Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Vocus) June 7, 2010
It’s that time of year. Families gather, Pomp and Circumstance plays, and graduates walk across the stage to receive their degrees. The elation begins to fade as students receive their first student loan statement. A New Horizon Credit Counseling Services, a well established non-profit Credit Counseling company, offers tips for new grads dealing with debt.
These days students are graduating with more than just a degree; they’re leaving college with an unprecedented level of debt. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 65.6% of undergraduate students financed at least part of their education with student loans. Furthermore, the average student’s credit card balance is over $2,000, according to Nellie Mae.
Attack Student Loans Systematically
Paying down debt is not the first thing on a graduate’s mind. Fortunately, there are payment plans available which can make life easier.
Recent graduates who are not quite making the six-figure salaries promised by their career centers should consider the government’s Income Based Repayment (IBR) Program. Under this program, students with relatively low income can make payments that amount to only a percentage of their disposable income.
Credit Card Crunch
Many students succumb to the allure of paying with credit. The books, school supplies, groceries, and other incidentals add up fast.
Students often find themselves paying 27% interest on a pack of highlighters they bought a few months ago. “Credit card debt grows quickly and can be daunting for anyone. It’s even more intimidating for a recent college graduate who is first building his or her life,” says Steven Stark, Chief Operating Officer of A New Horizon Credit Counseling Services. Stark comments that students should attempt to use their cards only for emergencies. Students already dealing with mounting credit card debt, however, can get assistance.
Enrolling in a credit counseling program with a recognized nonprofit organization can dramatically reduce balances and interest rates, according to Stark. These programs negotiate significantly reduced interest rates with creditors, allowing consumers to save money every month.
A New Horizon Credit Counseling Services is a nonprofit credit counseling organization that has been helping consumers since 1978. For more information about their programs, contact 1-800-556-1548. They can also be found on the web at http://www.anewhorizon.org, or reached via email at slieberman(at)anewhorizon(dot)org