One of the first things to do post-graduation is to determine the status of your student loans: which lenders you borrowed from, how much money you owe them, what your interest rate is, and most importantly, WHEN you owe them money.
If your college finance situation was anything like mine, your parents made desperate calls to Alma Mater U’s financial aid office, begged and pleaded for more money, and made back-room finance dealings, none of which you were privy to. At least that was the case with my family. After having two other siblings in addition to myself really rack up the college loans, my parents were tapped out financially, emotionally drained, and absolutely painful to talk to about money. Yet somehow they still managed to shove me through the financial nightmare of college, tacking on lots of loans along the way.
To be fair, I should have paid more attention to what sort of debt I was incurring along the way, but mom and dad were taking care of the logistics, and it was easy enough to just be blissfully ignorant and sign on the dotted line every year when my new promissory notes rolled around.
Clearly I had my work cut out for me in terms of taking charge of my own financial destiny. And I still couldn’t bring myself to discuss finances with my parents, so I decided to figure it all out myself.
If you, like me, have no personal records of the loans you’ve taken out, here are a few handy steps to really sniff out the various loans you are now responsible for:
1. Contact your financial aid office. They should be able to give you an outline of the aid you were awarded, whether it is in the form of a grant or a loan, and if a loan, whether it is a federal loan or perhaps a loan from the school itself. This outline generally won’t include private loans, which leads me to my next step… Continue reading