What About Those Student Loans? Free Workshop Thursday, June 5 at URock

After graduating from college, the Twenties and Thirties can be tough -- finding the perfect job, figuring out all those adult things you are supposed to do, maybe starting a family  . . .  and paying off your student loans. The free talk, "What About Those Student Loans?" will be offered on Thursday, June 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 at University College at Rockland. The program is sponsored by Midcoast Millennials Mentoring with Guest Speaker Linda Buckmaster, Employment and Training Coordinator for Women, Work and Community.

As many know, student loan debt can be a burden to repay for young people as well adults who returned to college later in life. Sixty-three percent of Maine college graduates leave school with an average debt of $29,000. Those who didn't complete college may also have loans that they borrowed during their time in school and still need to repay. The typical loan repayment schedule is ten years, but for those who defer or ignore or go on a low-income repayment schedule, those loans can hang over their heads for decades. They will pay higher interest costs over time. It's not unusual for someone who left school at age 22 with $20,000 in loans and who put off repayment to find that those debts amount to $35,000 by the time they reach their Forties. The long-term effects include one's credit score and the ability to borrow money later, car insurance rates, or even the ability to land a professional job as more employers do credit checks on potential employees.

How can students (and their families) avoid this problem? The solution starts  before even applying to college. It is important for the aspiring student to connect his or her career goal with the costs of school and the amount of money they will need to borrow. Those who are going into higher-paying careers, such as engineering, can afford to leave school with more debt. Those who are choosing a lower-paying career such as in the social services or education, should plan on borrowing less money. The individual's repayment amount per year should be no more than 8% of their expected annual salary after graduation. For a salary of $30,000, for example, you would want your annual loan payment costs to be no greater than $2,400, or $200 a month. For a salary of $60,000, you could handle $4,800 a year, or $400 a month.

What if you have already graduated and are saddled with  loan debt? The bottom line is that the graduate is bound by legal contract to pay off the loan. Fortunately, this is probably not an impossible task, and like most challenging problems can be tackled one step at a time. In her talk, Buckmaster will present strategies for developing a personal budget that will help participants get on track for solving their student loan problems. She will talk about the student loan re-payment process and how to avoid skyrocketing interest payments from deferrals and defaults on student loans. Participants will learn about the three options for balancing your budget and tips for building a solid personal financial foundation at any age.

Women, Work and Community is a state-wide economic development organization founded in 1978 to help people develop their careers, manage their money, and start small businesses.

University College at Rockland is located on the 4th floor of the Breakwater Building, Rte 1 in Rockland.  This workshop is free and open to the public.

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