Paying for college/university can be a daunting task, and many students turn to loans to make ends meet.
However, the average student loan debt in South Africa is also quite high, it’s no surprise that some borrowers may struggle to repay their loans.
Unfortunately, this struggle can result in default, which can have severe consequences, both financially and emotionally.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to avoid default, how to get out of default, and how defaulting on your student loans can affect your credit score.
How to Avoid Default
One of the easiest ways to avoid default is to make timely payments on your student loans. If you’re struggling to make payments, there are options available to help you, such as income-driven repayment plans, deferment, and forbearance. These programs can help reduce your monthly payments or temporarily stop payments altogether. However, it’s important to note that these programs may not be available for all types of loans, so it’s important to check with your lender.
Another way to avoid default is to communicate with your lender. If you’re having trouble making payments, don’t ignore their calls or emails. Instead, reach out to them and explain your situation. They may be able to work with you to find a solution that works for both parties. For instance, they may allow you to temporarily reduce your monthly payment or modify your loan terms.
It’s essential to make a budget and plan your expenses accordingly. You must keep track of all your expenses and prioritize your student loan payments. If you have multiple loans, you may want to consider paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first. Also, you can consider making extra payments whenever possible to reduce the interest you will have to pay in the long run.
How to Get Out of Default
If you’ve already defaulted on your student loans, don’t panic. There are ways to get out of default, such as loan rehabilitation or consolidation. Loan rehabilitation involves making nine consecutive on-time payments, which will remove the default from your credit report. Consolidation involves combining all of your federal student loans into one loan with a new repayment plan. However, it’s important to note that these options may not be available for private student loans.
The loan rehabilitation program can help you improve your credit score since the default will be removed once you make the required payment. However, keep in mind that the default will still be visible on your credit report. It will show that you had trouble repaying your loan, which can affect your creditworthiness.
Consolidation can help simplify your student loan payments since you will have only one payment to make each month. However, it may not be the best option if you have a low credit score. You may end up paying more interest in the long run, which can increase the total amount you will have to repay.
How Defaulting on Student Loans Can Affect Your Credit Score
Defaulting on your student loans can have a significant impact on your credit score. Your credit score is a reflection of your creditworthiness, and if you default on your loans, it can signal to lenders that you’re a risky borrower. This can make it difficult to obtain credit in the future, such as a car loan or home loan. Additionally, defaulting on your loans can result in wage garnishment, tax refund offsets, and legal action.
The default will remain on your credit report for seven years, which can affect your ability to get credit, rent an apartment, or even get a job. It’s essential to take actions to fix your credit score as soon as possible. You can start by making all your payments on time and communicating with your lender.
In conclusion, defaulting on your student loans can have severe consequences, but you can take steps to avoid default. You can make timely payments, communicate with your lender, and plan your expenses accordingly. If you’ve already defaulted, there are options available to help you get back on track. Remember, your credit score is important, and defaulting on your loans can have a long-lasting impact. So, make sure to stay informed and take action to avoid defaulting on your student loans.