Money Talks

Money+Talks

Alicia Dougherty, Editor

Many college students cannot wait until graduation. Not only do they earn their degree, but they earn a sense of accomplishment, freedom and independence. However, despite all of the wonderful things that come with graduating, many students are plagued with thousands of dollars of loan debt. According to data published in the U.S. News, it is estimated that student debt averages at about $30 thousand a year. With so many graduating seniors facing this reality, the financial aid office at UW-Whitewater gave a presentation on the matter to improve awareness of the resources students have at their disposal. 

Associate Director of Financial Aid Ben Dobner gave a presentation chucked full of valuable information on paying back loans April 12 in the UC. The main goal of the presentation was to inform students about the importance of knowing exactly what you owe to whom, selecting a payment plan and plan changes, types of loans, payment plan options, and what to do if you miss or can’t make a loan payment. 

The first thing Dobner covered was how to find out how much you owe. If taking out a federal student loan, you go to the StudentAid.gov website. There you can log into your account, look under the “My Aid” tab and click “Loans.” You then will find a diagram of how much you owe so, that you can go onto the next step which is in figuring out what the best payment plan is for you. Payment plans range from having 10 year standard payment plans to 25 year payment plans. However, it is important to note that the fast you pay your loan off the less money you will pay in interest. The “Repayment Example” slide showed that people who chose a standard 120 month (10 year) loan payment plan at $302 a month paid saved over $15 thousand in the long run than an extended graduated 300 month (25 years) loan payment plan at $94 a month. Dobner made a point also to mention to call your loan servicer. 

“The number one reason students often miss a payment is because their loan servicer can’t get ahold of them,” said Dobner. “Also, if you can’t make a payment, you shouldn’t be afraid of talking to your loan provider. They are there to help you get out of debt as soon as possible.” 

For more information drop by the university financial aid office at Hyer Hall 130 or visit uww.edu/financialaid, or [email protected], or call 262-472-5655.