Sadly, if you decide to pursue higher education in the United States, chances are that you are unable to do so without taking out a student loan. College students all over the nation depend on loans to help them pay for their education and support them while they’re studying. According to CNBC, over 70% of students have a significant amount of debt when they graduate, and that collectively, over 44 million Americans owe over $1.5 trillion in student loans alone.
People blindly apply for student loans for many reasons - 1) they have no other option in paying for their education, and 2) the loan isn’t expected to be repaid until after they graduate, when it’s assumed they’ve secured a job. It can be an enormous burden for people as the average amount borrowed per student is approximately $37,172. This amount is equivalent to a sizable down payment on a new home, a brand new car, a wedding, or the startup costs of a business. Fortunately, there are ways you can lower your student loan payments legally so that you can still afford to live once you've secured your job:
A pay-as-you-earn payment plan, or PAYE, utilizes the concept that student loan payments correlate with a percentage of a graduate’s discretionary income - usually 10%. This option makes your monthly payments more affordable as there are many advantages to PAYE. One, when you initially graduate and began working you will receive a starting salary and your monthly payments will be lowered to reflect that. Then, as your income grows, your monthly payments will increase proportionately. Since any remaining balance after 20 years is usually forgiven, a portion of your debt will not have to be paid.
Slightly different than a pay-as-you-earn payment plan, an income-based-repayment plan focuses more on what you earn and not what you owe. It uses a sliding scale which is tied to your income to make payments more affordable. The concept is similar, but meeting the eligibility requirements for an IBR plan is much easier than those of a PAYE plan.
Refinancing your student loan depends on several factors, mostly, your annual income and your credit score. Financial institutions may take into account your earning potential and offer you a lower interest rate; a low interest rate could significantly reduce your monthly payment as well as what you pay for your entire loan overall.
If you have student loans from multiple institutions, it is a smart move to consolidate your students loans into one loan as this can lower your monthly payment as well.
Keep in mind that interest can fluctuate and that you should check rates and other variables at several different financial institutions before making a decision. Also remember to confirm whether your annual percentage rate (APR) is fixed or variable - you don’t want to end up paying a lower monthly payment but for a longer period of time. If you’re have trouble refinancing your student loans, having a co-signer could help tremendously.
If paying the monthly payment for your student loan is proving to be much more difficult than you anticipate, you may want to take see if you qualify to receive forgiveness for a part, and in some cases all, of your loan balance. There are several forgiveness programs available through schools, non-profit organizations, and public service agencies.
Many times, students loans are forgiven in exchange for volunteer work, work in a particular occupation, or if you join the military. Examples include teaching or practicing medicine in a rural community in exchange for a portion of your debt being paid off. The Army and the Navy usually forgive a fixed percentage of student debt for each year of service.
All of the options we’ve listed offer graduates relief from their debt repayment burdens until they establish their career and take off. No matter how much you owe, having a degree from a reputable institution is still the most reliable investment in your future career and income. Student debt should in no way put you off attending college altogether. Just know that no matter how big your loan, there’s always a way to keep your head above water.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/ways-to-lower-student-loan-payments_n_5af2165ce4b0aab8a789f1a7, https://studentloanhero.com/featured/how-to-lower-student-loan-payments-10-ways/, https://thecollegeinvestor.com/18246/5-legal-ways-to-lower-your-student-loan-payment/