Financial Aid: What To Expect After Graduation5 June 2017
As you’ve gone through your program at Pioneer Pacific College, your priorities have been your grades and studies – financial aid and student loans were probably “out of sight, out of mind”. And now that you’re done, your focus is on landing a job in your new field! But it’s important not to forget about preparing for one of the biggest changes after graduation: your finances.
As a part of your departure with PPC, if you took out loans you’ll be required to take exit loan counseling. You’ll have the basics explained to you about what to expect with whichever type of loans you have. Most loans offer a grace period after you graduate, assuming it may take some time to get a job and get comfortable financially. Take this time to stay a step ahead…
Prepare Yourself Mentally
Wait, what? Well, we don’t just mean mentally, but it’s a big part of what we do mean. If you don’t already have one, this is the prime time to make a budget (if you do have one, adjust it). Knowing your overall financial picture not only helps you make sure you’ll pay your student loans every month, but it can help you determine what wage you can accept at a new job. Or, if you know the typical wage for starting out in your new career, you can look into adjusting your loan repayment. Federal student loans offer income-based and income-contingent repayment plans.
Make It a Mindless Habit
Most student loan companies make keeping up easy by offering automatic payments. You can arrange for your payment to come out of your checking account every month to ensure that you don’t make a late payment or, worse, miss it altogether! This is vital to your financial future, because a missed or late payment will stay on your credit report for seven years. If you’re not into automatic payments, make a calendar that reminds you when to send a check or an online payment.
If You’re Struggling
Things happen in life and can sometimes make paying the bills difficult. If you can’t make a payment at any time, it’s best to contact your student loan provider. If you’re experiencing financial difficulty, federal loan providers offer deferment, putting your payments on hold until you’re back on your feet financially.
Particularly for those working in nonprofit organizations, teachers, and health care professionals, there are options to have student loans forgiven after a certain amount of time in your role or field. Often these programs require that you work in a low-income area, particularly in the case of health professionals and teachers. This can be a great way to gain valuable life experience while eliminating your student debts.
Start planning now to keep your loans a priority and protect your credit as you begin this exciting new chapter of life!