5. Update your enrollment in automatic payments

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28 Ιανουαρίου 2022

Prior to the pandemic, it might have been easier to just set up autopay for your student loan debt so you wouldn’t have to think about manually sending payments each month. But there are some circumstances where automatic monthly payments may no longer suit you.

For example, maybe you previously had a steady paycheck each month so you were able to automatically pay the same amount every time – but now, your income varies from month to month, and the amount you can afford to pay toward your loans will be different each time. Or maybe you can no longer afford your monthly payments at all. In these cases, it’s crucial to remember to remove yourself from your autopay settings so payments you can’t afford aren’t taken out of your account.

If you turned autopay off while loans were on hold and can afford your payments, you should remember to turn this setting back on so you don’t accidentally miss your first payment.

6. Reach out to your loan servicer if you’re unable to make payments

«Reach out to your servicer and have that conversation [now], so you know what your options are,» Lambert-Terry says. «If, for example, you’re currently unemployed, one option you may have is unemployment deferment. This lets you postpone your loan payments for up to another 36 months.»

7. Make any necessary adjustments to the repayment plan you’re enrolled in

«There are different types of repayment plans, and there are options for each of those when it comes to getting you into a payment program you can actually afford,» Lambert-Terry says.

The first plan is a standard repayment plan, where your payments are broken up into fixed, even monthly amounts until the loan is paid off in about 10 years.

The second plan is a graduated repayment plan. With this option, your monthly payments start off low and gradually increase approximately every two years to help you pay off your loan within about 10 years.

The third plan is an extended repayment plan, which gives you the option to make fixed or graduated payments over the course of 25 years instead of 10 (keep in mind, though, that to qualify for this plan you’ll need to have a loan balance of more than $30,000).

The website outlines five additional repayment plans, which you can refer to when speaking to your loan servicer about which option may be best for you.

8. Consider federal consolidation programs if needed

«If you have multiple loans and want to get it down to one single payment, there are federal consolidation programs available,» she says. «So if you have graduate loans and undergraduate loans, you can do a consolidation federally, and it will lower your monthly payment and extend your term, and you won’t have a prepayment fee for paying off the loan early.»

9. Consider refinancing your federal loans for a lower interest rate

Once payments resume, the interest rate you paid on your loans prior to the pandemic will be the interest rate you continue to pay. For some people, high interest charges can make it difficult to feel like they’re making progress toward paying down their balance.

Refinancing allows you to swap your current loan for a new loan with a lower interest ratepanies like SoFi and Earnest americashpaydayloan.com/title-loans-il/ have options for those who are interested in refinancing their loans.

While your monthly payments might be lower, when you refinance, your federal student loan becomes a private loan, and you won’t be entitled to any of the same protections you get with federal student loans. For example, federal borrowing allows you to request payment pause periods for a multitude of circumstances, including beginning graduate school and being unemployed; with private loans, though, you must continue making payments under these circumstances.

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