If I said nothing else you know I just uttered a mouthful. Maybe you’re in the small minority who had their college expenses covered by scholarships or parents. If so congrats (and I’m extremely jealous!) but if you’re like most of us, you’ve likely had to lean on some type of debt to finance your learning experience.
Did you know that the total amount of student loan debt surpassed the total amount owed on credit cards in 2013? Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks has been screaming loud that student loan debt is a ‘ticking time bomb’ and will definitely be America’s next financial bubble.
Look, I’m not one of doom and gloom but there is no getting around the rising cost of higher education and how many students are financing as much as $100,000 or more on it. On top of that when they get out of school they are met with employment that doesn’t match the money they (or their parents) just forked over to the university.
LEARNING HARD LESSONS AFTER COLLEGE.
Young professionals (and a lot of middle to later aged ones as well) are up to their eyeballs in school debt and the frustrations are only mounting. I remember paying off my loans and how it felt like that gigantic lump sum was growing instead of depleting (thankfully they were eventually paid off)!
Some students are even at the point of bankruptcy because of their debt but that does nothing for eliminating those loans. They are one of the only debts that can’t be wiped out by bankruptcy.
Matter of fact defaulting on your student loans is very detrimental to you because it hurts not only messes with your psyche but it can also destroy your credit scores, which in turn makes it harder to get other loans. So what’s the solution?
Besides winning the lottery and paying them off at once (good luck with that option), there is one thing you can do to begin eradicating those pesky loans and although it may be right for everyone a lot of people can benefit if they just get out and start SERVING OTHERS.
Let’s look at a few ways:
1. Peace Out. Did you know that if you join the Peace Corp you qualify to get partial cancellation of your Perkins Loans. You can eliminate as much as 15% for each year in the Peace Corp, up to 70% total. So if you want to see the world and do something worthwhile as you pay down your loans, then consider this option. Besides some employers love Peace Corp volunteers because of the training and the commitment so you’re likely to better paying job when you get finished.
2. Get Involved With Service To America. This program is offered in most major cities so it’s something you can do locally and earn some student loan forgiveness in the process. After giving 1,700 hours of your time, your loans has the potential to be forgiven to the tune of $4,725. Not a great per/hour rate, but it’s something worthwhile you can do in your spare time to pay down your loans.
3. Protect Your Country. The military offers a variety of loan forgiveness programs. The numbers change frequently so you would have to constantly check the current structure but here’s one example: The National Guard offers up to $10,000 of student loan repayment. Each branch of the military has their own program depending on their recruiting needs.
4. Teach What You Know. You earned the degree, gained the knowledge now it’s time to pay it forward. If you’re willing to teach in particular low-income areas, you can eliminate almost $20k of loans forgiveness while still getting paid to teach! There are even some programs that will forgive your loans 100%!
5. Work For Uncle Sam. Okay, there’s no doubt that this is a competitive option. A lot of people are trying to get on with the government because of the perceived excellent benefits (personally I think it’s a farce!) so you better make sure you stand out. But regardless of my personal bias, working for the government is not a bad option. Many federal agencies are authorized to develop student loan forgiveness programs as a recruiting aid.
Look, there’s no secret that student loans are growing into a very challenging burden. Hopefully you have a grasp on yours and you don’t really need this information. Great is so but if not, remember there are options if you’re willing the serve.
So don’t let student loan debt prevent you from getting the education you desire. With some planning and research, you can come out ahead!
Shawn Dorrough – The WealthShift Strategist