Too many people, including plenty of brand-new college graduates, fall far behind on their student loan payments for no good reason. It can get worse as the days and years go by. Last year, it was estimated using data from the a renowned agency services, determined that 35 percent of people under 30 who were supposed to be making student loan payments each month were actually 90 or more days delinquent.
Whatever the numbers, they add up to a normalization of tardiness that can damage the credit scores of young adults. And 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.
Let us pause for a moment to state the plain fact that the entire college financing system is a national disgrace. College costs are high, universities do not counsel undergraduates well enough, families get in over their heads, there are too many types of loans, the repayment options are dizzying, and lenders and the companies that collect the payments are sometimes bad actors. But this column exists for the far-from-ideal world we have to live in today, one where if the trend lines that the country has outlined continue, half of all 25-year-olds who have credit reports will have student loan debt in a couple of years.
This week, we are introducing a new student loan calculator. It can tell you what the average student loan debt is at schools you are considering, what sort of salary might make the debt affordable and how different repayment options could significantly affect what you ultimately spend.
What follows is a basic guide for rookie student-loan debtors that can keep people out of some of the most common types of trouble.
WHAT YOU OWE:
The idea that any grown-up might not know how many student loans they have probably seems outlandish. Nevertheless, many students have a few different types of loans and get new ones each year during the rush to get the approval to register for classes.
Universities do not always make loans easily comprehensible either. One of the students studying in one of the finest institutions in India remembers getting a financial aid letter in graduate school with an acronym that was so confusing that she could not tell whether it referred to a loan or a grant.
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