National nonprofit ACCC offers tips on how to successfully pay back student loans. Student Loan Debt
Boston, MA – October 28, 2015
National nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling helps students avoid default by providing important information to help pay back student loans. As graduates start the process of paying back their loans, ACCC provides steps to successfully make their monthly payments and avoid default.
“Student loan repayment is not something you want to put off,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Delinquency and default destroy credit and can create problems that follow you throughout your life – making it more difficult to secure a loan or rent an apartment. In some cases, defaulting also allows the government to intercept your tax refunds or garnish your wages or retirement benefits.”
Most students begin the process of paying back their student loans within six months of graduation. If a student is unable to meet the terms of repayment, he or she should talk to their lender and, if necessary, consider deferment or forbearance options. Depending on their line of work or financial situation, a student may be eligible for student loan forgiveness. In order for a loan to be discharged, the borrower must be experiencing circumstances beyond their control.
“Defaulting on a student loan is the worst scenario, and it’s important that consumers speak to their lenders before it gets to that point,” added Trumble. “Students are responsible for the terms of their loan. Take the time to really understand your loan and all the different payment options that are available.”
College graduates pay an average of $365 per month in student loans upon graduation, so it is crucial to develop a realistic and manageable plan for repayment. In order to live a financially responsible and comfortable life, post-college budgeting is essential. With graduation comes new expenses like loan and credit card payments. It is important to reassess all sources of income and expenses to cover these new costs. A helpful way to asses these expenses is to use a budgeting worksheet.
About 71 percent of students graduate with student loan debt, and default affects nearly 14 percent of borrowers. To help graduates manage their student loans and avoid default, ACCC offers these tips:
- Understand your loans and loan agreements – It is important to understand the types of student loans you have, the variety of student loan repayment options available, and different programs offered to federal and private loan borrowers. Read your promissory note, which is a legal document.
- Make payments on time – Making payments on time is not only the best way to avoid default and eventually pay off your loan, it’s an excellent way to build credit. Building good credit will help when it comes time to make a big purchase, such as buying a house.
- Create a budget – Create a post-college budget that includes all expenses, from credit card payments to utilities and groceries. By creating a budget and sticking to it, you can ensure enough savings to be able to pay your loans on time.
- Keep good records and track your loans – Track all payment schedules and keep a paper record of every monthly payment. Utilize the ability to manage your loans online in order to stay up to date.
- Address any financial challenges quickly – If you are having trouble making your monthly payment, don’t wait to address the problem. Research your options and talk to your lender. A borrower is usually considered in default if he or she has failed to make a loan payment for 270 days or more. Don’t let it get to that point. You may be able to switch repayment plans, consider an income-driven repayment plan, change a payment due date, or secure a deferment or forbearance.
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, student loan counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:
- For credit counseling call 800-769-3571
- For bankruptcy counseling call 866-826-6924
- For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
- Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. As experts in debt and credit management, ACCC believes that many of the same principles applied to recovering from significant credit card debt can be applied to repaying student loan debt. ACCC provides prospective, current, and past students and their families with the information and resources necessary to make the best possible personal finances decisions about their college education and to help successfully maneuver the repayment process without relying on credit card debt or additional loans. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.