Thursday, April 5, 2007
More Bang for Your Buck: Student Loans
The average college student will graduate from college with almost $20,000 in debt. On tonight's More Bang For Your Buck, we'll show you how you can think outside the box when it comes to paying off student loans.
WSVN -- For the past two years, Julio Avael has been CEO of Miami's Non-Violence Project, a non-profit organization that assists kids in the community.
Julio Avael III: "We're in about 11 different schools throughout the county."
But when he came out of college with $25,000 in student loans, Julio says he was the one who needed the break.
Julio Avael III: "I was definitely looking for assistance in that area to pay off this debt."
It was hard to take a lower paying community service job when similar jobs at big corporations paid more.
But this job came with a big bonus: His job was backed by Americorps, and they helped pay off his student loan.
Julio Avael III: "They had about a $4,700 educational stipend that you could use to pay off student loans."
Many college students are looking for those jobs.
The head of financial aid at Florida International University says it's a good way to decrease your debt.
Francisco Valines: "Some of those jobs actually have ways to assist students. So, it really balances out."
So how do you get more bang for your buck out of your job?
First, sign up with groups like Americorps, the Peace Corps, or V.I.S.T.A.
They can help you find a job that will help pay off your loans while giving back to the community.
Francisco Valines: Whether you're helping build homes, whether you're helping assist a poor school district, I mean there are all kinds of things that those students do."
Second, think "teaching."
In certain parts of the country, agreeing to be a teacher can equal student loan payments.
Francisco Valines: "Because you're getting the years of service in those areas, you're also getting a credit toward what you borrowed."
And military service can mean a big payout.
Francisco Valines: There are certain programs where if you serve for a certain amount of time, they'll repay your loans for you."
The bottom line: Francisco says all of these lessons in creative financing can last a lifetime.
Francisco Valines: "That encourages students to branch out and look at the areas that interest them and not worry about how much money do I need to make to pay that loan back."
As for Julio, he says the extra cash helped put his nerves to rest. The job itself, an invaluable lesson.
Julio Avael III: "Whether it's for a tuition stipend or not, that's something that we have to do. All of us have a responsibility to volunteer in our community, give back to our community."
Tom Haynes: "Another tip: If you're still struggling with how to pay back your loans, talk to your lender directly. They will often work with you to find a payment plan that fits in your budget."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
The Non-Violence Project, USA
1205 Sunset Rd. 2nd Floor
Coral Gables, FL 33143
Phone: (305) 663-1733