If you are anything like me, you desired to go to college by any means necessary – meaning – you have student debt.
There is no way to hustle yourself out of debt , especially hefty student loans. However, you can have a hustle (strategy) to manage or even avoid student debt.
The Hustle: Managing Student Loans
So, you had to take out a few loans. Maybe a bunch, but we will just go with a few
for the sake of anxiety. What is done is done, do not fret over the past; focus on improving your future. Here are a few hustles to help you manage your student loans :
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
My grad school alma matter, GCU , actually offered me this option and taught me about it. When my grandmother Momo (Rose) passed March 17th 2020, I had to take a gap year in grad school. I had one course left to finish , but I was unmotivated and incapacitated by grief. I was technically a “drop-out” , with 6 months before the government wanted “their money” until GCU told me: “In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act became law. It suspended payments, stopped collections on defaulted loans, and set the interest rate to 0% for loans owned by the U.S. Education Department through 2021″. If you have not been told about or looked into the CARES act, do so ASAP ! This is a great way to manage interest on government loans only if you are on a break from uni or paying back loans after a degree.
Refinancing (Private loans)
Interest occurs on private loans too ! Sometimes, more than government loans. Private loans refer to lending via banks, credit unions or other private institutions. Friends and family are also in this category. A hustle or strategy worth trying, is to refinance or negotiate the terms of your loans. While the amount may remain the same, you can decrease the amount of interest owed.
If you have multiple private loans, you may qualify to refinance them for a lower interest rate, cutting your monthly payment. Some lenders (hint: Credit unions!) may also refinance federal and private student loans TOGETHER. Which brings me to my next point :
Consolidation (Gov. loans)
Consolidation of government loans in simple , and something I did in undergrad and grad school with this simple explanation :
“The government offers this option when you have more than one federal student loan in your name. They can be consolidated or combined into one new loan with an interest rate that’s a weighted average of your loan rates”.
As of 2021, consolidation automatically qualifies you for The CARES ACT!
The Hustle: Avoiding Student Debt
Yes, you can avoid student debt. Here are some things I wish I knew sooner:
Get. An. Internship.
Don’t wait until your last year to intern! I did, and while I am grateful to say I interned for the Mayor, it got me nowhere financially. In contrast, my friend secured an internship his first year of university and he stayed until graduation. Upon graduation, he secured an amazing salary offer AND tuition reimbursement. If you have a clear vision of your dream career, get in an internship or entry-level position as soon as you can and keep it, with the intent to be hired and secure help with the educational expenses you accrued to qualify for the job. An employer that trusts you will invest in you.
Applying for grants and scholarships are a given. Everyone knows that grants and loans don’t have to be paid back. Here is a tip I didn’t have but wish that I did : DO NOT RUSH TO GRADUATE. Of course, everyone wants to graduate and get a new career as soon as possible, it is important to keep in mind that the longer you’re enrolled, the longer you can put off repaying those loans. While this method won’t work for everyone, it can help ease the stress of being a full time student while allowing you to earn money and get a jump-start on paying back your loans.
Avoid. Credit. Cards.
Unless, you have financial literacy or guidance from sound parents.
Credit card companies prey on college students. I couldn’t believe the offers I got my first year of University. In this video, I talk about how I maxed out my first credit card on a computer that broke soon after because its “what I had to do“. Still, I wonder, how else God would’ve provided for me if I hadn’t been silly enough to max my entire credit card out.
God will always provide for you, it’s when we get ahead of him that we make decisions we spend years paying off.