When you borrow money for college you might not be thinking about your ability to repay the loan once you graduate. However, outstanding student loan balances may infringe upon your ability to qualify for a home, auto and other personal loans. The loans may interfere with your life as you wonder about how long it will take to pay off student loans or if you can repay them. Use our student loan repayment calculator to help gauge the feasibility of your student loan repayment with your anticipated future income.
Paying Back Your Student Debt
While no one likes the thought of acquiring student debt, having at least one college degree increases your earning power and can qualify you for better-paying jobs. While your financial prospects are better with a college degree than without one, you still need to be careful not to accumulate more debt than you can afford to pay off in a timely manner. That way if it takes you awhile to land a good paying job you won’t be buried in student loan debt and large monthly payments.
Before you take on tons of financial burden to pay for a higher education, you’ll want to consider the following factors.
1. The Job Prospects in Your Field
Ideally, you’ll choose a career you love, but you also need to consider whether you can repay your debts. Talk to a guidance counselor or career center at your school to find out about average starting salaries in your field, as well as the chances of ending up with a job in your field after you graduate.
Look for a career that earns enough at entry-level positions, so you can pay for your necessities and student loans. You may also want to talk to recent graduates about their job experiences to get a sense of how they fared.
2. How You Can Improve Your Prospects
You can make repaying student debt a little easier by placing yourself in a position to earn a decent wage right out of school. Choose a career that’s in demand and use apprenticeships and internships to gain experience. Try to work part-time in your field during your college years so you aren’t starting at absolute entry level when you graduate. When you’re in college, make liberal use of your college career center and job fairs to get as much advantage as you can in the job market.
3. If You Can Pay Off Your Debts Early
Use the college loan early payoff calculator to see whether early payment could help you. Consider whether you can restructure your loans or pay them off faster with careful budgeting or by taking on extra work. Getting out of student debt earlier, if it’s possible, can help you with other major financial goals, such as buying a home.
Other Things You Can Do to Take the Sting out of Student Loans
You may be able to graduate with smaller loans if you:
- Keep Expenses Small: Use the Money Help Center budgeting tool to keep track of where your money goes while you’re in school. The less you spend, the less you may need to borrow.
- Borrow Smart: If you do need to borrow, government loans come with lower interest rates than personal loans or credit cards. Always choose financing with the lowest rates.
- Use Financial Aid: Don’t just rely on loans. Talk to your financial aid office and apply for scholarships, work-study programs, bursaries and other forms of financial aid. Loans should be your last resort — and if you get funding from other sources, you won’t have to borrow as much.
These few tips can make repayment a little easier! Use the Money Help Center calculator above to find out whether your future salary will cover your debt costs.