AP9 PrivacyMatters Offers Students Advice on How to Manage Their College Loans

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AP9 PrivacyMatters Helps Members Safeguard Against Risks to Their Identities, Credit Ratings, Personal Finances and More

While the value of a college education remains high, so does the monetary cost of acquiring one, reports AP9 Privacy Matters, a leading security membership program offered by Adaptive Marketing LLC. As a result, millions of college students take out loans each year to cover their tuition, board, books and other college-related costs, signing promissory notes long before taking on their first full-time jobs.

Studies indicate that about half of all recent college graduates have student-loan debts, totaling, on average, about $10,000. That may not seem like a high debt load when one considers that college costs have been increasing at twice the rate of inflation and that public colleges and universities cost about $13,000 a year while private schools cost about $28,000 a year.

However, when one factors starting salaries and the cost of living into the equation, a $10,000 debt can often seem like an insurmountable sum to a recent college graduate. To help everyone from incoming students to recent graduates handle their debt loads as painlessly and responsibly as possible, AP9 Privacy Matters offers a few tips:

--Shop around for colleges. College enrollment figures are dropping, so if you’re still in the college application stage, you may be able to find schools willing to offer you a scholarship or financial aid to attend. A degree from a renowned university can offer you greater job opportunities right out of the box, but a degree from a lesser university, coupled with lower debt, can offer you a better short-term financial outlook, and it’s ultimately your performance in the real world, not the school name on your sheepskin, that will determine your long-term earnings.

--Shop around for loans. From public assistance to private lenders, there are a bevy of financial aid sources that can help you pay for college. Start your search at the Student Aid Wizard (https://studentaid2.ed.gov/logon.asp?nextpage=/GetMoney/Fin_Aid_Wizard/Fin_Aid_Wizard1.asp?&), a federal website designed to help you plan your educational finances -- but don’t stop there. Your high school guidance counselor should be able to offer you a variety of college-aid resources, and private lending institutions in and around your hometown should be able to offer you additional possibilities. Generally speaking, though, federal loans can be more financially advantageous than private loans, because the interest on federal loans is tax-deductible, you can sometimes get a deferral on federal loans if you go back to school, and the loan is occasionally forgiven for certain types of services.

--Consolidate your loans. Once you’ve graduated and reached the “grace period” or active payment stages of your loans, you can usually consolidate loans if you owe more than $10,000. As noted above, federal loans differ from private loans, so be sure to consolidate them separately. (Consolidating federal loans with private loans usually requires taking out a single, private loan, which strips you of the benefits of federal loans.) Provided you have a good payment history, consolidated loans can carry much lower interest rates. A consolidated loan will also lower the number of creditors you have, so you can track your payments more easily, and you’ll have only one creditor to deal with if you need to renegotiate your loan or payment arrangements.

--Increase your monthly payments. This is only an option if you can afford larger monthly payments, but if you can, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run. For instance, a $20,000 student-loan debt might charge $5,809 in interest payments alone over 10 years; over 20 years, that interest would increase to $12,681.

--Read the fine print. Know exactly when each monthly payment is due, and be sure to get your payment in on time. If you’re eligible to receive special discounts for, say, automatic payments from your bank account, make sure you know about any specific criteria (for instance, a minimum account balance) that you need to meet to qualify for the discount.

It’s almost a Catch-22 situation: Educated consumers tend to manage their finances better than uneducated consumers, but the price of that education can be very high. That’s why it’s important to get a handle on your student loans and all of the options available to you as quickly as possible, notes AP9 PrivacyMatters.

About AP9 PrivacyMatters

AP9 Privacy Matters is a leading security and privacy membership program offered by Adaptive Marketing LLC. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., Adaptive Marketing is a category leader in both membership and loyalty programs, bringing value direct to consumers through an array of benefits in healthcare, discounts, security, personal property and personals. Members may access their benefits at PrivacyMatters.com. With broad online and offline distribution capabilities, Adaptive Marketing offers its corporate client partners effective tools to enhance market presence, strengthen customer affinity and generate additional value through programs such as AP9 Privacy Matters.

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