There it is. Staring in your face, month after month, is your big fat student loan payment. Like a recently retired family member, or a nosy, gossipy neighbor, it never seems to go away. If you’re one of the thousands of student loan borrowers who are unemployed, working part-time, or simply struggling to earn a decent salary after graduation, your monthly student loan bill may feel like an aggravating roadblock to getting financially ahead. The good news is that there are plenty of student loan repayment options for you to get short-term (and long term!) student loan help. Here are 6 ways to help reduce your monthly payment and alleviate some of your financial burden today:
1) Talk to your lender
Seems obvious, no? However, this first step to getting help with your student loans is to ask for it. You may want to start by calling up your lender and asking them about available repayment options for your situation. They may be able to provide you with a high-level snapshot of ways you can reduce your monthly student loan payments. Don’t know your lender? Sign-Up for a FREE Student Loan Hero account here, which allows your to find and sync both federal and private student loans into one easy-to-use dashboard by using the NSLDS, Sallie Mae, and other lenders.
2) Research your federal Income-Based Repayment Options
If you’re a federal student loan borrower and you make less than $60k year income, you may qualify for an income-based repayment program. These plans can help you reduce your monthly payments according to your current income.
3) Refinance Your Student Loans
Student loan refinancing is a great way to lower your monthly payments, accrue less interest, and switch to a new loan servicing company (if your current lender is a pain!). Other benefits might include removing a co-signer from your student loans, and lowering your interest rate!
Find out how much you can save by using our student loan refinancing calculator.
4) Check out the government’s “Pay As You Earn” plan
Just like income-based repayment options, your monthly payments will be reduced based on how much you make. Under the Pay As Your Earn student loan repayment plan, your payments will max out at 10% of your discretionary income and increase as your income improves in the future.
5) Ask your employer about student loan repayment programs
Some companies offer professional development funds to their employees for professional workshops, training, or travel. And now some employers are expanding their benefits packages to include student loan assistance. If you’re preparing to negotiate a compensation package with a new employer or you already receive a stipend for professional development from your current job, consider asking your employer if they would be willing to help pay for some of your student loan debt. Another opportunity for negotiating your compensation package is if your company offers a 401(k) package. Your employer might be able to swap or match features of the 401(k) program in a student loan repayment assistance program.
6) Consider deferment or forbearance
If you absolutely cannot meet your student loan payment due to limited income or if facing a financial hardship, consider exploring your student loan deferment and forbearance options. You may be able to delay your federal student loan payments for up to 3 years, and, depending on your loan types and job, the government might pay the interest that accrues on your loans during the deferment or forbearance period. Click here to calculate how much student loan deferment interest you will accrue during a deferment period.
7) Earn extra money on the side
If you feel like your current income isn’t enough to pay for your student loans support your lifestyle, it may be time to look for some extra cash on the side. Even earning an extra $100 per month can go a long way in helping you feel in control with your student loan payments This could be as simple as selling unwanted clothing and items on eBay or Craigslist or selling your services online on websites like Fiverr, eLance, and lastly even consider renting out your apartment on AirBnB!
Also, for those with private student loans, some lenders offer alternative repayment options such as student loan deferment and forbearance under certain circumstances. To find out if your private student loan servicer offers deferment or forbearance options, give them a call!
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Rates (APR)||Eligible Degrees|
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|2.56% - 7.40%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.57% - 6.32%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.58% - 8.12%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.80% - 7.02%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.54% - 6.65%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.90% - 7.34%||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|