Knowing is Half the Battle

Business Week has a solid article running down some of the options for recent college graduates who find themselves struggling with student loans. (One of the more intriguing ones is SponsorChange.org—graduates who volunteer in their community through this program get a stipend to help cover student loans in return.)

The problem, as is the case with the college selection process, is the lack of well-organized information:

Learning about these options and mapping out a plan to take advantage of them is not always as easy as one might think. Many students simply aren’t even aware that some of these programs exist, and, as a result, may take out hefty private loans that they could have avoided with a little strategic planning, says Edie Irons, a spokeswoman for the Project on Student Debt, a nonprofit that raises awareness about financial aid. She recommends that students mapping out their education paths learn as much as they can about the different type of loan forgiveness programs available to students before taking out any new loans or additional ones. One point to keep in mind: Most of these loan programs apply only to federal student loans, with very few private loans qualifying.

The only thing worse than terribly burdensome student debt is terribly burdensome student debt that was completely unecessary.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.