When you take out a student loan you actually get a short period of deferment. That means that there’s a period of time when you don’t need to make payments on the loan. This is the entire time that you’re still in school and also usually about six months after you stop attending at least part time. You aren’t required to do much of anything during this time because the federal government understands that you don’t have the money you need to pay for school or your loan. Of course after this time you are required to pay (though there are some circumstances where loans may be forgiven which you can check out right here).
Now when your loan has passed the deferment stage your money is going to be due. You’ll have to start making payments right away. You want to make sure that you are ready to start making payments when the first one comes due. This can sometimes be difficult because you don’t necessarily get a good paying job immediately after you graduate from school. Sure you get six months to try and find one but that’s not necessarily going to cut it either. I know I didn’t have a good paying job six months after I finished school. To be honest I still don’t.
If you don’t make the payments on your loan once you pass the period of deferment it’s not good for you. Unless you talk with a loan advisor before you miss that first payment and work out something different you’re going to start having problems with your credit immediately. You’ll see it start to drop like a rock the more times you’re late on payments and when your credit score goes down it actually gets harder to get a job, get a loan of any kind or get any kind of credit card as well. This makes your life much more complicated.
Now we’re going to go back a little bit. Before your loan actually comes due it’s in a period of deferment. This lasts, as we said, the entire time that you are in school plus six months. Now depending on the type of loan that you have (subsidized or unsubsidized) you’ll either be tacking on interest to your amount due during deferment or you won’t. Either way your loan is going to be looking pretty big sitting there waiting for you at the end of your schooling. Most people don’t worry about it until they get there but that’s not necessarily the best thing to do.
During the deferment period you are allowed to begin paying on your student loans but it is not required. What this means is if you have a little extra money one month you can make a payment but you won’t get a penalty for not making a payment the next month. This works out great because, as a student, you’ll have months where there’s extra money in your account and months where you’re scraping to make ends meet. So take advantage of getting your loan down even a little while you have the chance.
If you are able to make regular payments on your loan during school this is going to be the best option. No matter how small that payment is you’re going to be able to make a difference on your final amount. Especially when you are accumulating interest while in school. In this instance you’re going to want to pay at least as much as the interest payment every month if at all possible. This way, when you’re done, you don’t owe more than you originally borrowed. You’re also used to making those monthly payments which can help you out in the long run.
My Plan for the Future
Now I wasn’t quite that smart. I did have the loan that didn’t accumulate interest so I had that benefit going for me. Of course it’s important to note that the loan only stop gathering interest while you’re in school. You don’t owe for another six months but during that six months there is interest gathering. For myself that didn’t really sink in and I didn’t think about why I might want to make payments while I was in school. Instead I just waited until the end of my term when that first bill came in the mail.
Now I’m looking for ways to cut corners and try to pay off my student loan as quickly as possible. If I had made the payments while I was in school I wouldn’t be having this same problem because my loan would actually be lower already and I wouldn’t owe as much. I wouldn’t need to make as big of payments each month in order to pay it off in time. So if you have any way of making payments, no matter how small, while you’re in school definitely do it. They’ll make the process once you graduate so much easier.
So if you get a student loan you want to know all of your rights and responsibilities with that loan. You are responsible for beginning payment as soon as the deferment period is over. You are also responsible for making sure that your payments get made on time and for the correct amount so that your credit score is not negatively affected. But you have some rights that will help you in this regard as well.
If you get a student loan you have the ability to begin payment on it immediately. You do not need to wait for the first bill or even to get out of school. The sooner you start making payments the better it is going to look for you and actually the better it truly will be for you because as you make payments in advance your interest accumulated goes down and your overall payments when you finally finish school go down as well. It’s definitely a winning situation, especially when you consider the fact that you aren’t required to make payments which means you only pay what you’re able to and only when you’re able to as well. You can check out even more at Finaid.com. If you still need a loan however, you can check out the application here.