Debt Management and Education

Once you've left or graduated from the university, you'll need to devise a financial plan that takes into account both your long-term goals and a repayment plan for your student loans. Some helpful tips to manage your debt:

  • Set goals and embrace discipline.
  • Create/revise a budget that accurately reflects your “wants” vs. “needs” and is realistic and affordable.
  • Keep records of income and expenses; review them monthly and adjust your behavior to build sound money management skills.
  • Work to build good credit, utilize money savings strategies and always pay your bills on time.
  • When taking personal loans, borrow only what you need and read the fine print.

It might help you to create a financial checklist. Make sure you know the following:

  • When your first loan payment is due
  • How much you will have to pay monthly/quarterly
  • How long you have to repay your loan
  • Your lender/guarantor/servicer(s) (you may have multiple loans with multiple servicers)
  • Who you should contact if you change your name, address, phone number or social security number
  • Where to send your payments
  • Who to contact if you cannot pay your monthly payments
  • What types of repayment options are available to you
  • Student loans are not discharged in bankruptcy
  • Bad credit will stay on your credit report for 7 years
  • Good credit will stay on your credit report for 10 years
  • Low credit score = higher interest rates

The following websites are useful resources as you plan and track your progress.

Annualcreditreport.com (free copy of credit report)
CreditFairy.org (credit education)
Navigating Your Financial Future (comprehensive debt management tools)
You Can Deal With It (managing debt in the future)

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