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Sallie Mae Offers Financial Checklist For New College Graduates

06/15/2012

The Street - June 14, 2012

Two recent surveys indicate that companies plan to hire more new college grads this year than they did in the past two years. That’s good news for the more than 3.4 million college students who graduated in the 2011-2012 school year.

Sallie Mae, the nation’s No. 1 financial services company specializing in education, reminds graduates that, now that the ceremonies are over, it’s a good time to prepare for the next phase in your financial life.

“Congratulations to the graduates of the Class of 2012 who have worked so hard to achieve this significant accomplishment,” said Heather S., a Sallie Mae employee who helps to ensure customer funding needs are met. “Organization, communication, and a budget can help you translate academic accomplishment into financial success. Sallie Mae is committed to helping our customers thrive as they transition from college to career.”

A study by CareerBuilder reported 54 percent of employers plan to hire recent college graduates in 2012, up from 46 percent in 2011 and 44 percent in 2010. A similar study showed employers expect to hire 10 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2012 than they did from the Class of 2011, according to National Association of Colleges and Employers.

If you borrowed to complete your college degree, consider these steps to prepare for student loan repayment:

1. Review your student loans. Take time to review your education loan documents and create a list of your loan amounts, interest rate and projected payments. Start with this helpful repayment worksheet.
2. Mark your calendar. Federal loans and most private loans provide six months of transition time after graduation before your first full payment is due. If you’ve been making interest payments while in school, the good news is you’ve already established the habit of making payments.
3. Update your address with your loan servicer. If you move or change your email address, update your loan servicer so you don’t miss reminders and bills.
4. Estimate your monthly payments. Estimate your likely monthly student loan payment by using Sallie Mae’s repayment calculator at CollegeAnswer.com. For example, a typical loan balance of $25,000 translates into monthly payments of $288.
5. Get a head start by paying early or extra. Graduation gifts, apartment deposit refunds and signing bonuses can help you start paying down your education loan balance a little early and enable you to pay less in the long run. Also, sign up for Sallie Mae’s Upromise Rewards. Every time you make a qualifying purchase from hundreds of participating companies you can earn a percentage back in rewards that can be used to help pay down your student loans.

In addition, new college grads can benefit from these other financially savvy steps:

6. Create a budget. Now that you are out of school, your schedule will change and so will your living expenses. Plan for your financial well-being by setting up a monthly budget.
7. Think about your health. In the transition from college to work, don’t overlook arranging for health insurance. If you are no longer covered by a student health plan, recent health care law changes allow you to stay on your parent's health insurance plan until age 26. For those who need a temporary solution, Sallie Mae offers short-term medical insurance, which bridges the gap between graduation and employer-sponsored coverage.
8. Consider renters insurance needs. If you are moving into a new apartment, renters insurance is an affordable way to protect your personal belongings while providing personal liability protections.
9. Don’t wait to start saving. Start setting aside some extra to build up a rainy day fund or to prepare for an anticipated purchase. You can set up an automatic savings plan and earn a rate that's seven times the national average with Sallie Mae’s High-Yield Savings Account offered with FDIC insurance through Sallie Mae Bank. In addition, while retirement may seem like a long way off, don’t put off signing up for your employer’s 401(k) program.