Student loan debt can feel like an anchor tied to your waist. No matter how much you pay each month, it seems like you’re constantly treading water and barely staying afloat. An unexpected event, such as job loss or a medical emergency, can be enough to make you feel as though you are drowning.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, many people found themselves among the recently furloughed or unemployed. Thankfully, COVID-19 student loan relief efforts were announced, giving most federal student loan borrowers a 6-month forbearance and 0% interest through September 2020. But those student loan payments will eventually resume. If you’re one of the 44 million Americans with student loan debt and are currently looking for something to do, now is the perfect time to search for scholarships to pay off student loans and other ways to lower your debt.
Student Loan Scholarships
In 2018, MoneySolver launched its very first student loan scholarship. We now offer 14 annual scholarships, valued between $1,000 and $2,500, that can be used to help pay off student loans. Register for a scholarship account and start applying. Each program requires a short essay (250 words or less) and there’s no purchase necessary to win. It’s really that easy. There’s a new winner every month. You must be a legal U.S. resident and 18 years of age or older to apply.
Student Loan Contests
$10,000 #PayMyStudentLoans Contest
If you didn’t have to make your student loan payments, what would you do with all that extra money? Well, when you figure it out, apply for our $10,000 student loan contest. You can submit a video (60 seconds or less) or an essay (250 words or less) for the chance to break free from your student loan debt. The contest is open to currently or previously enrolled college students, who are legal U.S. residents and 18 years of age or older. The deadline to apply is June 30, 2020.
First Aid Beauty has committed up to $1 million to help student loan borrowers. Through their Fab Aid initiative, 10 lucky winners will receive up to $100,000 to pay off their loans. U.S. and Canadian students may apply by submitting a video (two minutes or less) or an essay (250 words or less) that describes how student loans have impacted their lives. Applicants must have graduated from an accredited 4-year college between 2018 and August 31, 2020. You must also follow @FirstAidBeauty on Instagram. The deadline to apply is August 31, 2020.
Swipe Away $10K Sweepstakes
Do you have a Sallie Mae IgniteSM or Sallie Mae AccelerateSM credit card? If so, you could win $10,000 toward your student loan debt. There are a total of 12 winners, and you can earn multiple entries by making purchases, sharing on social media, and more. The last day to enter is September 30, 2020. Check out the sweepstakes website to learn more.
Grown-ish and Broke Student Loan Payoff
Essence and Freeform are sponsoring this student loan contest, which offers three chances to win money to pay off your student debt. Third place will receive $25,000, second place receives $50,000, and the grand prize winner will have $75,000 in student loans paid off. All winners will also receive a paid trip to the Essence Festival in New Orleans. Video and essay entries will be accepted through April 30, 2020. Applicants must be currently or previously enrolled in college.
Other Ways to Lower Your Debt
Do you like trivia? Enjoy playing games on your phone? Be sure to download Givling. You can win daily and weekly prizes, as well as earn Queue Points for your chance to have $50,000 in student loan debt paid off. To date, Givling has awarded nearly $6 million to student loan borrowers.
If you’re still working and financially stable, it might be a good idea to use your stimulus check to help reduce your student loan debt. With interest rates currently at zero for most federal student loan borrowers, the money you pay now will help lower your balance even more than it would have previously.
The IRS is refunding more than $1.8 billion in offsets to 830,000 student loan borrowers. Essentially, this is money you did not expect to see again, and it would have gone toward your outstanding student loan debt. If you receive this refund and can afford to do so, apply the money to your student loan balance. Every little bit helps!
Although the world is upside down right now, it will return to normal one day. When that happens, your student loan debt will be waiting for you. We encourage you to use this time to look into options for lowering your student loan payments, rehabilitating defaulted loans, and finding alternative ways to pay off your debt. If you do, it’ll be smooth sailing when we finally get the all-clear and go back to our regular routines.