There are very few medical school students that won’t take on at least some debt. Dealing with student loans can add even more stress to your already intense routine. However, financial concerns should take away from your true focus, which should be on your studies and education.
Managing student debt is possible, no matter how large your debt may be.
How to Manage Your Student Loans
The first step in managing student loans is getting organized. Map out what your intentions are for the upcoming school year and begin to craft a plan from there. If you continue to be a fully enrolled student in medical school, you won’t even have to worry about beginning to pay for your loans yet. If you are graduating, however, there are other steps you need to take to be prepared.
Graduating students need to organize their loans by the name of each servicer, who is responsible for managing each debt. If you don’t already have this information on file, you can get access to it by visiting the official National Student Loan Data System website.
Luckily, a grace period for student loans is typically offered after graduation. The grace period normally lasts 6-9 months and no payments are required during this time. After the grace period, you can seek other options, such as postponement of payments or an affordable repayment plan.
You can inquire about postponing payments by submitting a deferment or forbearance on the loans. Deferment is usually the preferred option because interest will not accrue on the debt. Interest will build in instances of forbearance. If you aren’t eligible to receive either, you generally have the option of entering into a repayment plan. An agent or financial advisor can better explain all of the repayment options that are available to you.
Once the repayment plan is in place, make sure you make payments on time, every time. Always read all incoming mail – traditional or otherwise – and reach out to servicers and advisors if you ever need assistance. As a graduate, loans will need much more attention than they’ve received in the past. Still, the quicker you chip away at the debt, you more long-term financial success you’ll enjoy!