11 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt

By Andrea Cannon, Wise Bread on 12 September 2018 0 comments
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11 Unique Ways Millennials Are Dealing With Student Loan Debt

Many Millennials are struggling with student loan debt, and don't see a way out anytime soon. According to Debt.org, student loans account for over $1 trillion in debt in America, and as of 2017, the average debt load is about $37,000 among those who borrow.

Fortunately, there are some unique opportunities available — both while you are in school and after you graduate — that can help you deal with this obligation. With the right plan of action, you can pay it back in less time and with a smaller overall impact on your life and financial well-being.

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1. Take advantage of income share agreements

With an Income Share Agreement, there is less risk for the student because payments are based on a percentage of your anticipated income, with no additional interest added. With a traditional loan, there is a set loan repayment amount and added interest, whether you lose your job or remain employed. Although you may be eligible for a variety of deferments or other payment plans; check with your lender.

Purdue University offers such a program (called "Back a Boiler"), that provides funding to students who are willing to repay a percentage of their salaries for up to 10 years following graduation.

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2. Find an investor

Some schools offer programs where an "investor" buys "shares" in a student's future. This is similar to an ISA, but can also be agreed upon privately. If the student does well financially after graduation, then the investor profits, but the student may end up paying even more than they would have on a private loan.

On the other hand, if the student doesn't make much money during the repayment period, then the investor loses. As an added bonus, by selling stock in themselves, students may have even more motivation to do well after graduation.

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3. Plug your Venmo account

Once you've opened a Venmo account, you can begin accepting payments from friends, family members, and concerned strangers who want to help you pay off your student loans. Ask for money to be deposited into your Venmo account for your birthday, as a graduation present, and during the holidays. Loved ones may be willing to contribute even more if they know the money is going toward your student loans.

You can share your Venmo account via email or social media. Better yet, you can even make signs with your Venmo account on them that you can hold in front of the camera at large events or in the background of your favorite news shows. There have been successful instances where someone holding a sign with their Venmo account received thousands of dollars in payments from amused viewers. This quick stunt can really pay off. You never know.

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4. Volunteer more

With organizations like SponsorChange, you can volunteer your time and skills to meaningful organizations and your student loans will also reap the benefits. While you accumulate good karma from volunteering your time, people can contribute toward your student loan debt as sponsors. Organizations like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps also offer student loan repayment incentives to volunteers.

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5. Find the right employer

More companies are now offering student loan payoff programs as a perk to new employees. This is becoming especially common with new startups. Companies want to retain top talent, so offering attractive perks like this is a way of bringing in skilled and motivated employees. Check to see if the companies you're applying to offer student loan repayment options.

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6. Consider student loan forgiveness programs

There are various student loan forgiveness programs available, but only to select people. While most borrowers won't qualify for these programs, it is worth looking into. For instance, with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, people working in public service can have their loans forgiven after 120 qualifying monthly payments. There are also income-driven repayment plans that forgive your loans after 20-25 years of repayment. You may also qualify for special federal student loan forgiveness programs if you work in low-income schools or in public service jobs, such as for a nonprofit or the government.

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7. Gamble with cryptocurrency

Many students are playing the Bitcoin market, and it's not hard to see why. It was considered "the hottest investment of 2017," especially among younger investors. In a time when student loan debt is rising to a crushing degree, a recent survey conducted by Student Loan Report found that one in five college students in the U.S. have used financial aid money to buy cryptocurrency.

However, this is generally not a wise financial move. Cryptocurrency is still a very new thing, and some don't even consider it a legal currency yet because its form is digital. There have also been some setbacks with hacking, stolen Bitcoins, and illegal sales with black market items. Risking your education funds on an investment fraught with controversy is simply not worth it.

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8. Start a side hustle

To bring in some extra cash, you could always start a side hustle. That's what Harvard Business School grad and blogger Joe Mihalic did when he graduated in 2009 and found himself stuck with more than $90,000 in student loan debt.

"I tried finding extra work on the weekends, like pedi-cabbing, which didn’t quite work out. But I didn’t let that setback discourage me. I kept trying different things. My buddy and I started our own landscaping business on the side, which enjoyed some moderate success. I got two roommates from Craigslist," Mihalic told Wise Bread. "I also sold a bunch of stuff on Craigslist, like my iPod, second car, motorcycle, bicycle, and a pair of Burberry reading glasses I had since graduate school."

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9. Play trivia games

If you've got a brain packed full of fun facts that dazzle people you meet at parties, you can put that knowledge to work by playing trivia for money. Givling is an app that awards large cash prizes to winning trivia teams each week. The cash prizes are crowdfunded for student loan borrowers and people with mortgage debt. To date, Givling has paid 23 student loans for a total of over $1.1 million.

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10. Explore traditional methods

Traditional means of student loan repayment are always a great option. Debt refinancing or debt consolidation can help lower the interest you pay in the long-run. You can also take advantage of automatic debt payments, make payments twice per month, or trim your budget so there's more left over for repayment. These methods will help you to pay off your student loan faster and can save you a great deal of money in the long-run.

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11. Leave America

When student loan debt becomes too much of a burden, some have chosen to get up and leave the U.S. in an attempt to bail on their debt. Whether they move to a foreign country for better job opportunities and higher pay so they can eventually pay off their loans, or if they're looking to skip out on the bill altogether, this coping method is becoming more and more common.

And while there's a chance you may never get caught, it's hardly worth the stress of leaving everything you know and love behind in order to hide from debt collectors in a distant corner of the globe.

This article by Andrea Cannon was originally published on Wise Bread.


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