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Simplify your student loan debt

Bill Boyer

Issue date: 1/21/11 Section: News
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In 2009, the average student graduating from a four-year private university left school with over $27,000 in student loan debt. There are very few ways to get out of actually paying off student loans, including joining the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, some teaching programs, or the military, or by dying. But even declaring personal bankruptcy does not relieve you of this tremendous burden. Essentially, this means that your options are limited: saving the world, dying, or paying back the loans.

Assuming you have decided to pay off the debt, understanding the details of student loans will make the repayment process less overwhelming. There are three major types of federal loans you may have: Federal Perkins loans, Federal Subsidized Stafford loans, and Federal Unsubsidized Stafford loans. For each of these loans, there is a six-month grace period after graduating, during which you do not have to pay anything on subsidized loans and only have to pay interest on unsubsidized loans (the principal is the original amount you borrowed and interest is the cost of borrowing). There are also private loans, which will be discussed later.

The first major decision want to make upon graduating is if you are going to consolidate your loans. After you graduate, you will probably get flooded with letters offering to consolidate your student loans (you are only eligible to do this after you graduate). Consolidating your student loans means bundling all of your loans with a single lender and payment plan. This may lower your total monthly payment due, but will extend the terms of the loan and result in paying more interest in the long run. Despite the lengthened payment period, consolidation can still be very useful in some instances.

The decision of whether or not to consolidate is more difficult than in previous years due to higher interest rates. While there are many considerations, there are several specific items that are especially important (use to continue your research):
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Issue Summary


  • CWRU loses distinguished professor
  • Nell Irvin Painter comes to CWRU
  • Simplify your student loan debt
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  • Zeta Beta Tau fraternity moves into new home


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