As the school year comes to an end in a few months, we all must face a bittersweet reality: many students are nearing their final days here as UWL students. While we will miss their faces and their contributions to the campus environment, we feel excited for them. They are taking the next step in their lives, accepting the diplomas they’ve worked so hard for, and stepping into the careers they’ve been dreaming of. But before they can continue on, we have some important reminders for soon-to-be graduates…
First, all graduating students who have borrowed federal loans must go through Exit Loan Counseling. This process takes about 30 minutes and must be done in one sitting. Be sure to have contact information prepared not only for yourself, but for your parents/next of kin, and two references who live separately from your next of kin. This process is a federal requirement, so finishing it is of the utmost importance. To start your Exit Loan Counseling, head to the Federal Student Loan website here.
Another highly important aspect of graduating is registering with your loan servicer. They are going to be invaluable when paying off your loans as they can help you plan your payments each month. Make sure that they have your most up-to-date information so that they can contact you whenever necessary. Still a little lost on all that a loan servicer does? That’s ok! The Federal Student Aid site has an entire page dedicated to their importance right here.
A bit unsure about how much money you still owe? The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) allows you to track your federal loans and how much you owe at any given time. In order to gain access, you will need your social security number, as well as your FSA ID, so be sure to have both on hand. The site will keep you informed on your loan or grant amounts, outline the remaining balances and statuses of your loans, and will make financial planning for the future far easier. Check out the NSLDS site here. This information should also be available on you federal loan service’s website.
Our final piece of advice to graduates is simply, stay on top of your loans. Bad credit can follow you longer than you think, and can affect your ability to buy everything from a car to a house. Work with your servicer to determine what you can afford each month, and talk with them if you have any issues. They are there to help.
As you finish out your final days as a college student, enjoy them. A chapter in your life is closing. It may be difficult, but your future is bright.