Debt Management

The majority of Youngstown State University students borrow loans at some point during their college education. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, however, can provide students with the tools and support to help budget appropriately and manage debt upon graduation.

Limit Loan Debt

The first step to becoming a responsible borrower is to limit the amount borrowed.  Many students lament after graduation that they did not pay more attention to their student loan borrowing while in school.  By being a proactive borrower, students may be able to save themselves financial hardship in the future.  A few tips to responsible borrowing are listed below:

  • Fund an education, not a lifestyle
  • Always exhaust Federal loan options prior to securing alternative/private debt
  • Monitor the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to view Federal loan history
  • Maintain a spreadsheet to track student loans
  • Know the loan servicer; create a login and account with them upon securing the first loan
  • Use tools like the Federal Repayment Estimator to estimate monthly repayment upon graduation
  • Develop a personal budget; plan monthly expenses and costs to attend Youngstown State University

Watch: Responsible Borrowing from The Department of Education

Student Loan Repayment

A federal student loan borrower will typically go into repayment 6 months (9 months Perkins loan) after graduating, leaving school or dropping below half-time.  The loan servicer(s) will contact the borrower regarding repayment arrangements.  It is important to note that borrowers have options.  There are a myriad of repayment options from which to choose from as not every student has the same financial means upon graduation and will want to select the repayment plan that is right based on their situation.  Loan servicers have advisors that can help select the right plan.

Click to view Federal Direct Loan Repayment plans from the Department of Education.

Note: students who have borrowed private/alternative loans will need to work with their individual lender regarding loan repayment.  If a student has borrowed alternative loans, those loans will be repaid separately from Federal loans and will not be listed on resources such as NSLDS.

Twice a year, Youngstown State University offers Student Loan Repayment workshops.  Our presenters are typically representatives from student loan servicers such as Sallie Mae or Great Lakes.  Discussion topics include:

  • Student loan repayment plans
  • Loan forgiveness programs
  • Loan consolidation
  • Deferment and forebearance options
  • Borrower rights and responsibilities

To request a copy of the PowerPoint used for the workshop, please e-mail Susan Sahli at

Watch: What to Expect From Loan Repayment from The Department of Education

Default Aversion and Financial Hardship

Once a student has entered repayment it is important to make on-time payments.  On-time student loan repayment will help build a good credit rating.  Conversely, late or missed payments will have an adverse effect on a person’s credit rating.  A good way to manage repayment is to have payments auto-deducted from a checking account.

Should a borrower encounter financial hardship, however, seek out assistance.  Loan servicers will work to lower payment (as low as $0), or place a borrower in deferment or forbearance.  These actions will save the borrower’s credit history from hits due to missed payments, and more importantly, will prevent them from entering loan delinquency and loan default.

Loan default can have serious consequences.  Besides destroying a person’s credit rating, defaulting on a student loan will result in collection calls, tax refunds being withheld and wage garnishment. Federal student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.  Consequences of default can be avoided all together with just one phone call to the loan servicer.

Click for more information on avoiding loan default from the Department of Education.

Financial Literacy and Budgeting

Managing money and understanding both the basic financial principles and the responsibilities that accompany borrowing are important concepts that every college student should master.

The first step in any financial plan is to create a budget.  Plan and anticipate monthly expenses and costs to attend Youngstown State University. Students can use tools like our Tuition Estimator to predict costs owed directly to YSU.  Next, add personal and living expenses to the projected educational costs.  Have the financial aid in order early and determine the loan amount needed to bridge the gap.  Do not treat student loan refunds as excess income; this amount should be used to fund educational expenses above and beyond what is owed to Youngstown State University.  Limiting refund and loan indebtedness is a financially sound decision.

Watch: Budgeting from The Department of Education

There are a multitude of financial literacy resources available online.  Below is one that aids in gaining a greater understanding of student loans and basic financial principles:

Financial Awareness counseling session from