Contributed by: Geoff Stam, Director Default Management and Financial Literacy, Office of the Chancellor
Whether you have just graduated or have been in repayment, paying back your student loans can be challenging. The following tips can help make the process more manageable. Using these strategies can help avoid fees and additional interest costs, keeping your payments affordable, all helping to maintain your credit rating. If you are experiencing difficulty finding a job or keeping up with payments, the information we have provided here is very important for you.
- Get the BIG Picture
It is important to have a complete view of what you borrowed. Register for iontuition.com, a FREE website available to you as a former student that allows you to view all of your student loans (including your private loans). This will allow you to see the outstanding balance, interest rate, and repayment status of each student loan you borrowed. Using this site you can also view all of the repayment options available to determine which plan fits your needs the best.
- Manage Your Loans Online
Most loan servicers offer online account management for the loans you have with them, both Federal and Private.
– Register for Email correspondence; it is generally the most convenient and efficient method of communication with your loan servicers.
– Sign up for Auto-debit of payments (ACH) and save with an interest rate reduction of 0.25%.
– Pay a little extra each month and have it applied to the principal to reduce your overall payment costs and the terms of the loan.
– Use iontuition.com to manage all of your student loans.
Seek help at the first sign of financial difficulty. Don’t wait; contact your loan servicer or i3 Group to find out the options that could work best for your situation and keep you out of delinquency and away from default. (The i3 Group is a free resource provided to you by Keiser University to assist you through the process of repaying your student loans; making sure that you understand all the options available to you.) Make sure your loan servicer can reach you. If you move, change your phone number, change your name, or email address tell your servicer immediately. If your servicer is unable to contact you it may lead to potentially expensive issues down the road. The i3 Group can help you communicate with all your loan servicers for any changes that you need to provide them.
- Choose the Right Repayment Plan for Your Needs
When you first enter repayment the default repayment option is Standard (10 years) Repayment. If that payment is difficult to cover, there are other options available to make the payment a better fit with your financial situation. Graduated, Extended, Income Contingent, Income Based, Pay as You Earn, and Revised Pay as You Earn are all options to explore. (The last four plans, known as income driven repayment plans, offer opportunities for forgiveness either through Public Service Loan Forgiveness or at the end of the 20 or 25 year term). The i3 Group can provide you some guidance as to which plan might work best in your situation and help you reach your loan servicers to make changes to your payment plans as needed.
- Having Trouble Making Payments?
Use deferments and forbearance when needed. If you experience issues during repayment such as unemployment, health problems, or unexpected financial challenges you have options to keep you out of delinquency or default. Deferments and forbearance’s can stop, reduce or delay payment for periods of time for your federal loans. The i3 Group or your loan servicer can help you identify which may work best for your situation.
Using the tips listed above, you can keep yourself on a positive path to continue the success you worked so hard at Keiser University to achieve. With i3 Group and iontuition.com, you have free resources to keep you on the path to successfully completing your student loan obligations.
As the Director of Default Management and Financial Literacy, I want you to know that we are here to help you through this process. Please feel free to contact me if you need any additional assistance. I can be reached at (904) 296-3440 extension 139, or [email protected]. The i3 Group can be reached at 1-866-296-7955 or www.i-3group.com. You can register for a free iontuition.com account using the referral code “Keiser10”.