Are you struggling to keep up with your multiple student loans? You’re not alone. One of most borrower’s biggest headaches is tracking their repayment schedules. And that’s understandable.
Between federal and private student loans, subsidized and unsubsidized loans, graduate and undergraduate loans, and others, it’s easy to forget what you owe to which lender. And let’s not even add the different monthly deadlines you have to meet.
When you get confused with your student loans, it can have its consequences. First, it’s more likely that you’ll fall behind in your payments, and that’s where it can get messy if you don’t get assistance fast.
Let’s take a look at various options and try to find out how to repay your multiple student loans. Let’s begin.
Best Ways To Pay Off Your Multiple Student Loans
Do we have a “best way” to clear off multiple loans? No. No one solution solves every borrower’s problem. Use the strategy in this guide that works for you, and if you need assistance, don’t hesitate to seek one. It can help you immensely.
1. Begin By Taking Inventory
Before you start everything, you need to get rid of any confusion surrounding your student debt. You do that by writing down all your student loans, together with their loan lenders. Don’t forget to include your repayment plan, balance, monthly payment, and interest rate.
Make sure you jot down whether each debt is a federal or private loan. It’s also good to have all your login details for all your online accounts. That way, it can be easy to check your statements, and make additional payments, if you want to pay down your debts faster.
If you take the inventory, you can know what you’re working with precisely. From there, you can come up with a plan to manage your student loans.
2. Prioritize Your Private Student Loan Repayments
If you don’t know which student loans to take care of first, go for the one that’s in danger of getting into default. One sure way to mess up your credit scores for years is to miss payments, so you should avoid it at all costs.
But let’s say that you keep you with your minimum payments on all your multiple loans. If so, you can prioritize some student loans over others. The term “prioritize” here means choosing the loan which will get any extra payments.
There are different ways to pay off several students, and it varies for every borrower. But the one best way is to focus on private student loans rather than federal ones.
Yes. Federal student loans come with benefits like Public Service Loan Forgiveness, income-driven repayment, and several others. But private loan lenders are usually not that flexible.
Miss two or three months of payments, and you can get into default on your private loans. You then get reported to the credit bureaus while federal loans would have taken about nine months. So it’s best to keep up with your private loan payments to avoid a financial nightmare.
Private Loans Comes With Higher Interest Rates
Typically, private loans come with higher interests compared to federal student loans. And you may have to share your loans with a cosigner.
But if you can make extra payments on your private loans, you can get out of debt quicker and make your cosigner relaxed and happy. Plus, you get to save money on interest too.
3. Next, Focus On Your Federal Loans
Just because you should prioritize your private student loans doesn’t mean you forget about your federal loans. It simply means you need to develop a strategy to make extra payments on one or any of your federal loans. (Of course, that should be after you’ve cleared off your private student loans.
You should first consider targeting unsubsidized federal loans. That’s because the interest starts accruing right from the disbursement date. You can focus on subsidized loans after because it doesn’t accrue any interest until the repayment begins.
Direct Consolidation Loan Could Help
If you feel overwhelmed with the multiple student loans, you can consider combining them into one direct consolidation loan. Now, you won’t save any money on interest, but it can make the repayment easier for you.
Either way, make sure you take your time to choose a repayment plan for your federal student loans. A standard 10-year repayment plan typically offers the quickest student loan repayments.
But if you’re struggling with the repayments, you can work towards a student loan forgiveness under the PSLF if you’re enrolled on an income-driven repayment plan. When you do that, your remaining loan balance can be forgiven after making 120 qualifying payments (or ten years) instead of 20 or 25 years.
Student loans can be challenging to manage, and figuring out how to clear off multiple loans can take time. But it’s always easier if you start with a plan. So make sure you keep up with your minimum payments. That way, you don’t get into default.
First, focus on private student loans, then continue your minimum payments on your federal loans. And choose a repayment plan that works for you. You can also consider refinancing that offers better interest rates.