Paying off student loans can be daunting. For borrowers who are overwhelmed by their student debt, they may want to look for student loan assistance. Where can you start? ACCC explains the different options for student loan assistance and how to find reputable companies that can help.
Types of Student Loan Assistance
There are several different types of student loan assistance. Everyone’s financial situation is different, so what worked for one person might not work best for you. However, we will outline all the different options so you can determine which one might work for you.
- Change your repayment plan. If your monthly payment is too much, you may be able to change your repayment plan so you have a smaller monthly payment. A graduated repayment plan may be a good option because the payments start out smaller at first and gradually get bigger. When you start out in your career, you won’t be making as much as you would later on, so this is why the payments start small and then gradually increase as your salary gets larger. There are other options for income-based repayment plans too. Talk to your lender and do some research to see which repayment plans are available to you.
- Ask about deferment or forbearance. Deferment and forbearance essentially mean that your payments are suspended for a set period of time. The difference between the two is with forbearance, your interest will still continue to accrue even though you temporarily stop your loan payments. On the other hand, deferment allows you to suspend both your loan payments and the accrual of interest for a set number of months.
- Consolidate your loans. Consolidating your loans means that you combine multiple debts into a new loan. This makes it easier to keep track of your payments. Instead of having multiple payments for all your different student loans, you only have one monthly payment. Another advantage of debt consolidation is that you may get a better interest rate.
- See if you qualify for student loan forgiveness. If you work for the government, nonprofit, in the medical field, or are a teacher, you may qualify for student loan forgiveness. There are other requirements you must also meet, including making 120 consecutive payments and being employed full-time.
Where to Find Student Loan Assistance
A good place to start looking for student loan assistance would be with a nonprofit credit counseling agency. A credit counselor can help you determine the best course of action for your individual financial needs. The credit counselor will ask you about your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. From there, they will help you come up with a workable budget and figure out what your options are for your debt. This may include a debt management program. They also might refer you to other government or legal services depending on your situation.
If you struggle to pay off your debt, ACCC may be able to help. Call 800-769-3571 today to speak to a certified credit counselor.