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Student Loan Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Student Loan Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

A student loan is a necessary evil most students subject themselves to when faced with hard financial times. The offer is inevitable but avoiding mistakes can. Many students have made similar errors and are paying for such errors to date. You can avoid these errors if you know them. 

Here are common student loan mistakes and how to avoid them.


Collecting the Loan

Many parents do not resolve other means to pay their children's tuition fees before relying on a student loan. You can request a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is a bit complicated but with a significant payout. 

Other means are through a 529 savings account, ROTC options, local civic organizations aim at aiding student tuition, and more. You can seek help from your school counselor, research the web, and check local libraries for free student scholarships. Some scholarships are available for almost everyone. The point is that there are other ways to aid a student through college than student loans.


Taking Too Many Loans

Taking too many loans will make it challenging to repay the required 10-year plan. It is also a problem when your annual earnings are less than the student loan debt. The way out is to seek an alternate repayment plan, such as an extension or periodic payment from income. The plan is to reduce the monthly debt and increase the repayment term from 10 to 20  or 30 years. 

This case will have you paying the debt while your kids are enrolled in college and attracts higher interest. Given the interest rate, loan repayment duration, and loan fees, every borrowed dollar will cost twice as much when repaying the debt. So it is beneficial to borrow a minimal amount you can pay for in due time.


Choosing the Wrong Repayment Plan

You can decide to Pay As You Earn or income-based to avoid having to repay a loan for a long time. Some payment plans request a token each month, which is why people choose them. The tricky part students forget is that those with low payment amounts take longer repayment time, affecting the interest you pay. 

It is beneficial to subscribe to a plan with a highly affordable monthly repayment term. You can take on 10% of your salary as monthly repayment, which could help if you limit the debt repayment time to 10 years. However, if the loan repayment requires more than 10% of your salary, then go for a longer and less expensive scheme. 


Defaulting on Your Loan

The situation will place your finances in a tailspin. Your loan will be categorized as default if you haven't remitted a dime for over 270 days. The penalty for evading your lender is steep, unlike credit card companies. Student loans are issued mainly by the government, which has the power to hold your income or garnish your salary or wages till the loan is paid in full. 

You can avoid this mistake by keeping in touch with your loan provider, who can work out a strategy to repay your loan if you face an unexpected mishap. 


Not Updating Contact Information 

In the promissory note you signed when requesting a loan; you agreed to keep the service provider up-to-date on your contact. You agreed to notify the company if you change your name, address, and other contact information. You're only exempted from paying the loan if you're issued a coupon or loan statement. 

Penalties are attached for keeping the provider outside the loop after changing your contact information. It could only take time, but they will locate you, which means your loan could be defaulted or overdue. Submitting accurate new contact information will also benefit you when there is a change in the repayment terms, such as a change in loan service provider, repayment address, new payment, or loan forgiveness choice. 


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Pat Raskob
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