You should definitely be enjoying your summer before you head off to college, but there are a few things you’ll need to take care of. Between the vacations and college orientation, you’ll want to remember to think about your student loans. Here’s how you can prepare:
Keep All Documents Together
You’ve likely received a lot of documents concerning your student loans (and you may be receiving more). Don’t just throw them in a desk drawer. Keep them together for easy reference and to keep track of the money you owe. Over the next four years, you’ll want to add any further documentation to the pile. Also, save any emails you may receive regarding the loans.
Keeping the paperwork together can help if any problems pop up or if you have any questions, but it also prevents last-minute scrambling when you graduate. If you don’t know where they are, you may have trouble remembering all the details of the loans, private and federal.
Make Sure the School Has Everything It Needs
Your college will need the money, information, and documentation from your lender, especially if it’s through federal loans. While the FAFSA will most likely be sent to the financial aid office, you’ll definitely want to double-check that your college has everything they need before you move in and start your classes.
Doing this beforehand can help you avoid any headaches and more stress when you should be attending your first semester courses. If there any problems, get them sorted out now.
Start Planning Ahead
You may not have to start planning every detail of paying back the student loans, but it doesn’t hurt to think about the basics at least. Keep track of what you owe, the interest rate, and the types of loans you took out. Do you want to start paying it back immediately? Are you required to begin paying it off now? Check the documentation, especially when it comes to private loans. What do they say?
For federal loans, you most likely have a direct subsidized or a direct unsubsidized loan. Federal subsidized loans have a grace period. During your four years of college, the government will pay back your interest. After graduation, you have six months before you have to start paying back the loan. However, unsubsidized loans request that you start paying interest back immediately. You can choose to request that the interest be added to the principal amount during your school years so you don’t have to pay until after you graduate.
This is where you should be planning ahead. If you have an unsubsidized loan or a private loan, are you planning on paying it back immediately? Do you want to get a job to start paying off your debt? Think about your options and responsibilities and make a decision on how you want to handle it.
By all means, enjoy your summer off, but don’t forget that college still needs a lot of planning. It doesn’t end when you’re accepted! Don’t let yourself forget about your student loans and always keep them in a safe place for easy reference.
Use College Raptor’s free Student Loan Finder to compare lenders and interest rates side by side.