If your son or daughter has graduated college, you probably are hearing about the plans they have for their next stage, like buying a home, getting married or doing some traveling. But you may also pick up on some anxiety they have over paying back their student loans.
Life with student loan debt can be stressful. Graduates must come to terms with the fact that college loan payments will be with them for years. And those payments may interfere with their plans to save money and afford their dreams like moving out on their own.
How You Can Help
1. Request a better repayment plan on federal loans
If your son or daughter has any federal loans, their payments are automatically based on a standard 10-year repayment plan. However, they can apply to extend their repayment plan to lower their monthly payments. They can also apply for a repayment plan based upon their income and family size with a repayment period between 20 and 25 years. You can learn more about these options on the Federal Student Aid website.
2. Refinance both federal and private student loans
Many graduates who get started on careers can refinance to consolidate all their college loans into one new loan with one manageable monthly payment. By doing so, they may get a lower interest rate, too, which will help them save more money and could make it easier to pay off that debt faster. Refinancing student loans can make managing finances less overwhelming for your son or daughter. You can learn more with our free online guide about refinancing student loans.
Benefits From a Student Loan Refinance
Here are four good reasons your graduate should refinance his or her student loans. Student loan consolidation through refinancing can:
1. Lower the interest rate to save money on the overall repayment of your graduate’s loan
2.Reduce monthly payments so your graduate will have more cash each month
3. Shorten the repayment term so your graduate can get out of college loan debt sooner4. Release a cosigner who agreed to share the responsibility of paying the loan if your son or daughter could not make payments
When It Makes Sense to Refinance
Your son or daughter may be in a good position to refinance their student loans if they have:
- Graduated with a degree
- A student loan balance of $5,000 or more
- A steady source of income or a firm job offer
- A credit score of 660 (for a refinance without a cosigner) or 640 (with a cosigner with a score of 660 or better)
If your son or daughter doesn’t know their credit score, here’s how to help: Direct them to AnnualCreditReport.com or call (877) 322-8228. They can receive a free copy of their credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®. Everyone is entitled to one free credit report each year.
What to Watch Out for Regarding Potential Loan Refinancing Scams
More graduates than ever are managing student loan debt, which means there are plenty of scams organized to cash in on graduates’ anxiety over debt. These illegitimate organizations use official-looking websites and make offers of immediate debt relief or student loan forgiveness, which just are not possible. Warn your son or daughter of these red flags that indicate a student loan refinancing offer is a scam:
- Application fees
- Payment up front
- Promises of buying the loan and settling for a set amount or getting the loan forgiven
We can help you help your college grad better manage student loan repayment. Not a member of USC Credit Union? Not a problem. If you live, work, worship or go to school in the city of Los Angeles or Orange County, you are eligible for membership.