There’s no doubt that American college students are in deep–deep in student loan debt, that is.
The average college graduate who has student loan debt walks away with roughly $25,500 in debt. To pay those loans off in 10 years, the graduate will have to pay nearly $300 a month and will pay almost $10,000 in interest over the life of the loan.
New college graduates in this tough job market often must settle for low paying jobs to gain experience before they can move up to a better paying position. Factor in rent, food, a car, health insurance, and a professional wardrobe, and tacking on a steep student loan payment can be difficult.
While there is no easy way to get out of student loan debt quickly, there are a number of programs that are available to help graduates pay off their debt faster. These programs won’t erase student loan debt, but they can give graduates a little extra help paying off their loans.
3 Programs to Help You Pay Off Student Loans Faster
SmarterBucks offers a shopping market to get rewards that can be applied to one’s student loan payment as well as a debit card.
Log into SmarterBucks before doing your online shopping. Each purchase you make is eligible to get a 5 to 10% rebate that will be set aside to be applied to your student loan. When your account reaches $15, the money is automatically shifted over to your student loan balance.
Another way to earn money is to sign up for SmarterBucks debit card. The SmarterBank checking account is free of many fees and is attached to the debit card. Use the debit card for non-pin purchases, and you will get a rebate of .05 for the first $100 of each purchase and 1% for the rest of the purchase over $100. Purchase a $200 item, and you’ll get .50 cents for the first $100 and $1.00 for the other $100, giving you a total rebate of $1.50 for your $200 purchase.
Friends and family can also sign up to give you a one-time donation or a recurring “gift” that will go directly onto your student loan.
Doug Lowenstein, executive vice president of banking and rewards at SimpleTuition says of the program, “It’s a great, low maintenance way to make headway against your student loans through things that you would be doing otherwise,” (U.S. News).
SaveUp is a program that rewards you for making debt payments and saving money. This company distinguishes itself from other reward companies by noting that they don’t require participants to spend money to earn rewards; rather, they require the opposite.
Users can sign up their savings accounts as well as their credit card and loan debts. For each deposit into the savings account or payment on their credit card or loan, they earn points that can be redeemed for the chance to win rewards. Rewards include wardrobe makeovers, cash, and even a jackpot prize of $2 million.
In addition, “the site incorporates financial literacy lessons and videos to help loan holders learn more and earn additional credits” (U.S. News). The site’s cofounder, Priya Haji adds, “It’s just a fun, extra reward for doing the right thing” (U.S. News).
Student Loan Hero
Students can get loans from a variety of sources, and wading through all the details of each loan when repayment begins can be difficult. Student Loan Hero was designed to help. Simply enter your loan information, and Student Loan Hero allows you to choose the best way to pay off the loans as well as whether a loan consolidation might be a good idea.
Cofounder Andrew Josuweit graduated from college with 12 student loans and $104,000 in student loan debt. He says of Student Loan Hero, “Our mission is to help students strategically organize their loans to save money and get out of debt faster – without the frustration of dealing with a bank or college” (Yahoo!)
Co-founder Evan Shoemaker said, “On average, our strategies can help borrowers save close to $5,000 over the lifetime of their loan repayment and get out of debt 2 years faster” (Yahoo!)
If you have trouble tracking the details of your many student loans, Student Loan Hero helps you keep all of the information in one place as well as monitor your loan repayment progress.
Most people can’t get through college without taking out student loans, but unfortunately, many students underestimate what they are signing up for when they agree to multiple student loans and a heavy student loan burden. If you’re trying to repay your student loans, one of these programs may just help you get out of student loan debt a bit faster.