When it comes to paying for your college education, student loans are the answer for many people. With little to no interest rates, deferment options and full coverage many students take on loans as quickly as they do study habits, but what happens when you graduate and its time to pay up?
With the economy at a standstill and the unemployment rate at 9.3% (down 3% from 1990) many students are wondering "what do I do with this degree?" Many are unable to find that perfect job they spent years building up the education for but the loans are on their own timetable. Lenders might be sympathetic to your struggles, but they still are looking for repayment.
For some graduates, its not only student loans that have been accumulating - it is very common for other credit cards to have been used on a regular basis to pay for everything from meals, gas, books and of course the occasional after class happy hour.
Those recent graduates who are now facing massive student loans and looking to get out of debt they think that filing for bankruptcy is their option. Yet after the US Bankruptcy Code this really limits student loans at being discharged through filing bankruptcy.
I just read about a case where Dana Soderberg was suing her father to pay her tuition costs after having him sign a contract that he would handle her tuition until the age of 25. Well that's one sure way to get out of your debt, not exactly one that I support but I suppose not everyone thinks along the terms of actually having their parents sign contracts when it comes to helping them with their education. I remember starting the local California State University with a graduation check from my grandmother and my mom telling me "you should apply that to your tuition." I never thought otherwise.
So if you haven't contractually binded your parents and don't want to just walk away from those loans, consider your options. If the career you are working towards isn't taking you on, then maybe you need to take on a part-time job. Find ways to budget your money, maybe sell some items on eBay or even have a garage sale.
Now that I am in graduate school I have taken on student loans for the first time and I can sympathize with other students in this economy. I take my debts seriously but I also look for ways to pay them off as fast as I can and keep my credit rating good. It's all about being responsible with your money, creating a budget and if possible stop using your credit cards (save them for emergencies - or at least until you can pay them in full every month).
If you have federal loans, the federal government offers grants and your loan might qualify for forgiveness. If you are like me and you have private loans, military loans or any other type these will not qualify. Student loans are known as unsecured debt and the only guarantee that it will be paid off, is through the act of actually making payments! (In contrast to secured debt - like a mortgage, where you can lose your house if you do not pay).
I don't know if it comforts me or scares me, but to know that I am not alone in this dismal economy keeps me going somehow. If you have found yourself in $10,000 or more in unsecured debt there are options for you. Don't be fooled into thinking the "easy" way out is bankruptcy. Try a debt settlement program; let a professional work for you! With all this downtime between job searching, it can be a time to work on you. Make some financial goals - one thing I learned in school was the three week, three month and year plan. Where do you see yourself and what do you want to accomplish in those times? Being financially free and out of debt is one sure goal to adhere to.
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