Personal Finance Round-Up: Dealing With Student Loan Debt

student loansAs we speak, high school seniors, college seniors, and hundreds of thousands of professionals of all ages are facing crunch time. Why? Because we’re in the midst of college admissions season. Whether you’re applying to an undergraduate college, a graduate program, or a professional school, you’re probably staring down a forthcoming application deadline.

On the 2012 campaign trail, student loans – and by association, student loan debt – was a major issue. It should be, as the debt you carry after college can impact everything from your credit score, to whether you get approved for a mortgage or car loan. According to Fox Business, your credit score doesn’t necessarily have to suffer just because you have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt – but that still doesn’t make those monthly payments any easier for new grads. Rob Sobhani at The Hill’s Congress Blog has a suggestion for lawmakers: Make the interest on student loans tax deductible, just like it is for mortgages.

Over at Moolanomy, Kevin is thinking about the burdens of student loan debt too – and, more precisely, what happens when you can’t pay it down. In his post What to Do When You Can’t Pay Your Student Loan Debt, Kevin tackles the issue with a common sense approach. His first step takes advantage of a relatively new federal law:

“If you can’t pay your student loan debts due to either low income or unemployment, there may be help from the federal government in the form of an Income-Based Repayment Plan, or IBR for short. The program started in 2009 for just this purpose… The payments are based on 15% of your discretionary income, and can be extended out up to 25 years. The plan also has provision for debt forgiveness after 25 years of repayment, but that does come with other requirements. The forgiveness feature can be accomplished in as little as 10 years for certain public service organization employment.”

Of course, not everyone will qualify for this government program, which is why Kevin goes on to elucidate some options anyone can tackle. With so many college grads facing unemployment or underemployment, learning how to manage and live with such burdensome debt is crucial.

Here are some other blog posts for the college-bound (or college debt-ridden) that caught my eye:

What Are the Average Community College Costs Per Year? [Christian Personal Finance]

If you aren’t sure if you want to jump right into a four-year school, then attending community college could save you thousands of dollars. Aaron checked out the stats from The College Board to see just how much you can expect to pay annually at an average community college as opposed to a four-year university, and the results are shocking.

The 5 Most Expensive Colleges in America [Bargaineering]
Maybe it won’t surprise you that the nation’s priciest college calls the Big Apple home, but with an annual price tag of just under $50,000, you may be shocked to learn the school in question isn’t New York City’s only Ivy League institution, Columbia, nor is it NYU.

Want to Study Entrepreneurship? How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck [Young Entrepreneur]
So many would-be college students pick their school based on anything but their future career. But if you want to learn about becoming an entrepreneur, you need to do your research both before and after you arrive on campus. Greg at Young Entrepreneur outlines his tips for picking a strong business program.

Paying Off Your Student Loans in Your First Year [Green Panda Tree House]
Over at Green Panda Tree House, MD argues that it is possible to seriously crush your debt right out of school, even if you don’t land a six-figure salary at your first job.