8 Student Loan Repayment Tips to Help You Succeed
By Rachel Seitz
Before You Apply
1. Plan, plan, plan
As with any major life decision, the first step you’ll need to take to help keep your student loan repayment process as smooth as possible is to make a plan. Whether you’re switching careers or boosting your current career, keep in mind what your potential new salary could be and when it might take effect. This way, you can have a financial strategy for a possible job hunt period or for some time before any raise takes effect.
Knowing what timeline you might be looking at, and the impact of the education you’re investing in, will get you prepared financially.
2. Know how much you really need to borrow in tuition and living expenses
With some programs, students may have the option to borrow for living expenses in addition to tuition financing. If you do find yourself borrowing for cost of living expenses, you’ll want to look closely at what you have, and what you really need, in order to be sure you’re taking out the right amount for your situation.
While you don’t want to borrow so little you can’t cover tuition, you also don’t want to borrow so much you’ll have trouble paying it off. Remember: everything you borrow, you’ll have to pay back with interest.
3. Make a budget
Then, once you’ve got a good idea of your financial situation, it’s time to make a budget. Yes, we know, putting together a budget is on few people’s lists of favorite activities. But doing so will help build up your savings, cut costs, and give you lots of buffer to make loan payments — especially for the period before you receive any income benefits of the education.
If you need a little extra push to get going, check out this list of popular budgeting tools and methods. And get practicing today; a habit takes time to stick!
During Your Application
4. Read loan documents carefully and know your monthly payment due dates and amounts
No one likes getting caught off-guard, especially when it comes to due dates and monthly payment amounts. So, it’s crucial to read over all your loan documents carefully and ask questions if you need any clarification. Note what you’ll owe each month and when, as well as if there’s a fixed or variable interest rate.
If you have a Climb loan, there are a few places you can find this information. We’ll email you loan documents both when you’re approved and when your loan is finalized. Additionally, all forms and documentation can be found in your online Climb Student Portal!
5. Get to know your lender and loan servicer
Sure, you may know the name of your lender, but do you know who your loan servicer is? That’s the company who sends you your monthly bills and manages your account after the loan has been disbursed, and it’s not always the same as your lender.
For Climb loans, our servicer is University Accounting Service (UAS). Keeping contact information both for Climb and for UAS readily available will make it much easier to get any questions issues taken care of quickly, as well as to make any updates to your account. Whatever questions you have, don’t hesitate to reach out!
During Loan Repayment
6. Make payments on-time
Of course, the biggest key to successful student loan repayment is making those payments on-time. Check your balance frequently, and set reminders on your phone or calendar for your payment dates.
By being punctual with your payments, you’ll not only prevent your principal from piling on, but you’ll also keep your credit score up. Besides your loan application, a strong credit score could benefit you with insurance companies, potential employers, landlords, and even cell phone companies!
7. Set up automatic payments
Do you find it difficult to remember to make all your payments by the time they’re due, even if you set reminders? Don’t worry — you’re not alone. But a very effective way to help ensure your bills are paid on-time is setting up ACH auto-payments. By connecting your bank account to auto-pay, you’ll have the amount due withdrawn each month automatically, so you won’t have to worry about remembering it yourself.
And as an extra bonus, many lenders (including Climb) offer an interest rate discount when you connect your account to ACH. When you set up automatic payments for your Climb loan, you’ll receive a 0.25% interest rate discount, which can really add up over time!
8. Prepay, or pay more than the minimum amount due
Finally, if you’ve been making on-time payments and have some room to spare, we suggest prepaying or paying more than the minimum amount due. This will reduce your principal quicker, and the faster you pay off your principal, the less you’ll pay in interest overall. Try making loan payments every two weeks instead of once a month, and use every windfall (bonuses, tax refunds, gift money, etc.) to pay down your loan.
There’s no prepayment penalty for a Climb loan, so you can pay off your loan at any time — and if you pay it off quicker, you’ll have to pay less interest!