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It Matters to You – Completing Your Exit Interview is Critical

Diploma almost in hand, most college graduates are anxious to start a career. So, why is it necessary for soon-to-be graduates to complete a college exit interview?

The answer is simple: before graduation or after dropping below half-time attendance, federal regulations require students having federal student loans to complete an exit counseling session.

Paying Your Student Loans is Serious Business

The reality is – loans must be repaid – even if you don’t complete college or find a job in your chosen field.

The purpose of the exit counseling session is to give students a better understanding of their student loans and provide general information about managing finances. Soon-to-be-grads learn about repayment plan options, consolidation, deferment and forbearance as well as borrower rights and responsibilities and the consequences of defaulting. Some colleges in New York are choosing to include additional counseling or workshops in an effort to teach borrowers financial management and budgeting skills.

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Paying Loans Affects the Rest of Your Life

Your first job, first apartment, perhaps a first car payment and your student loan all impact the quality of life you experience after college. Life after college, whether you move back home with your parents or to your own place, requires a budget to help you live within your means and manage your payments.

The college financial aid office may be able to help you plan a personal budget or you can use an online budget calculator found at www.hesc.ny.gov. There’s also a debt/salary wizard to help you determine how much income you need to meet your student loan obligation.

Creating and sticking to a budget will put control of your finances in your hands so you can make informed decisions about your income and your current and future expenditures.

What if You Can’t Pay?

If you are late paying your student loans, you are delinquent; or if you don’t pay them at all, you will be considered in default and your entire balance may become due. Defaulting has serious consequences.

But it doesn’t have to happen. You may have special circumstances that make you eligible for other repayment options, including forbearance and deferment. Even if you’re in default, there’s still help through a variety of programs.

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Helpful Tips

Planning, organization and communication are the keys to managing your student loans. Here are some helpful tips to keep on top of your loans:

reviewed 4/18/2011

Listen to a podcast: Seven Ways to Manage Your Student Loan Debt