There are few moments that garner more pride than one’s college graduation. You worked extremely hard to earn your degree and you probably had plenty of moments when you doubted yourself. However, unlike your high school graduation, you probably have a hefty sum of student loans to pay off. Depending on the amount of your loans, you may be left with so much debt that it seems impossible to predict how many years it will take to pay off. Either way, the last thing you want to do is ignore this debt and assume you’ll figure it out eventually. Instead, you want to do some research and figure out what you can do now. Here is some student loan advice for recent college grads.
Find Employment Immediately
The first thing you need to do is put all of your efforts into finding a good job. The higher the pay, the faster you’ll be able to pay off your student loans. Of course, you’ll want to approach finding a job as though it is your current full-time job. You’ll want to get references and letters of recommendation from professors, go to college career fairs, create profiles on all the job hunting websites, etc. If you can’t find a high paying job that is related to your major, then you are going to need to find a lower paying job (or two) in the meantime. Whatever you do, don’t spend too much time being unemployed.
Find Out if You Qualify for Loan Forgiveness
Depending on the type of loans you received, you may qualify for some kind of loan forgiveness. This is usually the case with federal loans, but it’s very rare to find this with private loans. If you do qualify for loan forgiveness, there are usually a number of different ways that you can go about earning it. This may require you to teach or volunteer with lower income communities, it may require you to join the peace corps, or you may even want to consider enlisting in the military. These options may seem extreme to some, but if you want to get the giant monkey of crippling debt off your back, it may be well worth it.
It’s easy to accept the fact that you don’t have much money when you’re in college. In most cases, the majority of your friends won’t have much money either, so it will be easy to accept. However, once you graduate and start earning your own money, you will be anxious to start spending and indulging some of your vices. Unfortunately, though, if you have student loans to pay off, you’re going to want to hold off on living the high life until you get yourself out of debt. You should always be paying as much as you can each month and embracing austerity until you’re out of the red.
Consider Consolidating Your Debt
If you earned an expensive degree, like UNE’s masters in social work and it clearly doesn’t lead to a high paying career, then you might want to look into consolidating your debt. A debt consolidator will pay all of your bills for you, and you will have just one person to pay each month, so that you don’t have to keep track of so many bills.