The amount of student loan debt in America is astounding. The total exceeds $1.3 trillion. There are over 7 million debtors who are in default. If you took all the Americans who have student loans in default the population would exceed that of thirty-nine states. The average amount of student loan debt for a graduate is $30,100. If you are one of the many individuals who owe student loans there are a number of steps you can take to begin repayment.
First, you need to find out how many loans you actually owe. Surprisingly this is not easy for many individuals. Don’t be embarrassed if you are not sure how many loans you have or how much is owed. When borrowers take out loans as students they often neglect to keep track of what they are borrowing. It isn’t until repayment begins when they realize how much debt they have.
A good place to start to get an idea of your outstanding loans is the National Student Loan Database. You can visit www.nslds.ed.gov or call 800-433-3243. You should also collect any monthly account statements you receive. You can also pull a credit report to see what loans are being reported. You can get a free credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com
Next, you should determine whether your loans are available for repayment options. If your loans are private your repayment options are limited. In such cases your best bet is to contact the student loan servicer and inquire as to what payment arrangements are available.
If your student loans are federal you have more options regarding repayment. One program is the Income-Based Repayment (IBR). You can apply for this program through your student loan servicer. You can also request deferment or forbearance through your student loan servicer. A couple websites that provide information include www.IBRinfo.org and www.studentaid.ed.gov
The best thing you can do is to start early at looking at repayment options. The longer you wait the more likely interest will accrue and repayment becomes more difficult.