Managing Student Loan Debt
Think ahead when applying for financial aid
As you apply for financial aid each year, keep in mind that any loans you borrow must be paid back, while grants and scholarships typically do not. Limit the amount of loans you take on, and you’ll have less to repay after graduation.
Also, keep in mind that there are different types of loans. With federal subsidized student loans, for example, the government pays the interest that accrues while you’re in school. But with unsubsidized loans, that interest gets added to your loan balance, leaving you with more to pay off.
Be sure to pay close attention to the interest rate and the terms of any loan before borrowing—especially if you decide to take out private loans (not offered through the government). Even one percentage point can have a big impact on your final balance.
Track your loan balance while in school
When you’re busy getting your degree, it’s easy to forget that your loans will be waiting for you at graduation. Each year, when you apply for financial aid, take a few minutes to look at your overall loan balance, interest rates, and repayment terms. Having this information in mind can help you be sure you’re making the right decisions about your financial aid.
Know when your loan payments start
It’s generally expected that student loan payments won’t start until after graduation. But if you know the exact dates for each loan you take out, you can be sure to avoid late fees or other issues.
Learn about the types of loans you have
Your financial aid packages might include more than one type of loan, so it’s important to know the differences among them. (Learn more about federal Stafford loans on the Federal Student Aid website.)
Think about consolidating your federal loans
A Direct Consolidation Loan lets you combine multiple federal student loans into one loan.
There are pros and cons to consolidating. For example, consolidation will give you one monthly payment, but it might also cancel out some of the benefits of certain loans.
Before you consolidate, be sure to carefully consider whether it’s right for you. The official Federal Student Aid website can help you understand the ins and outs of loan consolidation.
Talk with your Student Loan Specialist
After you leave AIU, you will have access to a Student Loan Specialist who will stay in touch with you about the repayment of your student loans.
The specialist will provide you with information regarding grace periods, deferment, forbearance, and more. They’ll provide you with all the information necessary to set up a payment plan with your lender that suits your individual needs.
Classes Start January 31, 2018