We’ve covered the ongoing student debt crisis extensively here at Financial Helpers, and we’ve made it our mission to help graduating students know how they can solve their debt problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Part of that is having the knowledge to understand how your student debt works and how to tackle it in the future so it doesn’t come back to haunt you. Life can be difficult with this debt, as one small mistake can destroy your credit for years to come.
The best thing to do is know how to handle your debt going in and have a working understand of the credit system. There are three outcomes that can result from your handling of student debt.
1) It can lower your score. (15% of students)
2) Your score can remain the same. (63% of students)
3) You can improve your score. (22% of students)
It almost seems miraculous that you could walk away from student debt with a better credit score than when you went in, but it’s definitely possible if you know what you’re doing.
When you have a higher credit score, you can refinance your loans. To learn how that works, you can give us a quick call today to see if you qualify and to inquire about existing government programs that can reduce your overall debt. It’s worth a quick call if it means saving thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. You can reach us at:
It all comes down to personal behavior towards money. Those who increased their credit score were more proactive about taking care of the debt. They kept their credit card balances down, was never late on a payment, and acted to lower their overall payments.
Those who hurt their credit score ended up borrowing more money and added as much as 78% to their overall balance. Missed payments STILL add interest to your loan, so if you’re not regularly paying down the balance, you could be increasing it.
There are 5 specific criteria that are used to determine your score. Make sure you line up with all 5 and you’ll do well.
1) Your payment history. When you apply to borrow money, you give your word that you’ll pay it back. If you keep your word and make on-time payments, that will reflect well on your overall record. It’s a sign of trust and totals about 35% of your score.
2) The amount you owe. One consideration that will be made is how much debt you currently have. If you have a lot of debt, are maxed out on your credit cards, and keep trying to borrow, that will reflect negatively on you. This is about 30% of your score.
3) Your total credit history. Making a couple on-time payments won’t reflect much on your score, but if you show your reliability over time, it can help nudge your score a few points higher. This is about 15% of your score.
4) Are you new to the game? About 10% of your score is made up simply by how often you apply for credit. If you have a lot of attempts, it can reflect as bad behavior versus someone who isn’t constantly applying.
5) Do you have a variety of debt? If you’re able to successfully manage debt across different spectrums, then you’ll increase your score. For example, if you have a mortgage, credit cards, and student loans and you’re paying on them, you will be more trustworthy. This makes up the final 10% of your score calculation.
Again, it’s all about behavior. If you have an active loan, it’s the best way to build your credit and show you can be trusted with other types of debt. Sadly, studies show as much as 43% of students with student debt will default in the next 5 years.
Ethan Dornhelm, Vice President of FICO, had this to say about improving your credit score after college:
“If (students) can find a way to pay that back in an on-time fashion consistently over a period of months and years, they will be in a position when they reach those life cycle events like wanting to buy a house, a car, or a home. Their FICO score will be in good shape as long as they’re managing their revolving debts and keeping them relatively low, not spending more than what they have, and paying their bills as agreed.”