Paying Down Student Loans

Navigating the world of student loan repayment can be confusing. Here are a few tips to help you through the process: 

  • Understand who you owe, how much you owe, and the status of your loans.  Your loan management and repayment options will depend on whether your loans are public (federal) or private (corporate).  You can inventory public loans at nslds.ed.gov, and private loans through your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com.
  • It is a good practice to communicate with your lender or servicer.  If you choose to ignore your loans and do not communicate with your lender or loan servicer you may miss out on taking advantage of opportunities, services and programs that might benefit you, or provide relief through a crisis.  As a consequence, your loans may end up in default.
  • Understand your repayment options.  Federal loans have several income based repayment options.  Learn which you qualify for and the potential outcomes of participating of these options: https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans.
  • Learn about student loan forgiveness programs.  There are a few loan forgiveness programs and you may be eligible for one of them!  Visit  www.studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation to learn what these are.
  •  Avoid private student loans.  Private loans are governed by the promissory note you sign when taking out the loan.  These loans offer reduced options for borrowers in repayment, or undergoing a crisis.  There are usually better options to finance your education: grants, fellowships, studying at a cheaper school, work study programs, etc.
  •  Research what options other than student loans are available for financing college.  While research still indicates that college graduates retain a financial and employment advantage over high school seniors, studies are increasingly showing that student loan debt has adverse effects on upward mobility, net worth and financial growth.  Minimize your use of student loans!