It’s a new month and I’ve got a new update on my student loans. As of earlier today, my student loan debt dropped another thousand bucks to $41 thousand left outstanding. This follows my recent $3 thousand drop from a week and a half ago. Dropping another thousand in my total student loan debt in two weeks? Not bad.I really don’t have any big, thoughtful discussion to accompany this student loan debt drop update. However, I thought I would take a little space to write about the United States Department of Education’s (USED) recent update to their online payment system.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, then you may remember when I wrote about how utterly useless and totally not helpful the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority’s online payment system was when it was implemented. By the way, that entry from February 2010 is one of the most viewed and most popular entries on this entire blog. In fact, if you go to Google and type in “NJHESAA” there is a link to that entry in the first four or five results that come up on your screen. Pretty good for some random guy’s personal blog, huh?
Before I start to go off on a tangent, let me get back to the short point that I want to make here. The NJHESAA’s online payment system was totally useless. Much like the government-enforced monopoly held by utility companies (which are keeping a large portion of New Jersey literally in the dark right now), NJHESAA actually charged borrowers to make online payments. It was pathetic. On the other hand, the USED doesn’t charge their borrowers to make online payments and even allows you to add additional funds to your regular monthly payment amount. It’s a great system – very easy to use.
A few weeks ago when the USED transferred their system to the new MyEdAccount.com website, I wanted to come on here and rant and rave about how much I hated having to wait for the new website to be implemented. Well, after using the new website and the new system for a few weeks I have to say that I’m very impressed. They didn’t cut many corners putting that website together and yet they still managed to pack it with a bunch of great information and keep a simple, no nonsense look.
Anyway, after my latest payment I’m down to $41 thousand left outstanding. That’s about $80 thousand in student loan principal repaid (and another $30 thousand in interest paid) since July 2006. Absolutely amazing. I definitely could have used that $110 thousand for other purposes over the last 5 years (buying a house, getting a new car, not working around the clock at multiple jobs during my mid-to-late 20s, etc), but it’s okay. The end is near for this repayment plan. Soon, $41 thousand will drop to $40 thousand and then $40 thousand will become $35 thousand and so on and so on until we’re counting down the last $10 thousand together. We’ll get there sooner rather than later.
It’s just a matter of sticking to your guns no matter what people suggest that you do with your money or your life. Most of the time in life, only you know what’s best for you. For me, repaying these student loans as quickly and efficiently as possible is what’s good for me.
And that’s what I’m going to do.
In May 2006, I graduated from Rutgers University with a Masters Degree and $120,720 in student loan debt. Since I started repaying my student loans in July 2006, I’ve repaid a total of $61 thousand in principal to various lenders including the federal Perkins loan program, the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, and CitiBank. I currently owe $41 thousand in principal to the United States Department of Education’s Direct Loans program – a loan which started repayment in July 2006 with a balance of $59 thousand. To date, I’ve repaid well over $30 thousand in interest to these lenders. Follow my student loan repayment story on JerseySmarts.com.