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Tips for Avoiding Student Loan Debt in Today’s Economy

Student Loan DebtHigher education is becoming costlier these days, leading to a significant increase in the total amount of student loan debt in the U.S.

According to the Department of Education, approximately 6.8 million borrowers of federal student loans failed to make their loan payments. Many of these borrowers find themselves struggling to pay their loans because they did not take the right measures to avoid student loan debt.

Here are several things you can do make your student loan payments more manageable:

Choosing the Right Student Loan Plan

When you are getting a student loan, it is advisable that you choose a plan that requires you to pay no more than eight percent of your monthly salary after graduating. You can choose one of the four main plans available, which range from a minimum monthly payment of $50 over a period of 10 years to payments that increase incrementally over time. If you are expecting to earn a low income after you graduate, it may be safer to opt for an income-based repayment plan. Under this type of plan, you have to pay a certain percentage of your expected income every year, and the remainder of your debt will be absolved after 25 years. However, this may not be a good option for you if you have a large student loan, because the forgiven debt is taxable by the federal government.

Try Not to Postpone Payments or Make Minimum Payments

If you are eligible for deferment or forbearance, it may seem like a good idea to postpone your student loan payments. However, you may have to pay more interest if you choose to stop making payments temporarily. Also, you should try to pay more than the minimum amount required every month. Making minimum payments means that you have to take a longer time to pay off your loan. The longer the repayment period, the higher the overall amount you have to pay.

Apply for a Scholarship or Grant

The best way to avoid student loan debt is to borrow as little as possible. You can reduce the amount of student loan you need to borrow by getting a scholarship or grant. The federal government, companies and non-profit organizations offer scholarships to students who excel in academics, sports and leadership, as well as students who are pursuing a particular major and minority students. Grants are available for students who are financially needy.

Get a Job and Live Frugally

If you are able to find a part-time job while you are studying, you may not need a large student loan to complete your education. This can reduce your financial burdens significantly after you graduate. Another way to stay on top of your student loan is to cut down on your living costs while you are in school. Understanding your student loan options and taking the right measures to manage your loan can make a big difference in your ability to avoid student loan debt.

About The Author:

Today’s guest article comes from John McMalcolm. He is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from debt management to small business management 101.

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