The average student walks away from college with a diploma and $40,000 of debt. But that number can go as high as $250,000 for Ivy League schools, including a post-graduate education.
Student loan debt in the U.S. totals more than $1.7 trillion. These types of loans can affect your financial future for years. At least 43 million people in the U.S. have student loan debt. That’s one in eight Americans!
The good news is there’s help.
First: look into grants! The forget your student debt grant is open to anyone with student debt and pays $10,000. Other grants are available to specific professionals like teachers, lawyers, veterans, nurses, and social workers. You can search for free grants at https://www.govloans.gov or on professional association websites. States also have their own grants and assistance programs.
Ask your employer about repayment assistance. Some companies offer these programs as benefits to their employees. Also, apply for an income-driven repayment plan. If you qualify, you may receive forgiveness on remaining loan amounts.
You might also want to consider pursuing a public service loan forgiveness program, which forgives loan balances after you’ve made a certain number of payments while working for an eligible employer.
Just a reminder, as part of the COVID relief package, on Dec. 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education extended the student loan payment pause through May 1, 2022, giving people a suspension on their loan payments, a zero percent interest rate and they stopped collections on defaulted federal loans. There’s been no word yet on whether there will be an extension.