How to Conquer Student Loan Debt

The average four-year college graduate typically leaves campus with at least $23,000 of student loan debt according to FinAid. Combined with the difficult job market and average starting salary for a recent graduate with a bachelor degree of just $40,000, overcoming student loan debt may seem impossible. Telhio offers the following tips to help recent grads effectively navigate their student loan debt.

  • Know your loans and your grace period.  It is important to keep track of the lender, balance, and repayment status of each of your student loans. Different loans have different grace periods, or how long after leaving school before you have to make your first payment.
  • Pick the right repayment option.  When your federal loans come due, your loan payments will automatically be based on a standard 10-year repayment plan.  If the standard plan is going to be hard for you to manage, work with your lender to find an alternative plan.
  • Remember that you have options.  If you are having trouble making payments, don't panic. Whether it is due to unemployment, health problems, or going back to school, there are legitimate ways to postpone your federal loans.
  • Stay out of trouble!  Ignoring your student loans has serious consequences that can last a lifetime.  Not paying can lead to delinquency and default, which can dramatically impact your ability to acquire loans later in life.
  • Lower your principal if you can.  When you make a loan payment, it covers any late fees first, then interest, and finally the principal.  If you can afford to pay more than your required monthly payment, you can lower your principal, which will reduce the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan.
  • Payoff the most expensive loan first.  If you are considering paying off or paying down one or more of your loans ahead of schedule, or trying to reduce the principal, start with the one that has the highest interest rate.
  • Loan forgiveness.  These are various programs that will forgive all or some of your federal student loans if you work in certain fields.  Public servants, teachers, nurses, and AmeriCorps and Peace Corps volunteers are all loan forgiveness career opportunities. has more information about loan forgiveness.


*Tips provided by the Project on Student Debt
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