At HUECU, we want to empower our members through the power of financial education. That’s why we recently launched our Ask the Experts series, where HUECU staff answers your questions via Zoom on a various financial topics.
Our inaugural webinar focused on Student Loans; our two experts Mel Martinez, Loan Servicing & Support Supervisor, and Tanya Tanaro, VP, Education & Consumer Lending, answered some of your most asked questions regarding Student Loans.
Here are their strategic tips to help you navigate Student Loans.
How do I pay for college?
Mel: A 529 college savings accounts, grants, and scholarships are free money for students. After exhausting those options, Mel recommended looking for private or federal student loans via FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Complete the FAFSA at studentaid.gov. In addition to loans, students can apply for Federal Work Study. You can apply for private student loans through lenders, such as banks credit unions, such as HUECU.
What is PSLF (Public Service Loan Forgiveness)?
Mel: A PSLF allows qualifying federal student loans to be forgiven after 120 qualifying payments made while working for a qualifying public service employer. Your specific job typically doesn't matter, for PSLF as long as the organization falls under the qualifying public service employer status.
Under PSLF, each year, for 10 years, you'll be required to submit an employment certification form with your education loan servicer directly.
There are other eligibility factors and details surrounding PSLF. If you think this is an option you may be eligible for or you just want more information visit studentaid.gov/PSLF
How can I pay off my loans faster?
Tanya: While students are enrolled in school, interest will accrue daily. Upon graduation, the interest capitalizes into your principal balance and becomes a part of the principal balance, and interest accrues.
Option one: The best way to reduce the overall cost is to make some form of payment while in school, including interest-only payments. If you have extra money set aside, make a lump sum payment occasionally. Even if it's a small amount, anything that you can pay towards your interest, while you're in school will make a significant impact.
Option two: refinance your loans, but take into consideration, that interest rates are increasing.
Option three: take advantage of all discounts. Most lenders offer a quarter percent interest rate reduction for enrolling in automatic payments it will significantly help you pay off your loans faster.
Option four: use the 10-year repayment plan if you are able to; paying off your loans sooners will reduce overall interest paid.
Option five: consider working for employers that offer student loan repayment benefits, if that fits into your professional and personal goals.
Some of the other questions that Tanya and Mel answered include:
- Are there any student loans that don’t require a cosigner?
- What options do parents have to combine their children’s student loans to pay them off faster?
- What’s the best way to consolidate loans and remove co-signer from original loan?
- What student loans are available for graduates/doctorate programs?