5 Reasons Having Student Loan Debt Isn't So Bad

05/03/2015 12:34 pm ET | Updated May 03, 2016

1. You're not alone!

Around 70% of college graduates have student loan debt. Most people finish school with around $30,000 in loans and expect to pay them off in around 10 years. Everyone understands what you're going through. For most people who earn a college degree, student loans are just a fact of life.

2. It can be great for your credit score.

Your credit history will follow you for life. Lenders use your score to evaluate what kind of risk you are, and it can determine what credit opportunities are available to you and what kind of interest rates you qualify for. People with no, or poor, credit history have trouble securing favorable interest rates and many don't qualify for auto and home loans at all.

Luckily, paying down your student loans over time will help build a positive credit history, and raise your score. This can pay off in a big way by opening up borrowing opportunities and access to the lowest interest rates. That's right. When you buy a house, you may be thanking your student loans for a lifetime of lower mortgage payments.

3. It doesn't have to take forever.

If paying off your loans as fast as possible is important to you, there's no reason you can't make it happen. Last year, 22 year old Jordan Arnold paid off his $23,150 student loan debt just 10 months after graduating! He prioritized repayment by minimizing living expenses, taking a second job, and making payments early before interest started accruing. It takes hard work and smart budgeting, but it's entirely possible to be debt free before 25.

4. You're not stuck with your current terms.

Explosive growth in student loan refinancing, combined with historically low market rates, means you have a lot of options. If you're not happy with the terms of your loan, shop around. There are many qualified private lenders ready to help you refinance and lower your payments. Nothing is set in stone, and you don't need to be married to your original loan. Especially when a rising credit score qualifies you for much better interest rates through a private lender.

5. You got to go to college!

Your student loans weren't for nothing, you got to go to college. College is the best time of many people's lives. You made lasting memories, lifelong friends, and may have even met your spouse. Indeed, almost 30% of married couples attended the same college. On top of that, you increased your earning potential by A LOT. A college degree increases in value every generation, and today's college graduate earns an average of $17,500 more annually than someone with only a high school diploma.

Paying off student loans may seem daunting, but when loans are managed effectively, they are more than worth it for most borrowers. We've all (mostly) been there, and if you get overwhelmed, don't forget that there are lots of options to help you manage and reduce your payments.

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