Regular readers of this blog will know that I am in some major student loan debt. As detailed in my front page USA Today article from June 2006, I graduated from Rutgers University with a Master of the Arts in Public Policy…and over $116,000 in student loan debt. For a young guy (I was 25 at the time that I graduated), this was almost like being handed a financial death sentence just as I was getting access into new doors of opportunity by virtue of my degree. Well, I’m here to report some type of “significant” progress on paying back my student loans.
When I graduated, I had some $49,000+ in NJHESAA loans (a private organization), $59,000+ in Direct Loans (loans from the US Department of Education), and more than $8,000 in a private student loan from CitiBank. Since graduation, I’ve completely paid back the CitiBank student loan and I’ve lowered my total outstanding loan balance to slightly more than $107,000. I’m not sure if someone would call this “significant” progress on paying back the student loans, but I think bringing down my overall balance by about $10,000 in two and a half years isn’t so bad! If I didn’t have to pay any of my other expenses, I could have had more than half of the loans paid off by now, but I’m satisfied with my progress.
My short-term goal is to break below $100,000 by March or April of 2009. I think this is completely doable so long as I continue to not have major automobile problems. If I have to buy a new car, then my goal will be to break $100,000 by the end of 2009. Getting below the six figure range will be a great mental victory in paying back these loans and I’m looking forward to it!
In any event, though, there’s a progress report on my student loan repayments. I’m doing a pretty good job of putting all of my available extra cash into paying down my student loan and not squandering it on unnecessary expenses. I win!