Earning a college degree is an exciting time for graduates, but it can also be stressful as nearly 40 million Americans are saddled with $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, according to CBS News. Unfortunately, student loan debt is a growing economic crisis across the nation. But, a college degree doesn’t mean you need to be saddled with student loan payments for the rest of your life. Read these eight tips to begin digging your way out of post-graduate debt.
1. Pay what you can
This is different than paying what you want. “Student loans are virtually impossible to discharge in bankruptcy — you have to prove “undue hardship” — and there are enough federal options to help with repayment that you don’t need to let the balance sit accruing interest in deferment and forbearance,” says Janet Novack, a Forbes writer. Don’t make the mistake of trying to make unrealistically high payments — make sure you’re signed up for an income-based repayment plan. It’s better to pay an amount you can afford rather than miss a payment and watch fees pile up.