Nobody likes to be in debt. Sure, taking out a Parent Plus loan for your child’s education is more than worth it, but it’s always better when you’ve paid it off and it’s in the rear view mirror. Luckily, there are ways to pay off your loan early, so that you can be free of the burden it is having on your pocketbook.
Make The Right Repayment Choice
If you want to be free from debt sooner, then you need to make the right choice of repayment plans. There is the standard repayment plan that is paid off over 10 years. There is another repayment plan that is also paid off over 10 years, but the payments start off small and then get bigger through the life of the loan.
Finally there is an extended plan to pay it off over 25 years. The 10 year plans are the fastest, however they come with larger payments. If you are already locked into a 25 year plan because of your financial situation, then try to make additional payments as your finances get better.
Make Extra Payments
The best thing to do to pay off debt is to make payments. Anytime you have some extra money, make a payment towards your Parent PLUS loan. It takes a steady commitment to paying down debt when you have extra cash. It’s tempting to buy something nice or go out to a nice restaurant.
However, being disciplined will pay off over time and you will be free of your debt much sooner. If you get a raise at work, for instance, treat it like you didn’t get a raise for a period of time. Your life won’t change at all, but your debt will get smaller very fast.
There is always the chance of refinancing. However, only do this if you can get a lower interest rate. Having a lower interest rate will help you pay it off faster. Many lenders have tools like a loan calculator which will help you see how much you can save by refinancing a parent PLUS loan.
Always be careful when you are refinancing. Since you have to go to a 3rd party, you lose the ability to have your repayment connected to your income. You also lost any loan forgiveness options that may have been available through the federal government. If you aren’t going to use these benefits, the refinancing would work for you.
You can also make an agreement when you are refinancing to have a shorter repayment time frame. You’ll have to make bigger payments, but you also might be able to get a better rate. The loan will be paid off faster and you will pay less interest.
Don’t Defer Your Payments
One of the great things about a Parent PLUS loan is the option to defer your payments until the student is 6 months past their graduation. The interest still accrues, but you’ll save that money in your budget until then.
However, you don’t have to choose this option. If you want to pay it off faster, then your best bet is to start paying right away. This way, not only are you paying it off faster, but you’re also paying less interest. For parents that have stable employment and aren’t likely to be making less when the time comes to make payments, this is a good option.
Make Your Child Pay
This is kind of cheating, since you aren’t getting out of debt, but it’s a way that you won’t have to be responsible for repayment. Many parents get a PLUS loan on the understanding that their child will assume the payments when the time comes.
Perhaps that is 6 months post-graduation, or maybe you’ll make another arrangement. You will still own the money and it will still be reflected on your credit, but it may be a good way to teach responsibility to your child. Plus, you can help out and make payments on occasion.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Federal student loans come with protections, and that include the Parent PLUS program. The only difference is parents can’t get income-driven repayment unless they consolidate by applying for a Direct Consolidation Loan. If you apply and are approved, you can then repay your Parent PLUS loan based on your income. A certain portion of the loan may be forgiven.
A Parent PLUS loan is a way that parents can make sure that their child has the funds they need to get their education. However, nobody likes being in debt, as it can take a long time to pay them off. Use these tips to pay off your Parent PLUS loan faster and be free of the burden.