My experience with student loans began in 1999 when I first enrolled at Baker College of Muskegon, Michigan.
By the time I graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in the field of Human Services, I had amassed a debt totaling close to $42,000.
Each year one of the companies servicing my two government loans, contacted me with updated information on the loans.
I could have begun making loan payments prior to graduation, but my part-time job as a prep cook at a local restaurant did not give me enough money to make even the base payments of $135.00 per month. I was living on my own and supporting myself.
Upon graduation employment in my field was not readily available due to my lack of experience. I went back to my loan expert, who suggested a loan deferment until I could find fulltime work in my field.
I chose that route, actually remaining on loan deferment for three years. The interest on my loan was attached to the backside of the loan during the deferment period.
In 2008 I landed a full-time job in an adult care facility. I was on my way. At this point, I began researching possible avenues to restructure my loans for possible consolidation.
The loan officer for a local bank would not agree to consolidate, offering instead to take over the loans @ 8.5% interest for a total of 20 years, with monthly payments of $300, no early payoff options or deferments if I become unemployed for any reason.
I returned to the loan expert, they consolidated the loans at 5% interest for a total of thirty years, with monthly payments of $160.11.
I can opt to pay extra or set up deferments. Also, by making consistent payments for a year, the loan interest dropped to 4.875%. Every little bit helps.
I noticed online that the balance was not dropping as expected. I learned that by increasing my payment to $185/month, approximately $45-50 would go toward the loan principal. I tightened my financial belt and, sure enough, the principal increased.
Then I discovered another neat trick. I can make bi-weekly payments instead of monthly. There are four extra weeks over the period of a year.
This translates to an extra month’s payment, cutting approximately seven years off the original thirty years. My next goal is to incorporate bi-weekly payments into my budget.
Please understand, the monthly payment of $185 will be divided into two bi-weekly payments of $92.50. In five-week months the bi-weekly payment remains the same.
I have made an investment in my education as a way of turning my dreams into reality and a loan modification company has helped me manage that journey.
I can count on them to provide accurate information and quality customer service I need to successfully navigate and complete my educational investment. I am glad to have them on my side.