It's Payback Time

Set yourself up for student loan success with these 7 tips

A recent college grad figures out a plan for student loan repayment with the help of UW Credit Union

When you embarked on this college adventure, you likely felt relieved that student loans would make it possible for you to achieve your goal of higher education. With graduation on the horizon, you may be feeling anxious as reality sinks in that you’ll need to start paying back the money you borrowed.

Take some deep breaths. We’ll help you get a gameplan going to tackle your student loan debt.

Understand your terms + types

First off, get clear on:

  • what type of student loan you have (federal vs. private)
  • who your lender is
  • what their terms are for your loan and its payback

This is a good time to lean on your:

  • student financial aid office
  • lender
  • financial institution (yes, even if they’re not your loan lender)

Don’t worry about asking multiple questions multiple times. This subject can be complicated and it’s in everyone’s best interest to make sure you understand all the details.

At UW Credit Union, you can ask a student loan expert anything by completing a quick form online.

Know your grace period

Most student loans offer a six-month grace period after graduation, but this is not always the case. Find out the grace period on your loan.

Also, watch for interest, which may continue to accrue during this grace period.

If you can, we recommend you still pay some amount towards your loan during your grace period to reduce the amount of interest you pay overall.

Decide on a repayment plan

There are several different types of repayment plans depending on your needs:

  • standard repayment
  • graduated repayment
  • extended repayment
  • income-driven repayment

Not sure which one is the best fit for you? Talk with our student loan experts — they’ll guide you on the right path.

Be interested in interest

Interest adds up. Be very aware of how interest works on your loan.

Is there capitalization, where any unpaid interest that has accrued during your loan is added to your principal balance? (The principal balance being the original amount of money you borrowed.)

Have interest rates changed? Maybe it’s a good time to consider refinancing. You might be surprised at all the reasons to refinance.

Can you make larger payments than your minimum? Drawing down your loan balance quicker will help save you interest payments in the long run. Play around with this student loan calculator — plug in different scenarios to see what’s possible.

Anytime you can save on interest, take advantage of it!

Don’t forget about that credit score

Don’t let your credit score slide because of your student loans.

If you’re worried about affording your monthly payments, talk to us about a payment plan or refinancing options.

Follow these two hot tips

  1. Set up automatic payments for your loan. Avoid the risk of falling behind (and hurting your credit) by setting up autopay for your monthly loan payment. Your lender may even offer a rate discount for doing so.
  2. Pay more than the minimum. Whenever you can, pay more. You’ll shorten the amount of time you’ll be paying back your loan (and decrease your interest). It doesn’t sound fun now, but it will guarantee fun sooner than later.

You’ve made it through rigorous coursework, all-nighters and cringeworthy group projects. You have what it takes to make a success story out of your student loans.

UW Credit Union is a financially strong institution, committed to providing financial education and supporting our members and communities in building their financial well-being. We offer free learning seminars, confidential credit consultations and, through our partnership with Banzai, an impressive catalog of financial education resources.

Here for Every You.

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