nearly 40 percent of the college graduates interviewed stated that it would take them at least 10 years to pay off their student loans. Other research indicates that the amount of student debt increased by a whopping 25 percent in 2008. Learn how you can keep your student loan payments under control.

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You'll Need:
A clear picture of your income and liabilities
Get a clear picture of the amount and type of student debt that you owe. Find out how much your payments on each loan will be and how much you will have to pay altogether each month. The average student's postgraduate debt load now exceeds $23,000.
Request the extended payment option if possible. This will allow you to make smaller payments over a longer period of time. Of course, this will allow more interest to accrue, but the interest is tax-deductible within certain limits.
Use an income-based repayment plan that limits the payment amount to 15 percent of your discretionary income each month. This will allow you to keep current on your payments more easily and also save or invest some money as well.
If you are simply unable to make payments at this point, request a forebearance or deferral on your loans. This will temporarily suspend them for a time, which you can use to pay off other higher-interest debts or last you through a period of unemployment, a common malady faced by many graduates.
As much as you may not want to, be prepared to put off other major life goals such as marriage or buying a house. If you have amassed a six-figure amount of student loan debt, you may need to spend a year or two focusing on reducing your balance before accomplishing other objectives.


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