Know Your Student Loan Servicer

KnowYourStudLnServicer

As you begin your life after college, you likely have several different responsibilities, from a new job to managing your own insurance and other activities. One important task is to get to know the servicer or servicers for your student loans.

What Is a Student Loan Servicer?

Your student loan servicer is the organization that handles customer service, including collecting and tracking your payments, for the loan. Depending on the number and type of your student loans, you may have one servicer or several.

Why Do I Need to Know Who My Servicer Is?

You need to be aware of your servicer for several reasons.

  1. You will soon need to start repaying your student loans, and you need to know where and when to send payment. You may also want to set up features, such as an online account and automatic withdrawals, that will help you manage your student loan payments.
  2. Your servicer can help you understand and choose from available payment plans. Most borrowers enter repayment under a standard payment plan that pays off the loan in equivalent monthly payments over the full term of the loan, but you may be able to choose a different plan that works better for your current situation. If you are entering the workforce at less than what you expected to earn, you may be able to make lower payments based on your income or according to a preset formula at first. If, on the other hand, you have the chance to make higher payments now before you have additional family, car and housing expenses, work with your servicer to determine the best way to pay down your debt.
  3. Your servicer may offer assistance if needed. If you don’t have or lose your income or you face another difficulty that makes student loan repayment challenging, you may be eligible to postpone payment. You will need to work with your servicer to understand your options and choose the one that works for you. Be aware that interest continues to accrue on student loans during repayment, and unpaid interest may capitalize, or be added to your principal balance, at the end of assistance. In certain cases, you may be eligible to have some or all your student loan debt forgiven, and your servicer can help with that as well.

How Do I Locate My Servicer?

Your servicer may be the entity that provided your loan or it may be a separate entity that acts on behalf of the current owner of the loan.

  1. Determine if you have federal student loans. Often called Stafford or Direct loans, these loans are provided by the federal government and were likely included in the financial aid package you received from the college you attended.
  2. Use your FSA ID to log in to the National Student Loan Data System. If you filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid after May 2015, you probably created an FSA ID then. If it’s been some time since you filed a FAFSA, you may need to visit fsaid.ed.gov to create an ID. Then go to nslds.ed.gov to log in and view your federal loan information, including the servicer.
  3. If you have private student loans you obtained from a bank, credit union or other lender to pay remaining college costs after your financial aid, refer to the information your lender provided when you took out the loan and progressed through school. As the due date for your first payment approaches, you will likely receive communications from the lender or servicer about how to make your payment.

If you can’t locate a private student loan servicer, contact the entity that lent you the money or your financial aid office. You may also be able to see your lender or servicer name on your credit report (remember to access a free report at annualcreditreport.com).

By: Iowa Student Loan

Everything You Need to Know Before Refinancing Your Student Loans

worried man and woman staring at a bill, text reads everything you need to know before refinancing your student loans

Student loans can be stressful, especially if you have a mix of federal and private loans all with different interest rates and terms. That’s a lot of information to keep track of month after month! If you fall into this category, refinancing might be a good option for you.

What is student loan refinancing? How does it work?

When you refinance your student loans, you receive a new private loan with a new interest rate to pay off your existing student loans. This is a great option for people who have private and federal student loans, but you can also refinance if you have just one or the other. Refinancing allows you to gather all or some of these loans into one new loan, often at a lower interest rate that will save you money.

pad of paper, text reads student loan refinancing

What is the different between refinancing and consolidation?

These two words are frequently used interchangeably but refinancing and consolidation are different. Consolidation typically refers to combining all your federal student loans into one new federal loan. It does not necessarily lower your interest rate as your current rates will be averaged and rounded into one new rate. Consolidation makes is easier to manage multiple federal payments. Learn more about federal loan consolidation from Federal Student Aid.

Should I refinance my student loans?

The biggest draw to refinancing is if you can lower the interest rate you’re currently paying and thus save money. It’s important to note that not everyone with student loans can save money. Before jumping into refinancing, spend some time determining if you can lower your interest rate and how much money you could actually save.

Because private student loans are not guaranteed by the government, private loan lenders take on more risk, so they typically look for candidates with good credit. If you’re a working adult with a decent income and pay your loans and other bills on time every month, you should consider refinancing. Look at lenders who are upfront with their loan details. At Iowa Student Loan, we’ll provide the different interest rates you’re eligible for based on your credit score and you don’t have to complete a full application to learn that.

What is a good student loan interest rate?

It can be difficult to tell if you’re getting a good rate on your student loans. The rates you’re eligible for will always vary based on your credit score and the terms of the loan. Typically, rates between 3.00% and 7.00% are good rates in today’s market. If you have a student loans with interest rates higher than 7.00%, you should definitely consider refinancing to see if you can receive better rates. Even if your current loans have rates between 5.00% and 7.00%, it may still makes sense for you to look into your refinancing options. Simply lowering your rate from around 5.50% to closer to 3.50% can make a significant difference in the amount you repay over the life of your loan.

How much student loan debt can I refinance?

This varies depending on the lender. Iowa Student Loan will refinance up to $200,000 in education debt. Be sure to research this before you choose a lender.

Is refinancing worth it? What are the risks?

Refinancing can help you save money and simplify student loan repayment, but there are some risks to consider before refinancing. The biggest risk to keep in mind is if you choose to refinance federal loans into a private loan, you will lose the federal loan benefits. It’s important to understand these benefits before you make any decisions regarding your federal loans.

What does this mean? Federal student loans come with more options for repayment, such as income-driven repayment plans, which use a borrower’s income and family size to determine the minimum monthly payment amount. Federal student loans also include more deferment and forbearance options as well as loan forgiveness programs for certain borrowers. These vary depending on the specific loan, but if you choose to refinance federal loans into a private loan, you will forfeit the federal benefits. If you do not foresee any difficulty paying your minimum payments, then refinancing is a viable option. It’s important to note that if you have federal PLUS Loans for parents, those loans do not offer the same federal benefits as federal loans made to student borrowers.

How do I refinance my student loans?

If you determine that you’re a good candidate for refinancing, you should shop around for the best refinancing option. Many lenders will ask you for some personal information (like your name, address and Social Security number) to give you an idea of the rates you’re eligible for and to pre-qualify you for their loan. After you’ve chosen the best fit, you will submit an application to officially be approved for refinancing.

graphic with text that reads credit score, income and debt-to-income ratio

Lenders look at a few main factors when you apply to refinance. As with most loans, they consider your credit score, income and your debt-to-income ratio. Before refinancing, you may want to look at your credit score to see if you are eligible for better rates. But understand that your credit score varies by different rating agencies and the calculation that is used, so they credit score you see from one source may not match the one the lender uses. It is also a good idea to limit other debt, such as credit cards, if possible. Lenders want to know you will be able to repay your new loan.

Will refinancing my student loans hurt my credit score?

Refinancing your student loans will not hurt your credit score, as long as you don’t refinance multiple times in a short period. When you apply to refinance your student loans, the lender will perform a hard credit inquiry to view your credit history and score. This shows up on your credit score and multiple inquiries close together can have a negative impact.

However, this does not mean you shouldn’t look around and compare different rates. Getting pre-qualified for student loan refinancing to see potential rates typically does not involve a hard credit inquiry. Lenders typically do what is called a soft credit inquiry to get an idea of your credit history and those do not impact your credit score.

What else, besides interest rates, should I consider when refinancing?

Student loan interest rates are important, but they’re not the only consideration. You’ll want to understand the repayment terms and consider the services each lender offers, such as ways they accept payment and if assistance, should you need it, is an option. If a lender has a reputation for being difficult to communicate with, this can be a major deterrent even if their rates are competitive.

Can I refinance my loans with Iowa Student Loan?

If you’re a good candidate for refinancing, we want to help you save money. Complete our pre-qualification process to see what rates you can receive. There’s no credit impact to pre-qualify, and you only have to answer nine quick questions to reset your student loans and reduce your stress!

Find Out If You Prequalify Now

By: Iowa Student Loan

Making the Leap: Financially Preparing for College Life

The first year of college may bring a lot of new experiences, and for many, this includes the need to budget a limited income for the first time. Earnings from a summer job can provide financial help for the school year as well as the opportunity to learn how to be financially independent.

Follow these five steps to make the most of the opportunity this summer.

1. Take time to really understand the financial aid package. Make sure you have a good idea of expected aid and how much college will cost for the student as well as the parents or other financial supporters.

  • Each college provides set costs for tuition, fees, room and board, and expected expenditures like books and transportation.
  • In addition, families often face additional expenses that either add up over time or weren’t expected.
  • How much awarded financial aid is gift aid? Grants and scholarships do not need to be paid back and fall into this category. Be aware, though, that many awards are one-time gifts and are not renewable for future years.
  • Is work-study reliable? Work-study awards are dependent on the student finding a qualified position and receiving the wage and hours required to total the award. Check the college’s website for a job board or financial aid section to gather information. Social media can also provide insight on whether students are able to find adequate work-study jobs.
  • Remember that loans must be paid back, with interest. It may help to calculate an expected monthly payment for anticipated college loans and compare that to average monthly payments for a car, house or other major expenses.

2. Track spending. Keeping track of purchases for a week or a month helps indicate where and on what most spending occurs.

  • Apps like Mint and tools like banking or card statements can be helpful.
  • A pattern of where spending can be cut or reduced may start to become clear.

3. Set up a basic budget. Budgets compare income and other funds to monthly expenses to keep consumers from spending more money than they have.

  • Take into account taxes and other deductions that will be removed from gross earnings. A site like PaycheckCity can help estimate these.
  • Divide up expenses into general categories based on typical spending.
  • Consider how spending will change once the academic term begins.

4. Plan out a monthly budget. Use realistic numbers to calculate an in-school budget.

  • Don’t forget that earnings will need to cover expenses for the remainder of the summer plus the entire academic year, unless the student also works while taking classes.
  • If a school-year job with the desired hours or pay doesn’t happen, or if it’s necessary to reduce hours to concentrate on schoolwork, each dollar may have to go further.
  • If parents are contributing to expenses, how will that happen? Options include a one-time gift intended to last through the school year, a monthly deposit into a checking account, a shared credit card account for certain purchases, or another method.

5. Evaluate the results. Adjustments may be required, based on the initial budget and events that occur later.

By: Iowa Student Loan

How to Pay off Student Loans Smarter (And Faster)

an excited college graduate, text reads pay off your student loans smarter (nd faster

Have you ever felt like you’ll be repaying student loans your entire life? You’re not alone. Racking up student loan debt can seem like the end of the world, but there are many manageable ways to chip away at your debt. With these tips, you can work toward paying off your student loans faster.

Pay More than Your Minimum Student Loan Payment

One of the most effective ways to pay your student loans off quicker is to pay extra money each month. Paying your minimum required amount might be enough to keep you in good standing but that means it will still take you the entire repayment term to get out of debt.

Adding just a little extra money each month can make a huge difference, and if you have the disposable income to pay an additional amount each month you’ll save money on interest and time in repayment.

Make Additional Student Loan Payments Throughout the Year

If putting extra money toward your student loans each month is unattainable, you can instead make a few extra payments throughout the year. This is a great place to start if you’re still trying to figure out just how much you have left over in your budget each month. Set a goal to make an extra payment once every three or six months and slowly reduce your student loan debt.

Make Some Extra Money to Put Toward Student Loans

If you feel like you don’t have enough income to contribute extra to your student loan payments, consider getting a part-time job to help with your budget. The best kind of part-time job is one where you get to do something you enjoy. For some people that means taking up tutoring, babysitting or music lessons. Others prefer to work at a restaurant or get a job at the mall (did somebody say discount?). Find something that works well with your lifestyle and schedule.

Just remember to make a plan to manage your money. Come up with a schedule for saving money or putting it directly toward the balance of a loan as you reach a certain amount. It can be too easy to spend money that is designated for loans if it’s just sitting around, so make sure you develop a good system for accountability.

Creative Ways to Make Extra Money

If you don’t want to commit to a part-time job, try a more creative way to make money. Driving for Uber or Lyft allows you to earn some extra cash on your own time, without an ongoing commitment. Or, you may be able to find freelancing work on different websites that fit with your skills. These are just a few of the more unique ways to make extra money to put toward your student loans debt.

See if Loan Forgiveness Is an Option

Loan forgiveness is not necessarily too good to be true! Not all people are eligible for this benefit, but some careers are eligible for loan forgiveness. And if you’re eligible, loan forgiveness can save you thousands of dollars.

The federal government offers several loan forgiveness programs depending on your career and types of debt. Be sure to use a reputable source for information on federal student loan forgiveness programs, like the Federal Student Aid website.

Many states also offer loan forgiveness programs for teachers, nurses and workers in other high-demand but lower paying fields. Be sure to check out what the state you live in offers as far as loan forgiveness programs. Another source is the financial aid office at the college or university you attended; as those experts can help you find loan forgiveness or grant programs.

Don’t Blow Raises and Bonuses

Everyone loves getting a bonus or raise at work. You can put this money to good use by paying off your student loans. If you receive an unexpected bonus or raise and are not relying on the money for anything specific, put it directly toward the balance on your loans. These can really help to reduce your debt and won’t even break the bank.

Budget to Save Money in Other Areas

Not sure how people manage to have left over money after bills, loans and fun? You should try out budgeting! Budgeting is great because it establishes boundaries for your spending and helps you keep track of where your money is going. When you’re not tracking your spending, you might not even realize just how much you’re spending on silly things.

Once you’re actively managing your spending, you’re more accountable and you’ll likely find you have more money to spend — money that you can put toward paying off loans, saving or investing. Making small changes is the best place to start. Consider cooking more at home to save on eating out, making coffee at home instead of stopping on your way to work or renting a movie instead of seeing one in the theater. This monthly budget calculator can help you get started.

Refinancing Student Loans to Save

Refinancing is another great option for paying off loans quicker. When you refinance your student loans, you could get a lower interest rate, which would mean less of your payment goes to interest and more goes toward the principal balance.

Refinancing is one of the most effective ways to save money on your loans and pay them off quicker without breaking the bank. Plus, it’s simple! Complete our pre-qualification process to see if you qualify to refinance and discover what rates you could receive.

Find Out If You Prequalify Now

By: Iowa Student Loan

Seven Reasons to Seek Seasonal Employment (Infographic)

7ReasonsSeekSeasonalEmploy-infographic

Download this infographic as a PDF

As you consider summer employment, you may want to look for seasonal opportunities. Working for an organization that does a large part of its business during a specific time of year can be especially suitable for college students. Here’s why.

1. Work during school breaks.

If you carry a heavy course load or need to dedicate a lot of time to your academics to maintain a specific GPA, it may be difficult to fit in a part-time job during the school year. Seasonal employment, however, is often at its peak during the holidays or the summer, fitting nicely into the slots between academic terms. You may even consider a combination, such as working retail over the winter break and working at a resort in the summer.

2. Work over several years.

Once you’ve worked your first season, and especially if you performed well, you can often count on returning to the same place in future seasons. As a bonus, because you have experience, you may find yourself earning more and taking on more responsibility supervising newer workers.

3. Fill gaps in your regular employment.

If you work on campus or for a local establishment that relies on student or faculty patronage through the school year, seasonal work can provide extra hours and cash when that job slows down.

4. Try on your future career.

Many seasonal jobs can be tied to career goals and provide a good opportunity to experience work in your chosen field. Farm and landscaping work abounds for students interested in agriculture or horticulture. Conservation students may be able to find work at a fishing lodge or forestry station. Education majors are in demand as counselors for summer camps. Resorts often look for summer staff to work with the public.

5. Maximize your available time.

Because certain seasonal and recreational establishments do not need to pay overtime to workers, you may be able to work much more than 40 hours a week. Besides accumulating more cash, you may find that you spend less because of your location or work hours.

6. Live inexpensively.

Depending on the work and location, seasonal employers may provide housing at reduced or no charge for workers. If you normally live on campus or are able to sublet your off-campus housing, this means you can earn money throughout the season without a large housing expense.

7. Find new peers.

The appeal of your seasonal work will draw other students, perhaps from other states or regions, who share your values and goals. This is your chance to develop a network of peers who are interested in the same things you are.

By: Iowa Student Loan

How to Keep Student Loan Debt From Taking Over Your Life

man with empty pockets, text reads how to keep student debt from taking over your life

So, you graduated college, and now you have a degree, a job and mounds of student loan debt. You’re not alone. Student loans can seem daunting and you may have to do more than cut out a Starbucks run here or there, but student loans do not have to take over your life! Understanding your student loans is the best way to conquer them. Here are some common student loan repayment questions and answers.

graphic of student loan bill, calculator, money and other items

When are my first student loan payments due?

This depends on the type of loan. Most federal student loans have a six-month grace period. This means, for the first six months after graduation or leaving school, you will not need to make loan payments. In addition, many private loan lenders offer a similar automatic deferment period, sometimes called a separation period, after college. However, this is not the case for all loans. Private loans that required full principal and interest payments or interest-only payments throughout college usually don’t have a separation period.

You may have loans with different requirements. Check your promissory notes or credit agreements to see if you have a grace or separation period. It’s very important to understand when your first payment comes due for each loan. If you don’t know or don’t have your original loan documents, call your lender or loan servicer. This is also a good time to ask what your minimum monthly payment is if you don’t already know. If possible, it’s a good idea to begin making payments of some amount during your grace period to save money and time in repayment. Being prepared with this information will give you time to plan ahead so you don’t miss your first payment.

How do I start paying off my student loans?

Starting something brand new, like paying off loans, can be very overwhelming. If you have a variety of student loans, figuring out who to pay and how much you owe is even more complicated. Like many students, you may have taken out both private and federal student loans with different terms.

Once you’re no longer in your grace period, the first step to managing your loans is organizing and understanding each loan you have. To begin, create an accurate list of all your loans, including interest rates, the repayment term length, the minimum monthly payment amount, and the lenders’ or loan servicers’ contact information. You may want to keep track of this information in a notebook or spreadsheet that you can easily access for reference. If you’re not sure if your loans are private or federal, don’t worry, you are not alone.

Some common types of federal loans include:

  • Stafford Loans (subsidized or unsubsidized)
  • Perkins Loans
  • Federal Direct Loans (subsidized or unsubsidized)
  • Parent PLUS Loans
  • Grad PLUS Loans

How much time do I have to pay off my student loans?

This depends on the repayment terms of your loans. Most federal student loans have repayment terms of 10 years with longer terms available for larger balances. Private student loan repayment terms vary by lender but generally are between 10 and 20 years.

In addition, there are different repayment plan options. Standard repayment plans usually require consistent monthly payment amounts, depending on if the loan’s interest rate is fixed or variable, and generally help you pay the least amount of interest over the life of the loan. Graduated repayment plans start with a lower payment amount that gradually increases over time. The graduated plan can be helpful for those just starting in their careers with limited incomes. Remember, however, you will be paying more interest on a graduated repayment plan, so if you need to use this type of plan, any extra payments you can make will help decrease the overall amount you will have to pay over time.

If you’d like to pay off your loans sooner, the good news is, just because your repayment term is for 10 years doesn’t mean it has to take you that long! Budgeting will help you save money in the long run so you can work on paying your loans off sooner.

jars with money saved in them labelled debt, savings and invest

How do I budget for my student loans?

This is exactly the right question to ask! To have the best possible handle on your loans, it’s necessary to budget around your loans. Start with determining your monthly income and subtracting your minimum monthly student loan payment amounts. This will give you a sense of how much money you have left over for other expenses and entertainment. You can use an online monthly budget calculator so you know where your money is going each month.

Making your budget balance may take a few tries. If you come in negative, you’ll have to adjust your expenses or develop a plan for more income. Saving is important, but don’t forget to budget a little bit of money for fun in your life.

Which student loans should I pay off first?

You should always pay your minimum monthly payments on time for every loan. If you have extra money to put toward student loan payments, it’s best to put that extra toward the loans with the highest rates first. Loans with high interest rates will cost you the most money in the long run. If those rates are also variable, you may want to focus on those too as interest rates in general have been rising over the last year and that is impacting variable rates. If you have a mix of private, subsidized and unsubsidized loans, PLUS or Grad PLUS loans, determine which loans have the highest rates or balances and focus extra payments to those first.

How do I save and pay off my student loans? Which should I do first?

If you have money left over after paying your minimum monthly payments, you might want to split it between savings and extra loan payments. Applying additional money above your minimum payment amount will help pay your loans off quicker. While it’s important to pay off loans, especially high interest loans, it is also a good idea to have a safety net for emergencies. Work on building an emergency fund that covers three to six months of expenses.

Also, consider any big events or purchases that are coming up in your life as they may shift your priorities. If you are getting married or want to buy a house, make sure you start to budget for these future expenses.

How do I save money for retirement while paying off student loans?

The best way to save money for retirement is to take advantage of employer-sponsored retirement programs. If your company offers 401(k) with match, you basically earn free money simply by contributing. Most financial experts recommend that you contribute at least as much as your employer will match to maximize money going toward retirement.

Can I buy a house if I have student loans?

Mortgage lenders generally look at your credit score and debt-to-income ratio (DTI) and consider your down payment when determining whether to approve an application, so focus on these areas to make yourself an attractive candidate for lending.

A high DTI can make it harder to obtain a mortgage. One way to lower your debt-to-income ratio while you have student loans is to pay off other types of debt such as high-interest credit cards or car loans.

While you may not be able to purchase your dream home just yet, begin by looking at starter homes that are within your means and start saving for your down payment. You may also want to consider government programs that help first-time home buyers and individuals who want to buy a home but are struggling with student loan debt.

How do I lower my student loan payments?

If you have private student loans, or a mix of federal and private, you may be able to lower your monthly payments by refinancing. While you may need a creditworthy cosigner if you haven’t established much credit, refinancing can be worth it in savings. The federal government also offers a consolidation program for federal student loans only, although it doesn’t typically lower interest rates as the existing rates are instead averaged.

By consolidating your loans and refinancing, you may be eligible for a lower interest rate that can save you thousands of dollars, so you have more money to live your life. To find out if you prequalify for refinancing with Iowa Student Loan, complete our simple pre-qualification process!

Find Out If You Prequalify Now

By: Iowa Student Loan

Seven Tips for Summer Internships

7-Tips-Summer-Internships

Interning during college can help you prepare for the job market as you gain important skills and contacts. These tips will help you get started.

Cast a wide net.
This is your opportunity to explore careers and employers, or take on a dream job, before settling down to your permanent career. Consider organizations like the FBI, Disney, MGM, Marvel Comics or the Jane Goodall Institute.

Combine two of your goals.
Many college students gain a global perspective through a study abroad program. Similar work abroad programs can help you gain a new perspective on another culture as well as apply your studies in new ways. Start with your campus study abroad office to learn about reputable organizations and needed documentation or other requirements to work in another country.

Know what you want to gain.
You can use an internship to define or affirm existing goals, set new ones, earn money or academic credit, meet potential contacts or mentors, gain entry to a coveted employer, or all of the above. Define your goals for your internship so you know which potential employers and workplaces to focus on.

Know what you offer.
Internships, especially paid positions, can be competitive. Be prepared to treat the search and acquisition of an internship just like you would a job: prepare a resume and cover letters, interview professionally and sell your skills and enthusiasm.

Ask for help.
Besides searching for internships online and through your campus career office, let family and friends, former employers and teachers, and others know you’re looking for certain types of internships. These connections can help pave the way with their acquaintances if needed.

Be flexible and reliable.
Some internship providers will have set projects that will help you gain important skills, while others may not know exactly what to do with you. Be prepared to accept projects or tasks others don’t have the time or desire to complete. Use the opportunity to learn more about the inside workings of the organization, make connections and develop suggestions for improvement.

Meet the requirements for credit.
You may be able to earn academic credit for an internship. Work with your campus career office or the related academic department to determine if you need to meet certain prerequisites, complete required paperwork or turn in a project or report to earn credit.

By: Iowa Student Loan

Maximize Your Graduation Money

MaximizeYourGradMoney

Your high school graduation is an occasion to reflect on past accomplishments and prepare for a new adventure in college. It can also be a veritable gold mine.

As college becomes increasingly expensive, many of your family and friends may opt to give you a gift of cash to help you offset your costs. While it might be tempting to use that newfound cash to upgrade your phone or gaming system, you could use that money in ways that will better help you prepare for college. Here are some ideas to make the most of monetary gifts you receive.

If you have: You could:
$50–$100
  • Get a haircut.
  • Have the oil changed in your car.
  • Buy a few dorm or personal care items.
  • Pick up an interview outfit.
  • Buy paper, pens and other supplies.
$100–$500
  • Rent some of your required books.
  • Pay for a campus parking permit.
  • Buy a bike to get around campus.
  • Pay program fees or club dues.
$500–$1,000
  • Get a computer or other electronics you need.
  • Put money toward your tuition bill.
  • Buy plane tickets to come home at the semester break.
  • Save for a rental deposit if you plan to live off campus next year.
  • Pay major- or activity-specific fees.
$1,000–$5,000
  • Save to use toward future tuition and fees.
  • Buy textbooks and supplies for one year.
  • Pay a summer’s rent for an off-campus house or apartment.
  • Cover fraternity or sorority dues and other expenses.
  • Cover insurance deductibles for a car or medical emergency.

By: Iowa Student Loan

Before the Next Big Step: What to Do After Graduation

It may seem like everyone else has it all figured out, and you are undoubtedly tired of the question “What will you do after graduation?” But, if your plans are not yet set as the big ceremony approaches, be assured you are not the first or last to be in this situation.

Whether you’re a new high school grad who isn’t sure about college or you’ve finished a college degree but haven’t been able to land the job you want, here are some suggestions for what to do until you’re able to take the next big step:

Keep Working Toward Your Goals
Don’t let inertia or rejection take over your attitude. Continue working on ways to improve your chances of getting the job you want or being admitted to your desired college.

  • Continue to send out resumes or explore education options.
  • Work on your soft skills, like communication techniques, teamwork, initiative and creative thinking.
  • Review your resume and practice interviews with a professional.
  • Clean up social media accounts.

Volunteer
Opportunities abound to provide service to those who need it. Check out volunteer options that help you expand your horizons and suit your interests. Many volunteer opportunity and matching sites are available online, including:

  • Createthegood.org
  • Dosomething.org
  • Unitedway.org
  • Volunteer.gov
  • Volunteermatch.org

Work
You may have student loans to repay or other expenses, so consider working even if you haven’t found an ideal job. You can:

  • Work one or more part-time jobs that provide skills related to your career choice.
  • Try out a type of career you haven’t previously considered.
  • Provide freelance or consulting services in a field you have knowledge in.
  • Start your own company.
  • Teach something you have a passion for, such as yoga, skiing or beginning coding.

Take a Short-Term Position
Although many opportunities are designed strictly for current college students, you may be able to find paid or unpaid positions.

  • Find an internship related to your degree or in a completely different field you’d like to try out.
  • Apprenticeships may be available to recent college graduates and can offer a good chance to break into a specific job market.
  • Research assistantships are available in both scientific and non-scientific fields.

Travel
This may be your best opportunity to explore the country and the world, before you are committed to a full-time job, settle down with a partner and children, and have social and financial obligations that would prevent it.

  • Work abroad as a nanny, an English teacher or in another capacity.
  • Get a job on a cruise ship or train as an airline attendant.
  • Join a program like Peace Corps, Americorps, GoAbroad or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.
  • Become a tourist or adventure guide.

Get a Degree
Even if you’ve already earned a college degree, you may want to continue your education if you have the funds and time.

  • Retrain in a different major or field.
  • Take continuing education classes.
  • Go back to school to get an advanced degree.

Have an Adventure
Like travel, an adventure may be best experienced while you don’t have too many other obligations. Options are limited only by your imagination and come with varying levels of risk and financial commitment.

  • Fix up a house.
  • Audition for a reality show.
  • Take a commercial fishing job.
  • Become a roadie for a band on tour.

By: Iowa Student Loan

Iowa Families Can Win Cash for Educational Expenses – Register by May 11

Iowa high school students and their families can enter weekly drawings for two $250 awards, and Iowa high school seniors can enter a grand prize drawing for two $1,500 awards by completing a free online tool that helps them estimate the total cost of a four-year undergraduate degree.

Learn more and enter the giveaway today!

Iowa high school students, and their parents or guardians, can enter their information for the drawings after completing the College Funding Forecaster until May 11. The free online tool provided by Iowa Student Loan uses information from students’ freshman year financial aid award packets, as well as outside scholarships and grants and family savings and earnings, to project estimated costs, funding gaps and potential student loan debt over four years.

“We want to help families make the connection between first-year costs and the total financial investment in a college education,” said Steve McCullough, president and CEO of Iowa Student Loan. “This tool helps them see how their costs might increase, what happens when one-year scholarship awards are exhausted, and how the family and student contributions can play a role in reducing overall costs.”

The tool allows families to customize both expenses and available funding to adjust results for changes in students’ situations over the four years. The results show yearly and total estimated costs of attendance, available funding and projected funding gaps. The tool also provides informational tips on how to reduce costs and potential debt.

After viewing their results, users have the opportunity to enter the drawings. Two names will be drawn each week to receive $250 awards for educational expenses. In a grand prize drawing, two names will also be drawn to each receive $1,500 for the students’ college expenses in fall 2017. The grand prizes will be paid directly to the students’ colleges.

For details and complete rules for the giveaway, visit www.IowaStudentLoan.org/Giveaway. Or, to begin the College Funding Forecaster and enter the giveaway, go to www.IowaStudentLoan.org/Forecaster.

By: Iowa Student Loan

1 2 3 25