What Should Current Undergraduates Do With Student Loans In The Summer | Ranger student loan
This summer will likely be a little different for students who completed their spring semester online due to the coronavirus pandemic. You can still face a lot of uncertainty as to whether classes will be held on campus for the fall semester, or grappling with the decision to attend or take a year off.
Despite all the upheavals, summer is still the best time to start planning for the next year – and that means making sure you stay on top of your student loans and other financial aid. Here are five things you can do this summer with your student loans in mind:
- Contact your financial aid office if you need to make FAFSA changes.
- Find your student loan manager and make sure your information is up to date.
- Check your student loan balance.
- Look for private scholarships.
- Compare the interest rates for private student loans.
Contact your financial aid office if you need to make FAFSA changes
Due to the health and economic crisis of COVID-19, many families are now in a very different financial situation than that submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, for this coming year.
If your finances have changed significantly due to the pandemic or for any other reason, you can contact your school’s financial aid office and request an adjustment called “professional judgment”. If you qualify, you may be able to get additional loans or other help.
With so many families struggling financially during this time, your college financial aid office might not be able to help you right away. It is important to start this process as early as possible in order to allow for processing time before the fall semester. You can also visit SwiftStudent, a new free tool, to learn more about your eligibility and start the financial aid appeal process.
Find your student loan manager and make sure your information is up to date
As a student, you have probably had several different addresses in recent years. If this is the case, you should make sure that your student loan manager has your latest address and contact information so that you do not miss any important communication related to your student loans.
Student loan officers collect monthly loan payments and manage student loan accounts on behalf of the federal government. If you have multiple Federal Student Loans, you may have more than one service agent and will receive separate student loan statements from each. You can find the Federal Student Loans Services and their contact details on StudentAid.gov.
Check your student loan balance
It’s a good idea to stay on top of how much you borrow in student loans each year and to track how that adds up over time. If you’re not careful it can be very easy to graduate with a large student loan balance that will give you sticker shock when you get your first student loan statement.
You can track what you owe in federal student loans using the new annual student loan recognition tool at StudentAid.gov. For private loans, contact your student loan manager or lender to request your balance.
Search for private scholarships
To avoid incurring additional student loan debt as fall approaches, you can turn to cash that doesn’t need to be paid off. Many students think about private scholarships before their first year, but there are plenty of options you can explore as a second year, junior, or senior student as well.
Full scholarships are rarely awarded to students already in college, but you may be able to find smaller scholarships that will help pay for books and living expenses. When it comes to college, every dollar counts.
Look for local scholarships, which may be smaller but tend to be less competitive than national scholarships. You can also search the internet for organizations that offer scholarships and use any new scholarship money to reduce the amount you borrow in student loans for the upcoming academic year.
Compare interest rates on private student loans
If there was a discrepancy between the cost of your tuition and your financial aid plus any federal loans that were offered to you, you may have had to borrow a private student loan. If you have to borrow a private loan again next school year, summer is a good time to compare rates.
You don’t have to borrow from the same lender every year, and you should always make sure you get the best rate possible.
Consider borrowing from a nonprofit or state organization, as these lenders follow a strong set of consumer protections and offer loan options with low or no set-up fees and fixed interest rates. You can find nonprofit loan providers online, and ForYouNotForProfit.org lists some options in 23 states.