College is an incredible experience. You make new friends. You explore new places. You learn how to write a seven-page research paper the night before it’s due.
But on a serious note, one thing you might not learn at college is how to manage and pay back the money you borrowed to pay for your education.
First things first
Those new to the student loan game should take a good, hard look at their loans at least 60 days before the first payment is due, said Donald Kerr, senior manager of student lending at AAA Northeast. It’s a good idea to learn what the interest rates are and how long it will take you to pay back the loans.
Understand payment options
Some lenders offer income based repayment plans or pay-as-you-earn plans. If those aren’t options for you and you think you could have trouble affording your monthly payments, now could be a good time to consider loan consolidation, Kerr said. In addition to lower monthly payments, loan consolidation can help you turn multiple loan payments into one easy-to-manage monthly payment.
Explore refinancing options
A borrower can renegotiate the terms of his or her student loans through a process called refinancing. That’s how AAA member Alyssa Pacheco of East Providence, R.I., recently secured lower interest rates on her student loans.
The Providence College graduate scheduled a consultation with Kerr at the AAA Providence location, where he explained the differences between federal and private loans as well as the consolidation and refinancing processes. “When I recently met with Don to do the actual consolidation and refinancing, we reviewed the options again to make sure I was comfortable,” Pacheco said. “This is a great perk of being a AAA member.” Refinancing can also help you lower your monthly payments.
AAA Northeast Bank offers a variety of student lending options. Call 888-422-2536 to talk to a AAA student lending specialist or visit AAA.com/StudentLending.