For those who graduated from college in May and took on student loans to cover expenses, December marks the time when the six-month grace period ends and repayment begins. It also is the time for cheer, milk and cookies to celebrate the holiday season so no one wants those two events to conflict with each other. Here at the NFCC we want to encourage you with all the talks of changes taking place and legislation that may be enacted in the coming months regarding student loans, here are some things you need to know so you can rest assured and enjoy your milk and cookies.
- Never send a student loan payment to anyone but your official servicer.
Be sure you are protecting yourself from scams. For example, a loan company that is charging you a fee to consolidate your loans into one is a scam. If you have a federal student loan, there are no fees whatsoever for student debt consolidation. There are many others so be sure to do your research.
- Never share your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID with anyone.
Sharing this information with anyone could put you at risk of identity theft so be sure to safeguard this number!
- Be wary of claims of a “new repayment program” or “new forgiveness option” unless it is officially announced by the US Department of Education.
There are many repayment options available, one being income-based repayment. This could be a great option for those working in lower income positions. This extends the loan repayment schedule from 10 years to 20 or 25 years so you may end up paying more in the long run but in some instances it could allow some of your student loan balance to be forgiven.
- Make sure you have a plan for long-term financial success.
Speak with an NFCC Certified Student Loan Counselor to help you formulate a plan that makes sense for you! Student loans are just part of a whole financial plan for success. Be sure you have set up a budget and are making smart financial decisions in all areas.
Our hope for you this season is that you can enjoy your milk and cookies and not have to worry about your student loans. Be sure to check with your servicer if you have not received any information about the end of your grace period. Be sure your contact information is up-to-date so that you receive all important correspondence. Rest in knowing, if you have any questions our NFCC Certified Student Loan Counselors are available to help!
By Courtney Nagle