A student loan provides funds to pay for your education. It is a financial obligation just like any other debt you incur. Even if you do not complete school, are not employed in your degree field, or were not satisfied with your education experience, you are responsible for repaying the loan in full. Managing your finances and preparing for post-graduate life can help you successfully repay your education loans.
The following steps will help you keep loan costs as low as possible:
Develop a budget
Begin by estimating both your salary and your living expenses.
Borrow only what you need
Don't take out the maximum loan amounts unless that is necessary to meet the costs of your education. Borrowing less today means less to pay back tomorrow.
Research your post-graduate income
Explore the average salaries for entry-level positions you may be interested in applying for once you graduate. Even if you aren't sure where you will be in four years, a basic understanding of a post-graduate incomes and cost of living expenses can help ensure you will be able to meet your monthly loan payments.
Understand your credit rating
Your credit history says a lot about you. It demonstrates whether you have paid your bills as agreed or whether you have a history of falling behind on meeting your debt obligations. Establishing a positive credit report can help you qualify for lower interest rates, get approved for an apartment, and even acquire a higher-paying job.
Keep all of your loan documents in one place. Review your documents to make sure you understand your financial obligations.
Know when interest is accruing
Consider making interest payments on unsubsidized loans while you're in school and during your grace period to reduce your total costs. Interest that is not paid during an in-school or deferment period will be capitalized, or added, to your loan balance at the end. This means your total loan costs will be higher.
Pay on Time
Paying your loan on time helps you maintain good credit and reduce interest costs, and you may qualify for cost reductions, if applicable.
Paying some, or all, of the loan early reduces the balance resulting in less interest over the life of the loan. You can always pay more than the scheduled monthly payment due. There is never a prepayment penalty on ACPE loans. We offer a variety of ways to submit your monthly student loan payments so you can choose the payment method that is most convenient for you.
Make payments in non-payment status
Making payments even while in a non-payment status can save you money over the term of your loan. If pre-paying or making a payment while in a non-payment status, always consider paying your highest-interest rate loans first.