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Seven Tips for Repaying Your Student Loans

For recent college graduates, student loan payments come up fast. Six months is shorter than most graduates realize. Prepare yourself for payments, and take a look at the U.S. News and World Report’s seven tips for repaying your student loans.

  • Repay you student loans automatically. Make things easy by setting up automatic withdrawals from your bank account so you don’t miss a payment.
  • Aim for 10 years. The traditional repayment period for student loans is 10 years and ideally that is enough time to pay off your debt. If you end up struggling with your monthly payments, you can stretch out your loans to 20 or even 30 years. Your monthly payments will become more manageable but you will paying a lot more in interest.
  • Stay organized. Having multiple student loans is hard to keep track of but with the government's National Student Loan Data System, you can keep track of your federal student loans in one place.
  • Pay off the loans with the highest interest rates first. A high interest rate costs you every month and compounds for every month you don’t pay off the entire balance.
  • Consider IBR. The IBR is a federal Income-Based Repayment program that allows a borrower to repay federal loans based on what is affordable for their income, not what is owed.
  • Keep up-to-date on student loan developments. Staying informed is just as important as making your payments. Familiarize yourself with websites that are devoted to college debt issues like Project on Student Debt and the National Consumer Law Center's Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project.
  • Contact the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman. Sometimes your relationship with a lender can go belly-up. If you end up in a dispute, the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman can help resolve the issue.

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Last Reviewed: October 2017