Friday, May 25, 2018
Business

Beginners guide to repaying student loans

Too many people, including plenty of brand-new college graduates, fall far behind on their student loan payments for no good reason. How many? The Federal Reserve Bank of New York determined that 35 percent of people under 30 who were supposed to be making student loan payments were actually 90 or more days delinquent. One big reason it's happening is the fact that many among the indebted simply aren't sure how many loans they have, how and when to pay them back correctly and how to find and use programs for people who can't afford the full payments. What follows is a basic guide for rookie student-loan debtors.

What you owe

Many students have a few different types of loans and get new ones each year during the rush to get the bursar's approval to register for classes.

So repayment needs to begin with an accounting of every individual loan. Start with whatever is in your files. Then check to see whether you're aware of all of your federal student loans. Borrowers can use the National Student Loan Data System website (nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/)to get the details.

One critical piece of information you need: Who is the so-called servicer that will collect your payments each month on behalf of the federal government? You may have more than one, and you'll want to know how to contact them to ask any questions you may have about your payments.

Author Reyna Gobel suggests starting a simple spreadsheet to track every loan. For people who need to track down all of their private loans from nongovernment lenders, she suggests they get copies from annualcreditreport.com of all three of their credit reports. The Institute for College Access and Success publishes an omnibus repayment guide on its site (go to tbtim.es/3nq).

When and to whom

The first payments on your loans may be due at different times. Some federal loans give you a six-month grace period after you graduate while others give you nine months. With private loans, it varies.

Assume that servicers will fail to find you and give you clear repayment instructions before the first payment is due. If you've moved or changed your email address since you took out your first loan and haven't told the servicers about it, be especially vigilant.

Having the servicer pull the monthly payment from your checking account automatically can spare you some effort and risk, but that works only for people with regular sources of income who won't run out of funds.

Taking longer

The normal repayment period for federal student loans is 10 years. But depending on the loan and the balance, you may be able to lower your monthly payments by taking as long as 30 years to pay them off.

There are several ways to do this. One is through something called extended payment (go to tbtim.es/3nr). Loan consolidation (tbtim.es/3ns) is yet another possibility. The big downside to taking more than a decade to pay is that the total interest costs can be much higher. The Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project of the National Consumer Law Center has an extensive guide to loan consolidation on its website (tbtim.es/3nt).

Income-driven repayment

There are several government programs that set payments on federal student loans based on how much money you make. You can see a list of them on the right side of the Department of Education's main income-based repayment web page (tbtim.es/3nu).

To see what your payment might be under the plans, visit its repayment estimator page. Your servicer will determine whether your income is low enough to make you eligible.

The income-driven payments may cause you to spend more on interest over time than you might have otherwise. Under certain circumstances, the federal government may eventually forgive the debt after a number of years as well.

If you're confused or having trouble making payments, talk to your servicer.

Comments
Is the Lightning’s Jeff Vinik the best owner in professional sports?

Is the Lightning’s Jeff Vinik the best owner in professional sports?

Hope of another Stanley Cup has dissolved, and soon the ice will follow. Yet even if sorrow is the price of devotion, the true hockey fans will still buy in when the next season comes around.That concept may not be unique to Tampa Bay, but it does se...
Published: 05/26/18
Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Five members of 69ers motorcycle gang indicted on federal charges

Last year three members of the 69ers Motorcycle Club gang were implicated in the execution of a rival gang leader in the middle of rush hour traffic in Pasco County.Now those three and two other 69ers members have been indicted on federal charges tha...
Published: 05/25/18
With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

With makeover, ZooTampa at Lowry Park takes a page from the theme parks

TAMPA — Behind the construction walls near the carousel at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, hammers, saws and power drills made a racket in the blazing Friday heat. A raft full of 100-pound water jugs took test trips on the new Roaring Springs ride set ...
Published: 05/25/18
U.S. news outlets block European readers over new privacy rules

U.S. news outlets block European readers over new privacy rules

LONDON — U.S. news outlets including The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Orlando Sentinel and The Arizona Daily Star abruptly blocked access to their websites from Europe on Friday, choosing to black out readers rather than comply with a ...
Published: 05/25/18
Tampa Electric appeals OSHA findings for October accident

Tampa Electric appeals OSHA findings for October accident

TAMPA — Tampa Electric Co. is appealing a recent citation by federal regulators. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration hit the utility with a $76,050 fine and a "serious" violation in April following its investigation into an accident in ...
Published: 05/25/18
Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million cars, warning owners: Don’t use the cruise control

Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million cars, warning owners: Don’t use the cruise control

Associated PressDETROIT — Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million vehicles in the U.S. because in rare but terrifying circumstances, drivers may not be able to turn off the cruise control. The company is warning owners not to use cruise control until...
Published: 05/25/18
Federal Reserve chairman warns his agency must be free from political pressure

Federal Reserve chairman warns his agency must be free from political pressure

Associated PressFederal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Friday that the Fed’s independence from political pressure must be respected if it is to succeed in controlling inflation, maximizing employment and regulating the financial system. His re...
Published: 05/25/18
Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Restaurants like Ford’s Garage use the experience to get you in the door

Tim Butler’s first car was a Ford Model A pick-up truck — a pearl fawn and cherry red pick-up he got his senior year in high school from his dad, who renovates antique cars. That’s why as Butler waited for a table at the Ford’...
Published: 05/25/18
St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

St. Petersburg man fined $507,513 in penny stock scheme

TAMPA — A St. Petersburg man was fined $507,513 and permanently barred from participating in the offering of a penny stock in a case involving a scheme to manipulate the price of Aureus, a penny stock company incorporated in Nevada, officials said Fr...
Published: 05/25/18
Broadcom’s CEO tops highest-paid list with a $103 million payout

Broadcom’s CEO tops highest-paid list with a $103 million payout

Times staff and wiresNEW YORK — Chief executives at the biggest public companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year, bringing the median pay package for CEOs to $11.7 million. Across the S&P 500, compensation for CEOs is often hundreds of times highe...
Published: 05/25/18