Recently, I had the chance to reunite with an old college friend. After several conversations, the subject of student loans manifested. He had several envelopes from Sallie Mae that he had not opened. You would have thought these envelopes contained anthrax! I guess he figured if he did not open the mail, his student loan problems would disappear. I encouraged him to contact his loan provider and request assistance. After making contact, he learned that he qualified for a deferment.
I called his situation the Big “O”.
The Big “O”. It refers to people walking around without any knowledge, you know – sort of like an egg without yolk. In college, my business professor would draw an “O” on the board each class and swear people were suffering with the Big “O” (oblivion). Whether you have graduated or are still enrolled in college, there are a few things you need to know regarding your student loans.
Contact Your Loan Provider
If your student loans are delinquent or defaulted, you have options. First, contact your loan provider. If you do not have your loan provider’s contact information, visit nslds.ed.gov. This site will provide you with information necessary to obtain a listing of all your current loan providers.
Explore Your Options
Whether you have stumbled on hard times, lost a job, or found yourself in too much of a financial mess to pay your student loans, you have a few options. These options include a reduction in monthly payments, a forbearance or deferment. Both a deferment and a forbearance allows you to suspend your payments for a period of time. However, a deferment may be a cheaper option. Depending on the type of loan you have, the government will pay interest accrued while your loans are in deferment status. For more information, contact your loan provider.
Obtain Free Money to Pay Your Student Loans
Next, if you are a teacher, nurse or lawyer there are loan forgiveness programs designed to wipe out all or part of your student loans. For more information on forgiveness of student loans, visit http://www.studentaid.gov. Also, you may want to consider volunteering to get rid of your student loans. More information on the Americorps program can be found at http://www.americorps.gov.
Lastly, the Upromise program is another great way to attack student loan debt. Upromise is a program that helps students to earn rewards on everyday purchases. Amounts earned are transferred to pay down student loans. For more information, go to http://www.upromise.com.
Keep in mind, if you ignore your loans, you are only creating a bigger problem for you to handle down the line. So stop walking around with the Big “O” concerning your student loans!
Remember, Your choice, Your future!