With nearly 70% of students borrowing to help finance their schooling, taking out loans to pay for higher education has become the norm for 21st century college students. Yet as commonplace as borrowing has become, the process for repaying those loans remains complicated, confusing, and as overwhelming as ever. All too familiar are you with the stories of crippling debt, never ending payments, and feelings of regret for pursuing a degree.
The best thing you can do for yourself to avoid the worst case scenarios associated with student debt is to begin proactively preparing and planning for the repayment of your student loans. Being knowledgeable regarding the total cost of your program, the realistic return on your investment that a degree could get you, and what you'd need to bring in each month to afford your living expenses, meet your financial goals, and successfully make your payments each month can help you make informed decisions about borrowing as well as help you feel more confident as you navigate your student debt.
The following sections will introduce important terms used throughout the borrowing and repayment process, an overview of Federal Student Loan repayment options, considerations to make when selecting a repayment plan, debt management strategies, and next steps to take in the event you have difficulty making your payments.