Believe it or not, there will come a day when your student loans will be paid! With the right strategies and mindset, paying off Your student loans will be a “fight” but within your reach!

Here is the “battle:”

  • Black college graduates must have an average of $25,000 more in student loan debt than white college graduates.
  • Four years after graduating, 48% of black students owe a average of 6% more than they borrowed.
  • Black student borrowers are the most likely to have difficulties financially due to student loan debt, making monthly payments of $289.

Black college students require more financial aid due to a lack of family wealth. Yes, the racial wealth gap contributes to our challenges. However, we will win. We MUST advocate for better public policy, including student debt forgiveness. We also need to focus on reducing our student loan debt.

Here are 8 actionable tips to help you pay off your student loans faster and more intentionally. So let’s get started and empower you to achieve financial freedom!

1. Create a budget

  • The golden rule is to always start with a budget. Start by tracking your income and expenses, and then identify areas where you can cut back. Use the extra money to pay off your loans faster.
  • Our Money Management tool is your one-stop solution for tracking your spending and spotting trends in your shopping habits that you can change to help save money!

2. Make additional payments

  • Making extra payments can help you pay off your student loans faster and save money on interest. Consider making biweekly payments instead of monthly payments to reduce the overall interest you pay.
  • You’ll pay less over the life of the loan when you pay it off faster. As? Well, interest comes into play. The longer the life of the loan, the more interest you will pay on the outstanding balance.
  • If you receive a windfall, such as a bonus, consider using it to pay off your student loans. This can help you put a big dent in your debt and reduce the overall interest you pay.

3. Refinance your loans

  • If you have good credit and a stable income, refinancing your loans can help you save money on interest and pay off your loans faster. Look for lenders that offer low interest rates and flexible payment terms. You can combine multiple student loans into one private loan.
  • Consider your credit score to refinance. The better your score, the better interest rate you can get! Refinancing is recommended when you have a stable income and a high credit score of 600

4. Use your tax refund.

  • As long as you receive a tax refund, consider using it to make a balloon payment on your loans. These extra efforts can make a big difference in lowering your overall balance and saving you money in interest. Every opportunity you get to pay more than your loan minimum each month, take advantage of it!

5. Consider Loan Forgiveness or Employer Payment Programs

  • Check out this resource Federal Student Aid to find out if you qualify for any of the different types of forgiveness or cancellation programs. These programs may depend on your field of work or type of loan.
  • Less common but very attractive, many employers offer pay assistance programs as part of their benefits package. Check with your employer to see if you qualify.

6. Pay off high-interest loans first.

  • If you have multiple student loans, focus on paying off the ones with the highest interest rates first. This can help you save money in interest in the long run. The key here is to stay focused, as your highest interest rate debt could also be your biggest debt and take a while to pay off.

7. Consider payment plans based on income.

  • Designed for those whose loan payments are expensive compared to their actual income, income-based repayment plans help establish an affordable monthly loan payment.
  • Check if you are eligible in the Federal Student Aid platform for the different types of loans available.

8. Enroll in Auto Pay.

  • Federal student loan services and many private lenders provide a deduction from your interest rate when you enroll in automatic payment. Some of these deductions will be 0.25 percentage points. Take advantage of the lowest rate – just one way to pay less over the life of your loan!

Paying off student loan debt requires a combination of strategy, discipline, and patience. Celebrate the small victories along the way and remember the benefits of being debt free.

Federal action is required to address the combined effects of our nation’s racist history and forgotten promises on black student loan debt. The cycle we are tackling requires responsibility and acknowledgment of how we got here, not of our own free will!

In the meantime, remember that the key for us is to stay focused, motivated and keep working towards our goals. #blackbank

The publication 8 Tips for Paying off Student Loans first appeared on OneUnited Bank.

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