Student Loans: Pay Down or Hold Pat?

One of President Biden’s first executive directives after he took office was to extend the pause on federal student loan payments until September 30. The suspension is welcome news to borrowers who are experiencing economic hardships, and in some cases it could reduce the amount they owe.

During the moratorium, borrowers are credited for monthly payments for the purposes of loan forgiveness, even though they’re not making the payments. A borrower who was enrolled in the public service forgiveness program when the first moratorium was announced last March will be credited for 19 of the 120 credits required for loan forgiveness by September, according to Savi, a tech company that helps borrowers manage their student loans.

Similarly, borrowers who are participating in an income-driven repayment plan, which provides loan forgiveness at the end of a 20- to 25-year repayment term, will also get repayment credits during the moratorium, says Mark Kantrowitz, a financial aid expert and author of How to Appeal for More College Financial Aid.

For that reason, it doesn’t make sense for borrowers who are enrolled in one of these programs to make payments during the moratorium, “because that just reduces the amount of loan forgiveness you’re eligible to receive,” Kantrowitz says.

If you’re not eligible for loan forgiveness, making payments during the reprieve will go directly to the loan’s principal, which would reduce the amount you owe when payments resume. But before you tell your lender you want to make payments — which you’ll need to do, since the suspension is automatic — consider whether there are better uses for your money. You should first pay off any high-interest debt, such as credit card debt, and have at least enough in an emergency fund to cover half a year’s living expenses.


How Blogging Paid Off My Student Loans

How Blogging Helped With Paying Off Student Loans

How Blogging Helped With Paying Off Student LoansIn July of 2013, I finished paying off my student loans.

It was a fantastic feeling and something I still think about to this day. Even though I have a success story when it comes to paying off student loans, I know that many others struggle with their student loan debt every single day.

The average graduate of 2015 walked away with more than $35,000 in student loan debt, and not only is that number growing, the percentage of students expected to use students loans is on the rise. Plus, if you have a law or medical degree, your student loan debt may be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This is a ton of money and can be quite stressful.

After earning three college degrees, I had approximately $40,000 in student loan debt.

To some, that may sound like a crazy amount of money, and to others it may seem low. For me, it was too much.

At first, paying off student loans seemed like an impossible task, but it was an amount I didn’t want to live with for years or even decades. Due to that, I made a plan to pay them off as quickly as I could.

And, I succeeded.

I was able to pay off my student loans after just 7 months, and it was all due to my blog.

Yes, it was all because of my blog!

Without my blog, there is a chance I could still have student loans. My blog gave me a huge amount of motivation, allowed me to earn a side income in a fun way, and it allowed me to pay off my student loans very quickly.

I’m not saying you need to start a blog to help pay off your student loans, but you might want to look into starting a side hustle of some sort. Blogging is what worked for me, and it may work for you too.

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I believe that earning extra income can completely change your life for the better. You can stop living paycheck to paycheck, you can pay off your debt, reach your dreams, and more, all by earning extra money.

This blog changed my life in many other ways, besides just allowing me to pay off my student loans. It allowed me to quit a job I absolutely dreaded, start my own business, and now I earn over $50,000 a month through it.

If you are interested in starting a blog, I created a tutorial that will help you start a blog of your own for cheap, starting at only $2.95 per month (this low price is only through my link) for blog hosting. In addition to the low pricing, you will receive a free blog domain (a $15 value) through my Bluehost link when you purchase at least 12 months of blog hosting. FYI, you will want to be self-hosted if you want to learn how to make money with a blog.

Below is how blogging helped me pay off my student loans.

Quick background on my student loans.

In 2010 I graduated with two undergraduate degrees, took a short break from college, found a job as an analyst, and in 2012 I received my Finance MBA. Even though I worked full-time through all three of my degrees, I still took out student loans and put hardly anything towards my growing student loan debt.

Instead, I spent my money on food, clothing, a house that cost more than I probably should have been spending, and more. I wasn’t the best with money when I was younger, which led to me racking up student loan debt.

After receiving my undergraduate and graduate degrees, the total amount of student loans I accumulated was around $40,000.

Shortly after graduating with my MBA I created an action plan for eliminating my student loans, and in 7 months was able to pay them all off. It wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it.

The biggest reason for why I was able to pay off my student loans is because I earned as much money as I could outside of my day job. I mystery shopped and got paid to take surveys, but the biggest thing I did was I made an income through my blog.

I worked my butt off on my blog.

Any extra time I had would go towards growing my blog. I woke up early in the mornings, stayed up late at night, used lunch breaks at my day job, and I even used my vacation days to focus on my blog.

It was a huge commitment, but blogging is a lot of fun and the income was definitely worth it.

While I was working on paying off student loans, I earned anywhere from $5,000 to $11,000 monthly from my blog, and that was in addition to the income I was earning from my day job.

This helped me tremendously in being able to pay off my student loans, especially in such a short amount of time.

My blog allowed me to have a lot of fun.

One reason why I was able to work so much between my day job and my side hustling is that I made sure my side hustles were fun. Because I didn’t like my day job, I knew I just didn’t have it in me to work extra on something everyday if I didn’t enjoy it.

That’s where blogging came in.

Blogging is a ton of fun, and I have made many great friends. At times it can be challenging (the good type of challenging!) but also a lot of fun. I love when I receive an email from a reader about how I helped them pay off debt, gave them motivation, taught them about a certain side hustle, and more. Helping others along the way is another part of what really makes it worthwhile.

The fun I had blogging made it feel like a hobby, and that’s why I was able to put a crazy number of hours into it.

I focused on growing and improving my blog.

I knew I had to keep earning a good income online in order to pay off my student loan debt, so I made sure that I spent time growing and improving my blog as well. Since I love blogging so much, this was a fun task for me.

Improving my blog included learning about social media, growing my website, knowing what my readers want, producing high-quality content, keeping up with changes in the blogging world (things change a lot!), and more.

I put nearly every cent from side hustling towards paying off student loans.

One thing I did with the extra income I earned each month was putting as much of it as I could towards paying off student loans, and this way I wasn’t tempted to spend the income on something else.

So, as I earned money from my blog, I put it towards paying off student loans as quickly as I could.

This is probably easier said than done, though.

When you start earning a side income it can be very tempting to buy yourself some things. After all, you are tired, you have been working a lot, and therefore you may justify purchases to yourself.

But before you know it, you may have just a fraction of what you’ve earned left and able to put towards paying off your student loans.

It’s better to think about WHY you are side hustling and put a majority of the income you earn towards that instead.

I stayed positive when paying off student loans.

It was hard to manage everything. I was working around 100 hours each week between my day job and my side jobs, which left little time for sleep or seeing loved ones.

Luckily, I love blogging and that made it much easier to spend so much time on my blog. Watching my student loans get paid off and the debt going down was a huge motivator.

At first I thought it was impossible, and now I know it wasn’t!

Paying off my student loan debt has been one of the best choices I have ever made.

Do you have student loan debt? How are you paying off student loans?

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How Cosigning On a Student Loan Could Impact Your Finances

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While college students can get their own federal student loans without a cosigner in most cases, there are some situations where a cosigner is required. Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans, for example, can actually be taken out on behalf of dependents to help pay for higher education. Students can also apply for private student loans to pay for college. These loans tend to have high credit requirements that make it difficult for young people to qualify on their own.

But should you really cosign on student loans for your child? And should you cosign on any loans they can’t qualify for on their own? You can certainly consider it, but it helps to enter the situation with eyes wide open and understand all the pros and cons. 

The main advantage of cosigning is the fact that you’re helping your child (or dependent) pay for higher education when they may not be able to otherwise. However, it can also be a huge risk. Here’s everything you need to know before you sign on the dotted line.

You’re obligated to repay the debt no matter what

Whether you take on a Parent PLUS loan or you cosign with your child for a private student loan, the first thing you have to understand is that, no matter what, you’re obligated to pay that debt back. If your child stops making payments, you’ll be required to make them. If your child flat-out refuses to get a job and completely defaults on their responsibilities, you will need to repay that loan.

Cosigning on a student loan is similar to buying a house with someone or cosigning on a car loan. You’re both jointly responsible for repayment regardless of what the other person does. That can be a huge problem if your child doesn’t take their bills very seriously, but it may not be an issue if they treat their credit with care and stay on top of their bills.

Student loans are almost never discharged in bankruptcy

Another detail to understand is the fact that student loans are rarely ever discharged in bankruptcy. For the most part, they’ll stick around forever unless the borrower dies or you can prove you have some inescapable hardship. 

As a parent, you’re probably trying to save for retirement and reach other financial goals, so it’s important to understand that the student loans you cosign for will never go away until you pay them off — once and for all.

There’s no going back

When you cosign on a student loan, you can’t just change your mind and back out of the deal. Your child may be able to refinance their student loans in their name, but only if their credit score is good enough to qualify for student loan refinancing on their own. And if that was the case, they wouldn’t have needed a cosigner in the first place.

Your finances may be perfectly fine right now, but you should think through how they may be in five or 10 years. If you’re nearing retirement, you may not want to put yourself in a situation where you’ll be stuck paying off a child’s student loans. Plus, you never know how your health will be or the status of your career several years from now. Cosigning for student loans leaves you on the hook no matter what, and it’s hard to change that after the fact. 

Cosigning on a loan could affect your credit score

When you cosign on a student loan, you have to remember that you’re jointly accepting responsibility for the debt and any consequences that arise out of late payments or delinquency. So you should only cosign if you know your child or dependent is dedicated to paying their bills on time and avoiding default at all costs.

If you’re not paying attention, you could easily take a huge hit to your credit score without even knowing. Since payment history makes up 35 percent of your FICO score, it’s easy to see how even one late payment could cause major damage. Just think of what could happen if the student loans you cosigned for were paid late month after month. If you’re not also receiving a bill in the mail, you may not find out until the damage is already done.

The bottom line

There are situations where it can make sense to cosign on a student loan, but this decision should never be taken lightly. You may be helping your child earn their degree, but you’re taking a significant risk. (See also: Should You Co-Sign a Loan?)

You may want to assess the career field they plan to enter into and figure out how much they might earn upon graduation before you cosign. Some fields have plenty of promise right now, while others offer almost none, and you should know either way before you make any type of financial commitment. Maybe your college student could even spend time improving their credit score so they can qualify for student loans on their own. 

Cosigning on student loans should be a last resort for parents, not an easy fix for students who don’t take time to consider all their options. 

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Cosigning on a student loan can be a huge risk. Here’s everything you need to know how cosigning on your students college loan can impact your personal finances. | #finances #personalfinance #studentdebt


Can You Consolidate Private Student Loans?

You can consolidate private student loan debt, but the process is usually referred to as refinancing.

Student loan refinancing is a financial move you make to combine all of your existing loans with a new rate and loan term. You can refinance through a private credit union, bank or online lender. Moving forward, you will make payments to that lender on the new single loan, which makes it easier to manage your debt.

Refinancing is different from federal student loan consolidation, which applies only to federal student loans and is done through the federal government. Consolidation is a step required to be eligible for income-driven repayment plans.

Ideally you’ll refinance your private student loans at a lower interest rate, which can lower your monthly payment and save money on interest overall. A lender will look at your entire financial history (credit score, income, job history and education) to come up with your new interest rate. Typical interest rates range from 2% to more than 9%.

To get the best refinancing rate you’ll need:

  • Good or excellent credit, generally defined as credit scores of 690 or higher.

  • A stable job with a steady income.

  • Access to a co-signer who can meet the above criteria, if you can’t.

You’ll have multiple terms to choose from. A longer repayment term means lower monthly payments, but you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan. Conversely, a shorter repayment term means you’ll pay off your loans faster and pay less in interest, but your monthly payments will be higher.

You can refinance both private and federal student loans, but it’s not always recommended. That’s because federal student loans offer income-driven repayment plans that most private lenders don’t, along with opportunities for forgiveness.


What to Bring to College—The Ultimate Packing List

After the stress of submitting college applications and waiting for the results, an exciting task for preparing for college comes next: packing.

Of course, figuring out what to bring to college can cause some angst, but it’s also a liberating beginning to a brand-new chapter. Preparing for this new experience doesn’t have to be a struggle.

Here is a breakdown of things that college freshmen should plan on bringing with them.

School Supplies

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the only necessary supplies are a laptop and phone. Additional supplies can help students manage their college courses.

Writing information down can help you remember it better , and it can be less distracting having school information in a physical planner, away from all those social media apps.

When it comes to taking notes, some professors don’t want everyone on their computers during class, and some don’t mind. It’s a good idea to have a notebook for each class just in case, along with pens, pencils, and highlighters.

Check the specific course requirements as well. The syllabus for each class should be available early enough to read through and see if the professor lists any required materials. If you’re taking a math class, for example, a specific type of calculator may be required.

Depending on how many books students have to lug around campus, they may want to invest in a nice backpack or messenger-style bag. The most suitable bag will also depend on students’ schedule, how long they’re on campus, and how many classes they have in a row.

It might be good to wait to choose this item after you’ve selected your courses and can see what each day is going to require.

Shower Supplies

Students who choose to live in the dorms will need to bring shower supplies with them. Sharing a bathroom is going to be another adjustment in starting college. There are a few must-haves for a comfortable experience.

Shower shoes are one of these musts. A cheap pair of flip-flops will do the trick. These are shoes that are worn only while taking a shower. What’s the deal? They help to prevent athlete’s foot, a fungal infection that can result from public showers. Just make sure to rinse and dry off the shoes after each use.

A shower caddy is another essential. Most students will likely be walking from the dorm room to the shower, so they’ll have to bring all shower supplies with them. A portable container makes this much easier.

The caddy will have room for your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and so on, and some of them also come with hangers, so they could potentially be hung up in the shower. In choosing a shower caddy, look for one that is waterproof and has holes in it so it doesn’t fill up with water.

Last, don’t forget the towels. At home, there’s always a stack of clean towels ready to be used. This won’t be the case in the dorms.

In addition to towels, it might be handy to have a robe that can be thrown on while walking from the dorm room to the bathroom and back.


Hopefully, students already have a solid array of clothes to choose from. If they’re moving out of state for college, they definitely should check what the weather will be like all year in their new home. If students are used to living in a place where the weather doesn’t change much, they’ll have to add clothing to their wardrobe that’s appropriate for each season.

Dressing for college is more fun than high school for many because there isn’t a dress code. This is a great time for students to explore how they like to express themselves through clothing.

Some college students opt to be comfortable, rocking sweatpants to lectures. Others who are looking to make a good impression on professors—or romantic interests—may dress accordingly.

Don’t Forget Shoes

College campuses are much bigger than most high schools, so investing in a good pair of walking shoes is important. Classes may end up being a solid 15- to 20-minute walk away from each other.

It’ll take a toll on a student’s mood and physical comfort if they try to handle that walk in heels, unsupported sandals, or ill-fitting shoes.

Shoes take up a lot of space while packing, so trying to bring just the necessary pairs is wise. If your college is in a state that will experience cold or snowy winters, make sure to invest in some warm boots.

Bedding and Room Necessities

What else do students need to bring to a college dorm? Most dorm rooms will come with a bed but not sheets. Pack a couple of sets of sheets and a nice comforter. Some college students also recommend bringing a mattress pad and backrest pillow because you may spend more time in that bed than expected.

here’s a dorm room essentials list to figure out what else to bring. It’s vital to look into the school’s list of restricted items so you know what you should not bring to college. The college may also list the furnishings that come with the room. Check out your school’s website first so you don’t buy something that’s already there.

It can also be helpful for students to contact their roommates ahead of time and see if they’re planning to bring anything that could be shared.

It’s not a bad idea to pack on the light side. Most things you need can be ordered online anyway, so that way students won’t waste money.

Planning how to make the most of the small space provided in a college dorm is going to be great practice for when students are ready to move into apartments.

The Takeaway

The packing list has been made and the shopping trip planned, so what’s next? Paying for everything. There are a lot of options for financing the entire college experience, and students can try to get help from more than one avenue if they need to.

Students seeking financial aid should look into scholarships and grants and then federal aid. If federal student loans do not cover the full need, or if a student is not eligible for federal aid, private loans may be an option.

Private loans are issued by private financial institutions. A co-signer is often necessary. Look for loans that don’t have origination fees and offer extra services like co-signer release and hardship deferment.

To learn more, here is a guide to private student loans. Be aware that all the aid given cannot add up to more than the cost of attendance.

Families that decide that a private loan could be useful can see what SoFi has to offer. SoFi private student loans come with competitive rates, flexible repayment options, and no origination fees, no late fees, and no insufficient-funds fees.

Interested in a SoFi Private Student Loan? Check your rate with ease.

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SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs.
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Tips for Taking Online Classes Successfully

A new semester is usually a fresh opportunity to collaborate and hobnob, but 2020 and beyond will be remembered as the time when learning largely went online.

As the coronavirus pandemic caused an increasing number of colleges to abandon or delay plans to open campuses, a scramble to adapt ensued.

But adapt everyone must. Welcome to the epic socially distant epoch of higher education. Can a collegian still thrive? Yes. A student can learn how to be successful in online classes.

Types of Online Classes

When trying to come up with a plan for not just taking but succeeding with online classes, the first step is to determine whether classes will be fully remote or a hybrid.

Hybrid Approach

A hybrid course is a mix of in-person instruction and remote learning. The exact schedule will vary by school, class, and instructor but may include several hours of live or prerecorded virtual learning per week with one in-person session.

For example, a chemistry course could include virtual learning and in-person lab work.

Hybrid courses offer the benefits of remote learning without fully abandoning in-person instruction, making it a prime choice for students concerned that online classes may not meet their needs.

Exclusively Virtual

Classes that are all virtual never meet in person. Instruction is given through live webinars, prerecorded video, and physical or digital material.

Depending on the format of the course, students can fit sessions into their schedule as they see fit, an option not provided by a hybrid or traditional class.

Benefits and Potential Pitfalls of Virtual Courses

While virtual learning is ideal for some students, it may be frustrating for others. Some degrees may not lend themselves to a virtual experience either. But for students who have taken the plunge into online learning, there are several benefits to talk about.

Pros of Online Courses

Flexibility. The ability to learn whenever and wherever is a priceless advantage for a student with a hectic schedule. Though there are still deadlines and due dates to abide by, learning can typically take place around work, social commitments, and personal preferences. While some courses may include live remote sessions, they’re typically recorded and available for preoccupied students to view at a later time.

Real-life experience. Online courses tend to put more responsibility on the student. Learning how to prioritize instruction in a flexible schedule can help prepare students for careers.

Potential savings. If a course was designed to be taught in person but has recently been adapted for online instruction, a discount may not be available.

But for courses originally built for virtual learning, students often find they can save on the average credit cost. An online degree also could have condensed schedules available, allowing a student to get through the courses faster.

There are other savings to consider. With online instruction, students don’t have to worry about paying for parking, gas, or lunch on the go (and there are ways to thrive as a commuter student).

If virtual learners can pursue an education while working full or part time, an option not always available to students bogged down by a schedule of in-person classes, they may be able to curb student loan debt.

Potential Cons of Online Courses

Minimal social benefits. One concern students might have when taking online classes is the lack of personal interaction. While some simply respond better to in-person learning, others worry that questions won’t be addressed as promptly or thoroughly in an online setting. Other students are motivated by interactions with fellow students and find themselves struggling to concentrate when learning virtually.

A lack of professional networking. Students often discover opportunities to build relationships with professors and assistants that can lead to careers. Virtual learning makes these relationships more difficult to find and develop.

Scheduling conflicts. While the flexibility of online classes is appealing to most, it can create scheduling conflicts. If students are challenged by time management, they may find themselves procrastinating and struggling to manage their workload and deadlines.

Tips for Online Classes

Here are some words to the wise for taking online courses, for both newbies and experienced virtual students.

•  Respect the course. Do you suspect that an online course has less value than in-person instruction? The educational value is the same. It’s just being delivered in a different fashion.
•  Think about time management. Even experienced virtual students can improve their time management skills. Review the syllabus at the start of the semester, note major assignments, and look for potential conflicts.
•  Try to avoid distractions. When taking online courses, it might be best not to set up in front of the TV, as tempting as it may be. Consider cobbling together a home office that blocks distractions and creates a productive environment.
•  Participate. While an online class can be an introvert’s dream, there are still opportunities to participate. Many online courses offer a forum for students and instructors to discuss course materials, comment on one another’s work, and ask questions as needed.

Funding the Virtual Voyage

Even though some online classes are more affordable than their in-person variations, tuition costs may cause a bit of sticker shock. Consider the following options when determining how to pay for virtual classes, keeping in mind that certain institutions may have rules limiting payment methods.

Federal Loans

By filling out the FAFSA®, approved students can obtain federal funding for their education. Known for low and fixed rates, federal student loans don’t typically require payments to begin until graduation.

Private Loans

With a good credit rating and a little patience, students can find private student loans through private lenders, if needed. Though they often come with repayment plans that start right away, they are an option for students denied federal aid or whose costs are not completely covered by federal aid.

Federal student loans offer benefits that don’t typically accompany private loans. It’s generally thought that students and parents should exhaust federal student loan options before considering private loans.

Paying à la Carte

Online courses are designed to fit a working student’s schedule (though being employed certainly isn’t a requirement). Many students who enjoy online classes take them as they’re financially able, paying for them with their own money at the time payment is due, either upfront or through a college’s payment plan.

During this time of great adjustment, don’t let finances become another worry. Consider a private student loan from SoFi to jumpstart the virtual college experience.

Many students have found SoFi Private Student Loans to be affordable and convenient, thanks to flexible repayment options and no fees—no origination fees, late fees, or insufficient-funds fees.

A private loan can cover up to 100% of the cost of school-certified attendance, both for in-person and online courses. A SoFi Private Student Loan can help cover additional costs after federal aid or become a lifeline for those denied government assistance.

Interested in a private student loan? Apply for one with SoFi today.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs.
SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.



7 Tips for Finding College Housing

Packing up and heading off to college is an absolutely thrilling time in a young person’s life. However, with all the fun comes a lot of responsibility. One of the first, and perhaps most important, choices a college student must make is exactly where they want to live.

Here are a few things to consider on your journey to finding college housing.

1. Start With a Budget

determining a budget. How much rent can the student actually afford month-to-month while also maintaining enough funds to pay for tuition, food, and other living expenses? Figuring out a personal housing budget is a wholly unique process for each student.

Students should sit down and map out all monthly expenses either alone or with a loved one to figure out just how much they can afford and go from there.

2. Decide on On-Campus or Off-Campus Housing

After figuring out expenses it’s time to answer another big question: On-campus housing or off? This is a major consideration for many students and can be budget-dependent.

It can also be dependent on what year the student is as many colleges require students to live on campus during their freshman year. But, after that, it’s likely up to students. Each choice has its merits and its pitfalls so weigh each option before deciding.

On-campus Housing

For those who want to live on-campus there are likely a number of options available at their school. This can include residence or dorm halls. Think of these as apartment buildings, but smaller. Some dorms require students to share rooms with another student, and often only come with one bathroom per floor (though there are a lucky few who may be able to snag a private bath).

Dorms often do not come with private kitchens, though they may have a shared space. This often means students will likely also purchase a meal plan, so make factor that in when budgeting.

Beyond dorms, students may also be able to live on campus in fraternity or sorority housing. These homes are typically maintained by private Greek organizations and admittance to the frat or sorority is usually required in order to live in the house. Room styles in Greek housing can vary greatly, along with availability, even as a member.

Note that some fraternity or sorority housing options are considered off-campus housing so you may need to check the housing program at your university.

Older students may also want to look into graduate housing, family housing, or co-op living on their university or college campus.

Off-Campus Housing

Off-campus housing may vary depending on where you go to school. The first option may be to just remain living at home with parents or guardians. Though this may not be the college dream for many, it can be one way to cut expenses in both housing and food.

renters insurance. Those living in a dorm may be covered by their parents’ home or renter insurance policy if you are listed as a dependent. Renters insurance may protect a person’s things if they are lost, damaged, or stolen from the home.

For example, if a pipe bursts while a student is in class and their home is flooded, renters insurance could cover the cost of replacing their damaged items. And, renters insurance could even cover temporary living expenses if their home becomes unlivable.

Paying for Student Housing

No matter where a student lives, things can most certainly get expensive. But, rather than stress about how they’ll pay for their newfound freedom, students should plan instead. And that begins by looking into all their financial options, including a SoFi private student loan.

Students, along with their parents or guardians, can apply for a private student loan with SoFi in minutes and get on their way to finding the perfect housing option for them.

The private student loan from SoFi comes with no origination fees, no late fees, and no insufficient fund fees, which could be used to help a student pay for their living expenses at school.

Note that private student loans aren’t appropriate for every student, and are generally relied on after a student has explored other options including federal student aid and scholarships. Upon graduation, students can choose one of SoFi’s repayment options, paying back the loan on a timeline that works for them.

Learn more about how SoFi Private Student Loans can help you make ends meet in college.

Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs.
SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.



6 Ways I Saved Money On College Costs

Check out this list of ways to save money on college costs. This is a great list!

Check out this list of ways to save money on college costs. This is a great list!How much does college cost? This is a question many wonder. There’s rarely a week that goes by where I don’t receive an email from a student or parents of a student who are looking for ways to cut college costs. That’s why today I want to talk about college costs and how you can create a college budget that works so that you can save money in college.

College is very expensive – there is no doubt about that.

However, I want you to know that it IS possible to get a valuable college degree on a budget!

The average public university is over $20,000 per year and the average private university totals over $45,000 once you account for tuition, room and board, fees, textbooks, living expenses and more.

Even with how expensive college can possibly be, there are many ways to cut college expenses and create a college budget so that you can control rising college costs.

Continue reading below to read about the many different ways I cut college costs. While I was not perfect and still racked up student loan debt, I did earn three college degrees on a reasonable budget.

Related articles:

1. Take classes at a community college to cut college costs.

Whether you are in college already or you haven’t started yet, taking classes at a community college can be a great way to save money.

Earning credits at a community college usually costs just a small fraction of what it would cost at a 4-year college, so you may find yourself being able to save thousands of dollars each semester.

There is a myth out there that your degree is worth less if you go to a community college. That is NOT TRUE at all. When you finally earn your 4-year degree, your degree will only say where you graduated from and it won’t even mention the community college credits at all. So this myth makes no sense because your degree looks the exact same as everyone else’s’ who you went to college with. You might as well save money because it won’t make much of a difference.

I only took classes at a community college during one summer semester where I earned 12 credits, and I still regret not taking more. I probably could have saved around $20,000 by taking more classes at my local community college.

Also, you are most likely just taking general credits at the community college, so it’s not like you would be missing much by taking classes there instead of a college that has a better reputation for the major you are seeking.

If you do decide to go to a community college, always make sure that the 4-year college you plan on attending afterwards will transfer all of the credits. It’s an easy step to take so do not forget! You should do this before you sign up and pay for any classes as well as to make sure that ALL of the classes will transfer succesfully.

2. Take advantage of high school classes to lower your college budget.

Many high schools allow you to take college classes to earn both college and high school credits at the same time.

This is something I highly recommend you look into if you are still in high school, as it saves time and is one of the best ways to save money on college costs.

When I was in my senior year in high school, nearly all of my classes were dual enrollment courses where I was earning college and high school credit at the same time. I took AP classes and classes that earned me direct college credit from nearby private universities. I left high school with around 14-18 credit hours (I can’t remember the exact amount). This way I knocked out a whole semester of college. I could’ve taken more, but I decided to take early release from high school and worked 30-40 hours a week as well.

3. Take all the credits you can to stay within your college budget.

At many universities, you pay a flat fee. So whether you take 12 credit hours or 18 credit hours, you are paying nearly the exact same price.

For this reason, I always recommend that a student take as many classes as they can if they are going to a college that charges a flat fee tuition.

If you think you can still earn good grades and do whatever else you do on the side, definitely get full use of the college tuition you are paying for!

4. Apply for scholarships to lower your college costs.

Before you start your semester, you should always look into scholarships, grants, FAFSA, and more. You usually have to turn in any paperwork around spring time for the following semester, so I highly recommend doing this right now if you are going to college in the fall.

Another myth will be busted right now. Many believe that all scholarships are impossible to have or it means you have to win a contest. That is just a myth.

I received around $16,000 a year in scholarships to the private university I attended. That helped pay for a majority of my college tuition. The scholarships were easy for me to get as they were all just because I earned good grades in high school and scored well on tests. I received scholarships to all of the other colleges I applied for as well just for good grades, so I know they can be found as long as you do well in high school!

There are other ways to find scholarships as well. You can receive scholarships from private organizations, companies in your town, and more. Do a simple Google search and I am sure you will find many free websites that list out possible scholarships for you to apply to.

Tip: Many forget that you usually have to turn in a separate financial aid form directly to your college. Don’t forget to do this by the deadline each year!

5. Search for cheaper textbooks to lower your college budget.

Students usually spend anywhere from around $300 to $1,000 on textbooks each semester, depending on the amount of classes they are taking and their major.

For me, many of my classes required more than one book and each book was usually around $200 brand new. This means if I were to buy all of my college textbooks brand new, I probably would have had to spend over $1,000 each semester.

I saved a decent amount of money on college textbooks by renting them and finding them used. Renting them was nice because I just had to pay one fee and didn’t ever have to worry about what to do with the textbook after the class was done, as I only had to return them. There was no worrying about the book being worthless if a new edition came out, which was nice! Buying books used was nice occasionally as well just because sometimes I could make my money back.

I recommend Campus Book Rentals if you are looking for textbook rentals. Their rentals are affordable and they make getting the textbooks you need easy.

Read: How To Save Money On Textbooks + Campus Book Rentals Review

6. Skip the high price of living on campus to cut your college budget.

To save more money, I decided to live on my own. I didn’t have the option of living at home after high school and living on campus would have cost me a ton of money.

Instead, I found a very cheap rental house (the house was VERY small and probably could have been considered a tiny home) and was able to somewhat easily commute to work and college from it. I probably saved around $500 a month by living on my own instead of on campus, and I learned a lot by living on my own at a young age as well.

If you can live at home though and want to save money, I highly recommend it if it’s an option for you. You can save thousands of dollars a semester by doing this!

I understand that some are against this because it may impact your “college experience,” but I think most people would be fine not living on campus, especially if it’s not in the budget. You could probably save around $40,000 over the years on your degree by living at home.

How did you cut college costs and control your college budget? How much student loan debt did you have when you graduated?

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How to pay off your student loans faster

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

In 2020, Americans hit a new record for total student loan debt. There is a total outstanding balance of $1.6 trillion in student loan debt spread across 45 million people. And in 2019, the average graduate took out just over $30,000 in student loan debt to fund their education. More students are turning to student loans—and at more significant amounts. 

Unfortunately, student loans can follow you after graduation and take a huge toll on your credit. Many individuals sign up for student loans not fully understanding just how large their payments will be upon graduation. The high monthly payments often cause young graduates to make payments late or miss them entirely and default on their loans, which can wreak havoc on a person’s credit score. 

So, are you wondering how to get rid of student loans fast? Unfortunately, there’s no quick, magic solution. However, there are options out there that may help you pay off your student loans more quickly than sticking to the repayment plan automatically assigned to you. Keep reading to see what these options are so you can understand which option works for you. 

1. Consider your repayment plan options

If you have a federal student loan, you’ll automatically be enrolled in the Standard Repayment Plan. This plan spreads out your payments over 10 years and is the option that allows you to pay the least amount of interest. For this reason, if you can’t afford to make extra payments on your student loan, this is usually the best option. 

There are other repayment plans for you to consider. An Income-Driven Repayment Plan will take 10 to 15 percent of your discretionary income monthly and can span up to 25 years. If your loan is not paid off in full within those 25 years, the balance of your loan is forgiven. This option is typically best for people who make a low income. 

There are other options as well, such as the Graduated Repayment Plan and the Extended Repayment Plan, to name a few. The Graduated Repayment Plan is a 10-year loan with payments that increase every two years, so it’s ideal for people who expect their income to grow over time. The Extended Repayment Plan allows individuals to take 25 years to pay their student loan (but requires you owe a minimum of $30,000). 

Do your research and pick the plan that works best for your situation. Take the time to consider your current income, your expected income growth and the total interest you’ll pay with each repayment option. 

2. Start making payments before you graduate

If you have a subsidized federal student loan, the government covers your interest while you’re in school and for six months post-graduation. However, if you have an unsubsidized loan, interest starts accruing the day you receive your money. This means that while you’re in school, your student loan debt is growing. 

Consider making payments on your student loan while you’re still in school. If the payment can even cover your monthly interest, it will make a significant difference when you graduate. 

A word of caution: Make sure to contact your lender about early payments. Some private lenders will charge a fee for early payments. 

3. Apply early payments to the principal

If you are able to, consider making early payments on your principal loan. If you want to make extra payments, make sure to do so correctly. Most student loan lenders will take prepayment and apply it to interest first or to your next month’s payment. Neither of these options helps you pay off your loan faster. 

Whenever you make an early payment, contact your lender and specify that it should be applied to the principal amount. Additionally, while you’re on the call, take the time to verify that you won’t be charged a prepayment fee. 

4. Pay more than the minimum

Just because you picked a repayment plan doesn’t mean you have to stick to that exact monthly payment. If you ever find yourself with extra money—such as tax refunds, gifts or side jobs—apply that money to your student loan. 

You can also try to make payments twice a month instead of monthly. Many people use a biweekly payment approach for their mortgages, too. Biweekly payments mean you end up making one extra full payment in the year. If you have a $30,000 loan for 10 years at a six percent interest rate, having biweekly payments will allow you to pay off your debt faster and save $1,186.56  in interest.

5. Apply for student loan forgiveness

There are student loan forgiveness programs for specific individuals. These programs include Teacher Loan Forgiveness, Military Forgiveness, Public Service Loan Forgiveness and other versions run by state governments. 

Each of these programs has different factors for qualifying but usually requires that the individual works for a specific employer for a period of time while making payments. For example, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program requires that you complete 10 years’ worth of payments and spend that time working for a nonprofit or public sector employer before your remaining balance may be forgiven. 

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t rely on a forgiveness program as they can often be challenging to qualify for. 

6. Consider refinancing or consolidating

Student loan refinance

If your credit score is healthy or has improved, you should consider refinancing your loan at a better interest rate. When you refinance, your lender looks at your credit score and income level before determining your loan interest rate.

If your credit score is high, that interest rate may be lower than your current rate, which can save you a lot of money in the long run. Additionally, if your credit score continues to improve, you can refinance again and get a better rate each time. 

If you don’t have a good credit score, you could use a cosigner to refinance. Your cosigner’s healthy credit will allow you to qualify for a better interest rate. 

Student loan consolidation

If you have multiple student loans—usually a mix of private and government—you can consolidate them into one. When you consolidate your loan, you typically get an equal or overall lower interest payment than what you were paying before. Additionally, you only have to worry about making one monthly payment, which can relieve stress and allow you to focus on a repayment plan. 

7. Set up autopay

With many lenders, signing up for autopay gets you a slightly lowered interest rate. The added benefit of this option is that you never miss or make a late payment, both of which can severely lower your credit score. 

Have a plan for your finances

Your student loan likely allowed you to get the education you wanted. Unfortunately, it does come at a high cost. Many people are surprised to find out just how long it’ll take to pay off their student loans. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive and pay off your loan faster. 

The most crucial step is to make a plan and stick to it. This advice applies to all other areas of your finances, too—like your credit, savings and budget. When you have a plan, you can control your finances and ensure you’re staying on track. 

If you already have a student loan repayment strategy, check to make sure it’s still best for you. And if you don’t yet have a strategy, now is the time to come up with one. Work to pay off your student loans faster so you’re one step closer to financial freedom.

Reviewed by John Heath, Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, John Heath earned his BA from the University of Utah and his Juris Doctor from Ohio Northern University. John has been the Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm since 2004. The firm focuses primarily on consumer credit report repair, but also practices family law, criminal law, general consumer litigation and collection defense on behalf of consumer debtors. John is admitted to practice law in Utah, Colorado, Washington D. C., Georgia, Texas and New York.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.


How does refinancing a student loan affect credit?

refinancing student loan

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

If you’re considering refinancing a student loan, you need to have answers to all of your questions. For starters, does refinancing student loans affect credit? Fortunately, student loan refinancing doesn’t have to negatively affect your credit, but you need to know how to go about the process carefully and fully informed. Since refinancing comes with several benefits, it’s nice to know that you can consider this option without it killing your credit. 

What is a student loan refinance?

Student loans can come from two sources: federal funding and private funding. Federal student loans come with some benefits, such as subsidized interest while you’re in school and the potential to apply for a loan forgiveness program.

Unfortunately, you can’t refinance a federal student loan with the government. Refinancing is always done through a private lender. While going to a private lender may sound scary, refinancing can save you money. 

When you refinance, you take your student loan(s) to a lender and negotiate a better interest rate or a more manageable monthly payment. This can help you save thousands during the life of your loan, but how much money you save depends on a number of factors—such as fees for refinancing, the decrease in interest rate and the length of your new repayment term. 

Protect your credit during a student loan refinance

Credit inquiries and missed or late payments are the two factors that might impact your credit when you go through student loan refinancing. But if you’re careful, you can minimize the damage done to your score during a refinance.

Credit inquiries

When you initially approach a lender about refinancing, they’ll conduct a soft inquiry on your credit to see if you’re eligible. However, once you officially apply with a lender for a refinance, there will be a hard check on your credit. A hard inquiry can lower your credit score by a few points.

These few points are easy to recover if you continue to be responsible with your credit. But if you have multiple hard inquiries within a relatively short period of time, your credit score may drop significantly—potentially up to 10 points per credit inquiry. 

To avoid this situation, try to submit as few applications as possible. To be clear, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t compare your options. It’s in your best interest to approach several lenders to see who can offer you the best terms and lowest interest rate. You can still shop around and compare lenders—just don’t fully apply with every lender.

Lenders should be able to give you a good idea of your options when they pull a soft inquiry on your credit. Let your lenders know you’re comparing rates so they’ll begin to offer you more competitive terms. 

In addition, most credit bureaus have a 14 to 45 day “shopping period.” If you have multiple hard inquiries within this time frame, a credit bureau may count it as only one inquiry. Whenever possible, try to keep your inquiries to this small window of time, ideally ranging between two and four weeks.


Your student loans are tied to your credit. Every time you miss or make a late payment, it negatively impacts your credit history and your credit score. If you’re considering refinancing, you must make all your payments on both your past loan and your refinanced loan until you’re absolutely certain the previous loan has ended. After you know the transfer is complete, you can make payments on the refinanced loan only. 

When should you refinance?

When it comes to refinancing a student loan, timing can be everything. For this process to be worth it, you need to have a decent credit score and a stable income. These two factors will ensure that when you go to lenders for refinancing, they’ll offer you a lower interest rate than the one you currently have. 

Two downsides of refinancing a student loan

Refinancing isn’t the best choice for everyone, and there are two main downsides you should know about. 

Your interest rate might not decrease by much

Student loan interest rates have remained relatively low in recent years. This means private lenders don’t have much leeway and may not be able to offer you an interest rate that’s much lower. 

That being said, even a small decrease in interest can make a significant difference over the lifetime of a loan. For example, let’s say you had a $30,000 student loan with a 10-year payment period. Your initial loan interest is five percent, and a refinancing lender offers to lower your interest to four percent. A one percent difference may not sound like a lot, but it’ll save you $1,736 in interest over 10 years. 

One thing to note is to take into account any fees for refinancing when comparing your loans. If your refinance lender is charging you a $200 sign-up fee, that will eat into your savings. 

You’ll lose access to benefits of federal funding

You can only refinance with a private lender, which opts you out of any benefits of federal funding. If you opt out of federal student loans, you lose access to federal repayment options such as the income-driven repayment plan. 

You also lose the ability to apply for federal loan forgiveness programs. Several federal loan forgiveness programs for candidates such as teachers, military service members and public servants may forgive a portion or all of a loan under specific conditions. These programs are often difficult to qualify for, but it may be worth sticking to it if you were already on this path. 

Who shouldn’t refinance

If you have poor credit or unstable income, you’ll likely be denied refinancing or get an interest rate that isn’t better than your current interest rate. If this is the case for you, focus on improving your credit score and reapply for refinancing later on. 

Additionally, people who are close to the end of their loan term typically won’t see any benefit from refinancing. If you’re almost done paying off your student loan, simply focus on getting to your end goal. 

Is refinancing the best option for you?

Ultimately, the decision to refinance should be made on a case-by-case basis. You need to weigh all the pros and cons of refinancing before making a decision.

A useful tool when evaluating refinancing is a loan calculator. These online calculators help you determine just how much you can save if you refinance a loan. Don’t forget to subtract any fees from your savings to depict your actual savings accurately. 

Your student loan will impact your credit for many years to come, and your credit has a long-reaching impact on other areas of your life. Whether you refinance or continue with your regular student loan, make sure you build responsible habits with your loan repayment. Sign up for auto-pay, make additional payments if you can and track your progress. 

Reviewed by Cynthia Thaxton, Lexington Law Firm Attorney. Written by Lexington Law.

Cynthia Thaxton has been with Lexington Law Firm since 2014. She attended The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Arabic. Cynthia then attended law school at George Mason University School of Law, where she served as Senior Articles Editor of the George Mason Law Review and graduated cum laude. Cynthia is licensed to practice law in Utah and North Carolina.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.