Which Student Loans To Pay Off First
Last week financial aid officers at Texas A&M University - a school with over 54000 students - heard from seven different lenders warning that they would no longer be able to offer federal student loans a situation that has made more than a few borrowers uneasy. Dyneche Duffield an incoming college student headed to Houston Baptist University is uncomfortable with the prospect of having to establish a relationship with a new lender other than her local bank which used to offer student loans. "I would have much rather taken out a loan there than somewhere where I didnt know anyone" Duffield said. While students like Duffield may still be able to go directly to the Department of Education for their federal college loans or find those remaining lenders who are still offering private student loans (albeit with more stringent credit criteria that are making it harder for students to qualify) the magnitude of the problem within the student loan credit markets and how deeply it has permeated the college loan industry is alarming to many administrators and officials in higher education.
Because we know that borrowing to attend college is not going away steps to offset the bite of borrowing to attend college should be taken as far in advance as possible to reduce and manage your debt. Here are some steps to you can take to ensure you are borrowing responsibly. 1. Avoid Falling into The Loan Trap - If at all possible avoid borrowing; however if you are like most students attending college you have no other choice but to do so. When it comes time to borrow do not be tempted to borrow the full sum available to you personally on the loan loan of the loan doing so can give you a false sense of financial security. Often when you get the maximum amount of a student loan it is usually more than you can afford to repay. This usually happens when students take out a need-based loan.
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For borrowers who are on the governments income-based repayment plan any outstanding federal college loans can be discharged prior to full repayment if the borrower has made her or his monthly loan payments for 25 years. Borrowers who go to work for the government or the public sector can have their federal college loans forgiven after 10 years. Federal college loans can also be forgiven in the event the borrower dies or becomes permanently disabled. Non-federal private student loans on the other hand arent required to offer any of these payment-deferment or discharge provisions. It is at the lenders discretion whether to offer a struggling borrower deferred or lower monthly loan payments and even whether to discharge the private student loan upon the borrowers death or permanent disability.
The debt from any co-signed loans will also remain on your credit report as an open obligation until the debt is repaid (or written off in the event of a default). 4 Tips for Protecting Yourself as a Co-Signer on a Student Loan So should you co-sign on a student loan? You can never predict the future and unfortunate circumstances can derail even the best-intentioned and responsible student borrower. If you do decide to co-sign on a loan (or any other loan for that matter) make sure you clearly understand what your responsibilities are and under what circumstances you would be expected to take over the note: 1) Have a firm understanding with your primary borrower about the repayment plan -- you may even want to consider putting a signed written agreement in place between the two of you -- and stay in contact with the lender to make sure that the monthly loan payments are being received on time and as agreed. If your primary borrower misses a payment date contact her or him immediately to discuss the problem.