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Financial Friday: Tips for Graduates Paying Off Student Loans

Valrie Chambers, Ph.D., Stetson University professor

Valrie Chambers, Ph.D.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has several tools that graduating students can use to pay off student loans and organize their finances. These tools are organized by life stage.

The first step is to get a job and create a new budget that has savings for economic surprises or “shocks” and provides for timely payment of student loans and other debts.

It often pays to prioritize reducing higher-interest debt like credit cards, but it’s important to never get behind on student loan payments either.

Betty Thorne, Stetson University

Betty Thorne, Ph.D.

Check with your new employer’s human resource department. They sometimes offer assistance in paying off or working off student debt.

It may pay to consolidate debts, but check the math and fees before doing this.

Look for ways to keep your expenses low until you pay off your debt. Renegotiate your cell phone and auto insurance plans. Try to stay on the low end of your rent budget. Conserve electricity. If you have a car, drive it longer. Use coupons and buy on sale.

Keeping on top of all debts is important. It affects your credit score, which affects the interest rates on new borrowings for cars, home mortgages and new credit. The credit score may also affect your ability to get a good job or rent an apartment.


Valrie Chambers, Ph.D., associate professor of taxation and accounting, and Betty Thorne, Ph.D., professor of statistics and the Christian R. Lindback Chair of Business Administration, write Financial Fridays to bolster students’ financial wellness including preventing financial mistakes, safeguarding their assets and identity, and thinking critically about financial decisions. For questions, contact Valrie Chambers at Valrie.chambers@stetson.edu.