Financial expert Dan Ament shares loan tips for new grads

10:14 AM, Sep 26, 2012   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Attention new grads: it's time to repay your loans.

The post-graduation buzz can wear off quickly for many new grads facing a tough job market and fresh notices reminding them of the expected repayment plans for the mound of student debt they now owe.

Dan Ament, Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Wayzata joined KARE 11 Sunrise and shared the following information and tips:

Ouch... average student debt? Students who borrowed for college and graduated in 2011 left owing $26,224 on average, based on statistics reported by 1,035 schools in an annual survey to U.S. News.

Deferment of loan interest is ending: Your loan servicer should send you a notice in the mail within the six-month grace period outlining your monthly payment options and due date. Some students miss this notice, however, because they fail to update their address once they leave campus. You can look up your Federal loan servicer at You can find out who your servicer is by using the National Student Loan Data System offered by the U.S. Department of Education (nslds.ed.gov).

Know your options: If the standard monthly payment is too high for you to make, you have options. One is to extend the repayment period, which stretches the loan term up to 30 years. But keep in mind that by extending the repayment period, you'll pay more in interest over the life of the loan. For example, a student with $25,000 in loans and a 6.8% interest rate would pay $34,524 in total with a 10-year plan. Payments would total $45,802 over 20 years. There's also a graduated repayment plan, which starts with a low monthly payment that rises every two years for a term that depends on your particular loan. Some graduates with limited income may be eligible to apply for an income-based repayment plan, which lets you peg loan payments to your discretionary income (adjusted gross income minus 150% of the poverty line).

Private student loans? If you have private student loans, these exact options above aren't necessarily available. But some lenders do offer similar programs, like extended repayment. Check with your lender to determine what available options may best fit your specific situation.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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