Many students cannot wait until graduation. Not only do they graduate, but they gain a sense of accomplishment, freedom, and independence. However, despite all the wonderful things that come with getting a degree, many students are saddled with thousands of dollars in debt. According to data published in the US News, student debt is estimated to average about $30,000 per year. With so many graduating seniors facing this reality, the UW-Whitewater Financial Aid Office gave a presentation on the subject to raise awareness of the resources available to students.
Associate Director of Financial Aid, Ben Dobner, gave an information-packed presentation on loan repayment April 12 at UC. The main purpose of the presentation was to educate students on the importance of knowing exactly what you owe to whom, selecting a payment plan and plan changes, loan types, payment plan options and what to do if you miss or cannot make a loan repayment.
The first thing Dobner touched on was how to find out how much you owe. If you take out a federal student loan, you go to the StudentAid.gov website. There you can log in to your account, look under the “My Help” tab and click on “Ready”. You’ll then find a diagram of the amount you owe so you can take the next step of determining which payment plan is best for you. Payment plans range from standard 10-year payment plans to 25-year payment plans. However, it is important to note that the faster you repay your loan, the less interest you will pay. The “Repayment example” slide showed that people who chose a standard 120-month (10-year) loan payment plan at $302 per month saved more than $15,000 in the long run than a repayment plan. extended loan for 300 months (25 years) at $94. a month. Dobner also made a point of mentioning calling your loan manager.
“The number one reason students often miss a payment is because their loan officer can’t reach them,” Dobner said. “Also, if you can’t make a payment, you shouldn’t be afraid to talk to your lender. They are there to help you get out of debt as quickly as possible.
For more information, go to the university’s financial aid office at Hyer Hall 130 or visit uww.edu/financialaid, or [email protected]or call 262-472-5655.