Graduating with Student Loans? Be Sure to Know Payment Expectations
Staff posted on June 15, 2017 |
Feeling unsure about the amount for the first payment is common for college seniors, according to Co...

Graduating and feeling hesitant about your student loans? You’re not alone.

According to a recent national survey of 1,040 college students from College Ave Student Loans, one in three college seniors (35 percent) are unsure how much they will owe on their upcoming monthly student loan bill.

While some lacked confidence in their knowledge, the majority of the students surveyed had realistic expectations: median student loan estimates upon graduation were $30,000 - $39,999, and median payment estimates were $300 per month. Of the graduating seniors, most knew the anticipated salary for their first job after graduation, and nearly half (49 percent) expected that salary to be more than $35,000 per year.

“Knowing how much you’ll need to pay each month on your student loans is a fundamental first step for smart financial planning, and the sooner you know it, the better,” said Joe DePaulo, CEO of College Ave Student Loans. “Hopefully students are thinking about their eventual monthly payment during school before they borrow. As they graduate and enter the workforce, everything from planning a monthly budget to negotiating their first salary can be better informed if they know what that bill will be each month.”

Student Loan Repayment Tips

To get started, consider these student loan repayment tips for recent college graduates:

Get Organized 

Organize all your student loans to ensure you know when your monthly payments start, the amount due for each one and your various due dates, so that you don't accidentally miss any payments or pay late. If you’re not sure how many loans you have, request a copy of your credit report. You can usually get this for free, and any federal and private student loans in your name will be reflected there.

Get to Know Your Loan Servicers 

These are the companies handling the billing and payment services for your loans. Make sure each one has your current contact information, including both your email and mailing address.

Consider Signing Up for Auto-Pay 

Automatic payments are usually available for each loan through your student loan servicers. You'll often get a discount on your interest rate when you’re making automatic payments, and you’ll also know that your payments are being made on time each month. It’s a great way to save money and build good credit while paying off your loans.

Know Your Grace Period 

Most student loans have a grace period, which is the amount of time you can wait after leaving school before you have to make your first payment. The grace period can vary by loan, depending on which type of loan you have. Most grace periods are six or nine months, which is designed to give you time after you graduate to find a job and get on your feet before full payments are due.

Interest continues to accrue during the grace period on most loans, however, so if you have the ability to start making payments before the grace period ends, you should do so. This will help you save money in the long run.

Pay Attention to the Interest Rate on Each Loan 

When you can afford to pay a little extra, you’ll usually save the most money by paying down the loan with the highest interest rate first.

Refinancing Student Loans

For college graduates who want to explore ways to save and simplify their finances, refinancing student loans is also an option to consider. Refinancing can mean lower rates and flexible repayment terms, helping college graduates save some money – each month, in total cost, or maybe even both – on their student loans.

Refinanced student loan options can include making full payments immediately, or making interest-only payments for a specified amount of time as students get on their feet and begin their careers. To see if refinancing is a good choice, calculators such as this one offered through College Ave Student Loans can help students explore their options.

However, before refinancing any federal student loans with a private lender, be sure to understand the unique federal loan benefits that are not available on private loans.

The College Ave Student Loans survey was conducted by Barnes & Noble College Insights. The national survey had 1,040 undergraduate student respondents and was conducted April 27 - May 7, 2017.

Source: College Ave Student Loans

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