The new year represents a fresh start to many, so we have a few student loan resolutions to help you on your way to financial success.

In 2017, the landscape of student loans is set to change. The uncertainty of the fate of student loans with the changing of presidents leaves an uneasy feeling. There are some vague ideas of what’s to come, but we don’t know what we will be leaving behind either. The new year represents a fresh start to many, so we have a few student loan resolutions to help you on your way to financial success.

The first resolution would be to fix your defaulted loans and to bring your delinquent loans current. Defaulted loans are tricky, you’ll have to go through rehabilitation (see promissory notes or contact your lender for details on default) or consolidate your loans. However, consolidating your loans can impact your credit score. Make sure to do your homework when dealing with defaulted loans.

You should resolve to know exactly how much you owe. You need to be involved with your student loans otherwise they can get out of hand easily. You will need to know your loan terms and your monthly payment in addition to your total amount owed. A recent study from Brookings showed that students don’t know how much they’re borrowing or how much the already borrowed. It’s a slippery slope.

In relation, you should always borrow responsibly. Before you borrow, figure out how much you’ll need and stick to that number if you can. Make sure not to over-borrow. It may feel good at first to live free and spend the money how you like, but if you save money at the time of borrowing it will make life later when you hit repayment so much easier.

Lastly, the most important resolution you should make this new year for your student loans is to pay extra. As crazy as it sounds it actually helps. It doesn’t pay off your loans sooner but it will save you money. Since you will be getting your principle balance lowered you will have less money next month to pay interest on.

“Let’s say you owe $30,000 in federal student loans at the current 3.76 percent interest rate. If you paid the minimum monthly standard payment of approximately $300, you’d make payments for 10 years, including $6,000 in total interest.

But if you paid $50 extra a month, you’d save a little more than $1,000 in interest and would pay off the loan in just over eight years. You can use online student loan calculators to see how different increased monthly payments can shorten your repayment term.”

Allesandra Lanza, http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/student-loan-ranger/articles/2016-12-28/4-new-years-resolutions-for-student-loan-borrowers

Make sure your extra payment amounts are applied to the principle loan balance, though, some servicers will take the extra money and apply it as a credit on the next bill. If the servicer does this, it keeps you on track for your normal payments and won’t save you the money on interest.

These resolutions should keep you safe in whatever happens in 2017 in regards to your student loans. Remember to stay on top of your loans and be involved. Otherwise, they can be a beast to handle financially, so avoid a headache and do the work to keep you safe.