It may seem like a lifetime ago or only last month that you were celebrating the end of college. You were looking forward to the next step.

If you’re about to start debt repayment or are struggling to keep up with loan payments, we’ve got your back!

While there isn’t a Loan Forgiveness Fairy, there are some student loan repayment strategies you can use to reduce financial stress.

What Do You Owe?

Here is where your organizational skills come into play. Create a file, drawer, box or another safe place to organize your student loan paperwork. This is the first step to conquering student loan debt.

You probably have a good idea of the ballpark figure of your student loans. Or if you have already begun repayment, you may know exactly where you now stand on repayment.

For federal loans, the National Student Loan Data System captures excellent information. It tracks loan amounts, interest rates, and payment schedules.

This is the same site used to apply for federal student aid and requires an FSA ID. You can use the one you used when you first applied through the FAFSA. Or you can create if you have not visited the site since May 2015.

Tracking Your Loans

There are complaints that the website is out of date. It sometimes lags 120 days behind payments or charges.

Even if you use the Federal Government’s platform, you should also set up your own system to stay on track. We recommend using Excel, Word, or any other platform you are comfortable with.

Whatever method you use, create a tracking system that is informational and motivational.

Tip: Some people even create posters to show progress toward achieving a specific goal. In this case, of course, the goal is to pay off the student loan debt and get on with your life.

Mark points along the way, such as being at 25%, 50%, and 75% payoff points. They can be good visual reminders of your repayment accomplishment.

Verify Private Loan Information

If you have private loans, you have two options for organizing your info. You can either refer to the information you got at the beginning, or you can contact the lenders directly.

It is a good idea to verify current information. Interest charges and repayment schedules may have changed.

Credit Agencies and Reports

Next, check your credit report. You can request free credit reports from the three credit bureaus each year. They should have your loan information on file. Your credit report includes the amount you owe and lenders’ contact information.

Of course, if you are in default and are being hounded by a collection agency, you need to quit avoiding their calls. Instead, ask them to send you the information directly.

Collection agencies are required by law to provide you with this information. Be diligent in requesting and obtaining it.

Armed with the right information, you can review your loans. You can determine exactly what you owe and how your payments are structured.

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