Updated: Mar 25, 2021
Student loans can help your child pay for their education goals, but the debt can sometimes be hard to manage as your child pursues life after graduation. While you may not have been able to cover the entire college tuition bill at enrollment, here is some advice on helping your child pay off their student loans.
Typically, student loans do not require repayment until after college graduation. However, both you and your child can still make loan payments before then. Even if you can contribute $50 a month toward the loan starting freshman year, that will add up to $2,400 of repaid debt over four years.
Another piece of useful advice for paying off student loans may be to motivate your child to put more toward their loan by offering to match their payment dollar for dollar. Once loans are in repayment, you might also encourage your child to pay more than the minimum amount due to pay off the loan faster. While not every parent will be able to help in this way, contribute what you can, and your child will feel like they are not facing their student loan debt alone.
If you don't have the money to put toward your child's student loan, you can still help ease their financial burdens. Buying your child groceries, inviting them over for dinner regularly or even allowing them to live with you rent-free while they tackle their loans can be a huge help. Make it clear that you will continue helping as long as your child has or is looking for a job. The goal isn't to give your child a free ride through life, but instead give them the boost they need to be financially independent.
While your child might have other items on their wish list, a payment toward their student loans for a birthday or holiday may be more helpful. Ask other family members if they are willing to do the same, which can help give your child extra funds to pay off their debt faster.
Landing the right job is difficult for many recent graduates because they often don't have the contacts necessary to find stable careers in their chosen field. One key piece of advice on paying off student loans can be to connect your child with professionals that can offer them a job to help build their early career. This allows them to earn an income that they can use to pay toward their loans.
Any way you can help your child with their student loan payments can help them financially down the road. If you cannot financially support your child with their student loan payments determining how you can help your child and having a conversation with them can be beneficial too.