Student Loan Horror Story: What is really haunting students this Halloween?

By Catalina Benavides

Student loans are the real monsters terrorizing present students and graduated students. According to Forbes magazine, student loan debt has amounted to $1.52 trillion. And how many students are terrorized by this monster? 44.2 million Americans. Student loans are not the kind of monsters  that only terrorize us in nightmares, but they’re monsters that instill fears in us daily. Student loans affect every financial decision we make. Many students are not able to buy cars on their own or even move out from their parent’s homes until they’re in their late twenties. Aside from the loans, the interest on the loans haunts students even more. Interest feeds the monster and makes it more terrifying and intimidating.  
For example:
If a student has a student loan balance of $39,400 with a 5.05% interest rate and a $419 monthly payment, they’d pay over $10,500 in interest fees over 10 years. In total, they’d pay back more than $50,000 worth of loans.
  1. Kill the monster before it kills you
So what are some ways you can confront this monster under your bed? One way is to try to start to pay off your loans earlier. In some cases, loan borrowers may offer a lower interest rate if you start to pay the loan off before graduating. Every student has a loan company, some examples are Great Lakes or Navient, and they are in charge of the loans you borrowed from the government. Log on to the National Student Loan Data System and use your FSA ID. On this website, you will see the breakdown of your student loans by amount, and if you select the number icon to the left, the name and contact information of the loan company will appear. Once you have collected that information, you can call them or check out their website to find out what steps to take to start paying off your loans. You can set a monthly amount to pay depending on what you can afford. Every amount counts, so even if you can only pay $100 each month at the end of the year, that is $1,200 less of your student loan.
  1. Prepare for battle
A second way to decrease the potential costs of student loans can be made while in school. There are a variety of work study programs that are available to students. Work study allows students to work part time for the college they attend. Jobs range from working at one of the food places on campus to working for one of the office on campus. The variety of jobs allow for you to also select one that captures your interest and could serve as a place to learn more about a  future career as well. Working on campus also allows students to network and meet different professionals on campus which may help you later on in your college career to land an internship, letter of recommendation or even an entry level job. Work study is a great option because it is flexible and allows students to work hours they have free while also balancing classes and extracurricular activities. Even if the student can only work a few hours a week, every bit of money counts towards bringing down that loan balance.
  1. Plan of Attack
A final way to battle the monsters of student loans is to create a personal budget. There are printable sheets online that break down the main categories that students spend on. Some categories include food, personal expenses, bills and transportation. By using these sheets, on either a weekly or monthly basis, you can track your spending better and focus on allocating money on paying your loans instead of purchasing unnecessary luxuries. There are multiple phone apps that you can download. Some popular ones are “Albert,” “Daily Budget,” and “Mint.”  These apps can organize expenses and send reminders when you’re overspending, which is great because it instills that sense of accountability over time.
Some students are faced not with issues on how to make or spend money because that’s the easy part; the challenging part is learning how to responsibly save and spend money. The issue some students face are not on how to make or spend money, but to learn how to responsibly save and spend money.) You can take all these steps in order to gain control of your loans and the direction of your life. Don’t let these monsters terrorize you forever.
*Part two on how to create a budget plan out on Nov. 12



November 1, 2018 at 3:35 pm

Excellent 👏🏻👏🏻

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October 31, 2018