It’s All About Repayment, ‘Bout Repayment. No Default.

It’s All About Repayment, ‘Bout Repayment. No Default.

Thanks to Jill Robertson’s timely blog post from last month, I know that every one of you stayed calm, cool and relaxed through the hectic start of a new year. No one failed to breathe, we all leaned on a colleague (likely more than said colleague would have preferred) and there was surely plenty of out loud laughter – much of it may have even been with someone and not just at! On the heels of Jill’s exhortations to stay stress free, I’ve got another dose of tips to share!

Now that many of us have successfully launched into yet another school year and the dust has begun to settle, we have time to sit and prepare for what’s next on the horizon. Summer is nearly over and with the cooling weather and the coming equinox, Autumn will bring her warm seasonal tones cascading down the Rocky Mountains. What’s that I smell on the evening breeze? Is it a hint of pumpkin spice? What’s that faint rumble in the distance? It could be the sound of ten thousand mustached millennials gleefully unpacking their flannels at the sight of the first changing leaves. Though it’s only September, I can sense Target and Wal-Mart preparing to unleash their Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas commercials and decorations all at once. Fall is almost upon us and all these signs point to one inevitable conclusion: it’s time for Spring graduates to start thinking about paying off student loans!

Now loan repayment may not be EVERYONE’S first thought when Fall arrives. There are plenty of other super important things to think about (e.g. Broncos football and knitting sweaters) and a few other pesky details to consider (e.g. FISAP, GE and the good old impacts of government sequestration). For me, however, there is something about freshly fallen leaves and a mug o’ hot cider that warms my soul and brings monthly payments and interest rates to mind and I’m sure anyone else with a student loan in a grace period feels the same way.

The changing season makes everything just a little more exciting, so the enthusiasm I felt when I came across this article titled “10 Tips for Zapping Student Loan Debt” may have gotten just a touch out of hand. The article is a few years old, but it’s got some timeless tidbits. In it you’ll find some great talking points for staff to use when helping recent (or prospective) grads through the loan repayment process. I don’t want to ruin the whole article for you by revealing all 10 juicy tips, but below are a couple I get really pumped up about.

1. “Don’tfreak out,advises The Project on Student Debt.  If those loans are a huge pain because of unemployment, health problems or other unexpected financial issues, you have options to delay payments until you get back on your feet. A deferment or forbearance might be right for you, but consult your lender and make sure you understand the terms of postponing your payments.

Keep in mind that interest accrues on all types of loans during forbearances, and on some types of loans during deferment, which increases your total debt. If you can afford it, consider making interest-only payments.”

9. “Check out whether you qualify for income-based repayment(IBR).If your federal student loan debt is high relative to your income, income-based repayment could help alleviate the pressure of repayment. If your total student loan payments for the year are higher than 15 percent of your annual income, you can have your loan spread out further and your monthly payments lowered.
Now that I’ve got everyone worked up for more incredible loan repayment tidbits, you can clickhereto go read the whole article! Thanks, Meg Handley andBrazen Life,for enlightening us and giving us yet another reason to love the Fall! Now let’s all go out and get some students ready to pay back some loans!

Michael Murphy

CAFAA Private Sector Representative

Director of Financial Aid

Denver Seminary