After obtaining the amount of financial aid you need to attend the college or university of your choice, the next thing to be aware of down the road is how you plan on paying it off. Many people struggle with this part of the loan process, and end up getting in over their heads in debt. There are ways to prevent this, so don't scare yourself away from trying to get financial aid for fear of it racking up later on. This does NOT need to happen.
Here are some tips to help you pay off the your federal aid:
- Knowing how much money you owe is a crucial step in getting your loan payments under control. You never want to be unpleasantly surprised with the amount. Always keep all your loan documents, and make sure you know when payments are due and where you need to send them.
- Remember that federal student loans offer fixed interest rates and are usually flexible with repayment plans. There are options to lower or postpone your monthly payments depending on your financial situation, so be sure you are getting all the information necessary in order for you to be able to pay the money back at your pace.
- A graduated repayment plan may help you if you are not currently making a lot of money, but feel like you may be making more money in the future. This type of plan lets you pay just the loan interest for a few years, and payments then increase gradually so the loan can be paid off normally.
- If you have low income, but high loan amounts, make sure you base your loan payment on your income. You don't want to be paying off more than you are making.
- Consolidating your loans could also help you keep track of a numerous amount of loans you may have. This process combines federal student loans into one new loan. They can't be reversed once consolidated, but they can be reconsolidated.
These are just a few examples of things you can do to make paying off your federal student aid loans easier, taking stress off yourself and making the process a little less strenuous. Remember that renewing your FAFSA while you're in school annually will ensure that you get the proper amount of aid you need. Also, don't overlook applying for scholarships to receive money you don't need to pay back. Work study is also a good way to earn funding toward your education.