Last weekend, hip-hop star Nicki Minaj shocked Twitter followers when she helped pay off student loans and tuition bills for fans with straight-As. Later, she announced that a Minaj charity was in the works and would help borrowers with student debt.
Minaj made a big impact for some fans, but you shouldn’t sit around hoping for a celebrity to help out with your debt, too. Here’s a look at how Minaj’s charitable giving played out and what you can do today to get ahead of your student debt.
Nicki Minaj paying student loans for select fans
Minaj launched a contest last week to promote her new music video. But that contest fell out of the spotlight when a Twitter follower asked if she’d help cover his student loans. She tweeted back and said that she’d cover his costs if he could show he had good grades in school.
She opened the offer up to other followers. She paid off student loan balances and tuition bills, and even purchased textbooks for one fan.
Nicki Minaj charity is in the works
Minaj’s generosity spurred thousands of shares, likes, and replies. And although many of the requests weren’t for large student loan balances, they highlighted the high costs of a higher education.
By the end of the weekend, Minaj helped eight fans, paying out $18,000 of her own money. She also announced a formal Minaj charity to help people with student loan debt. Details on the charity are forthcoming, but it’s an exciting development.
3 strategies for paying off your student loans
While Minaj’s efforts are admirable, her donations are a drop in the bucket. Forty-four million Americans owe more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. That’s far more than any celebrity can pay off.
But you don’t need someone else’s help to tackle your debt. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by student loan payments, consider these three strategies:
1. Sign up for an income-driven repayment plan
If you have federal student loans and struggle with payments, consider an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. Under IDR, the government extends your repayment term and caps your payments based on a percentage of your discretionary income.
2. Apply for repayment grants
While you might not be able to get Minaj to pay off your student loans, you can apply for federal, state, and private grants. These grants can help you pay off your student loan debt — even if you’ve already graduated.
3. Consider refinancing your debt
High-interest student loans can make paying off your debt difficult. Refinancing your student loans, however, can help you lower how much you spend on interest and get your monthly payments under control.
With refinancing, you take out a new loan with a private lender and use it to pay off your old loan. The new loan may have a different repayment term and lower interest rate and monthly payment.
However, refinancing is not a catch-all solution. Research and speak with lenders to determine whether refinancing is right for you.
Take action on your student loans today
If you have student loan debt, a celebrity like Minaj probably isn’t going to swoop in and save the day.
Make a date with your finances. Take a hard look at your monthly payments and consider whether you can increase payments or need help. Explore repayment plans, refinancing options, and create a budget to reduce spending. The sooner you take action, the sooner you can create a plan to pay down your student debt for good.
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