WEB EXCLUSIVE: Tackling College Debt: What Can You Do?
(WKEF/WRGT) - Today nearly 70 percent of all college graduates have college loan debt. The average total is more than $30,000 dollars a person. If you already have college loan debt or are looking to avoid it in the future, here are tips on how to fix the problem or limit the damage.
--LIMIT THE DAMAGE--
-Don't take the money if you don't need it. Often, loan providers will give you more money than you need. The reason is to offset certain needs such as books, food and rent. Many students rack up extra debt by spending all the loan money they get even if they don't have to. Some spend it on cars, or clothes or trips. Only spend what you need and pay back what you still have to lower your total debt.
--WHAT ABOUT IF I ALREADY HAVE LOAN DEBT?--
1: If you have the money, pay it back as quickly as you can. Interest adds up fast, so put extra money into payments in order to drop your total faster. Paying back the debt later will only get harder as you continue to make big purchases. A car, a house or a child will make money much tighter down the line.
2. Speak with your loan provider as soon as you can. If you're having trouble making payment, they may be able to restructure your payments. Adjustments can be made to lower the amount you pay until you get a better job. Many times providers are willing to work with you.
3. Make a budget and stick to it. To pay off your loan that payment needs to be a must, not a maybe. Defaulting can lead to serious problems. Your credit numbers will drop, and you may have trouble getting utilities, home owner's insurance or cell phone plans.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If your plans aren't working, contact a credit counselor to work with you. They can help you make a good budget and help with any kind of emergency funding.