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How to manage student loans?

This is one of the biggest challenges for most students as few students are fortunate enough to be able to afford to pay for their tuition or have a benefactor to pay it on their behalf. The majority rely on taking out various student loans. These loans can feel crippling at times, hopefully we can show you just a few ways in which students can take control of their finances to create a plan for success.

How to manage student loans?

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Most loans only need to be repaid once you have graduated, it is very easy to forget about it until the time comes to repay it. We see this all too often and find that it can be overwhelming. Our best advice is to keep a level head and ensure that you have a plan on how you will pay off your loan once you have graduated.

So whether you need to start paying for your loan immediately or only once you have graduated, make sure that you have a plan in place.

Create a budget

It is important to have a clear picture of your monthly expenses and income to create a budget, this should include your potential loan repayments. You need to take into consideration whether you will be able to work part-time while you are at school, to enable you to repay your loan.

Understand your loan scheme and make it work for you

Understanding the interest rate, repayment rules and any other terms and conditions for your particular loan is vitally important. This will not only help you when setting up your budget but can help you manage the situation should you run into difficulties with repayments.

It can also help you to save money, by focusing on paying off the loans with the highest interest rate first or by being able to pay in more on months when you can afford it, this will help to reduce the amount of interest you pay over the course of your loan.

Emergency Fund

Try to budget in a small amount every month to put aside for an emergency fund. This can be useful should you have any unexpected expenses or setbacks.

If you are struggling to repay your loan, for whatever reason, here are a few options you can look at:

Change your repayment plan

Depending on your original payment plan, you can speak to your lender about extending the payment period, thereby lowering your monthly repayment. Alternatively, you can look at an income-based repayment plan or a pay as you earn or income-contingent payment plan. As a last resort you can ask to defer your payments, this will give you a few months grace while you are experiencing financial difficulties.

Consider consolidation

If you have multiple student loans, it may be beneficial to consolidate them, the advantage of this is having only one repayment, you may also be able to negotiate a better interest rate or a longer repayment term.

Set up an autopay

Late or missed payments could result in costly penalties and can negatively affect your credit record. By setting up an autopay system you ensure that your payments are made on time.

However, life doesn't always go as planned, and often we encounter difficulties. Should you find yourself in this position, the worst thing you can do is nothing, hopefully we have given you a number of solutions that can help you navigate this situation.

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