Student Debt

Get Smart About Student Loan Debt!

It’s commonly reported that graduating from college can increase your lifetime earning potential by more than $2 million.  However, being smart about how you manage school expenses and student loan debt can be the difference between building wealth and being buried in debt!

Higher Education is an investment – but not all investments pay the same dividends!

Consider the following:

  • What is the earning potential for the career you’re pursuing?
  • Are there ways you can minimize debt while in school, such as:
    Working part-time or full-time
    Pursuing grants or scholarships
    Completing general education courses at technical or community college?
    Minimizing your living expenses
  • Is the school you are considering accredited? Accreditation is important, as it ensures the education provided by a school meets acceptable levels of quality.
  • Are there other schools that may be less expensive, yet offer similar degree programs?
  • Federal Student Loans (including the Stafford and Direct Loan program) tend to be more flexible & cost-effective than Private Student Loans

Thinking about College?

Adventures In Education provides free resources for planning for college, paying for college, finding a career, and managing your money. www.aie.org

Fast Web offers information regarding scholarships: www.fastweb.com

Free Assistance for Federal Student Aid: If you’re considering going to school, completing the FAFSA is an important step to complete early to find out about eligibility for loans and grants. www.fafsa.ed.gov

Look Forward To Your Future is a resource developed by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions for students, parents and educators who have questions and are facing decisions about college and student debt. The site includes: Access to FASTChoice (an online tool to compare loans), Calendar of events related to college affordability, student loans, career planning & financial education, and a list of Frequently Asked Questions and links to resources. www.lookforwardwi.gov

Worried about Student Loan Debt?

Learn more about consolidating federal student loan debts into a single payment at www.studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/consolidation

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is a way to make your federal student loan payments more manageable and allows you to check if you can have part of your debt forgiven after a certain number of income-qualified payments:  www.IBRinfo.org

National Student Loan Data System is where you can obtain details about your federal student loans and financial aid requests: www.nslds.ed.gov

The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has tools to help you make informed choices about paying for college and figuring out how to repay student debt: www.consumerfinance.gov/paying-for-college

The Federal Trade Commission offers resources on student loans that help people identify companies using deceptive claims or business practices: www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/1028-student-loans

Need More Assistance?

A non-profit credit counselor can help you develop a budget & action plan to manage your student loan debt.  Both GreenPath and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Milwaukee offer local, one-on-one counseling services.  For more information contact them:

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