Another route to take? Swap out your current repayment plan to a graduated or extended plan, which would mean lower monthly payments. Ellis suggests playing around with Student Aid’s Loan Simulator to gauge how your monthly payments might shake out under each plan.
As for those considering private student loans, be sure to do some comparison shopping on lending platforms like Credible, Student Loan Hero, and LendingTree. And if you already have private loans, the experts we spoke with say to consider refinancing, which could mean saving on total interest or bumping down your monthly payments.
If you can’t swing your anticipated payments, see if you qualify for deferment or forbearance on your federal student debt by reaching out to your student loan servicer. (Remember, with deferment, you might still be on the hook for paying interest that racks up during your deferment period.)
Last, try to stay on top of your financial housekeeping with student loans, recommends Ellis. This includes reviewing the contact information on your loan so the accounts are up to date, knowing who your student loan servicer is, and being on the lookout for correspondence from the Department of Education or student loan servicer about your loans. Plus, make sure autopay is enabled so you don’t accidentally forget to pay and accrue more interest, says Ellis. That way, when student loan repayments start up again, things go off without a hitch.