How One New Grad Survived Financial Life after College

Six months after graduating from Florida State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international affairs, Sophia Crowley received a “gift” in the mail: A $223 student loan bill. Four years prior, Crowley took out loans to help defray the cost of tuition.

With no full-time job prospects after graduation, Crowley took a six-month paid internship with Walt Disney World and then another paid internship once that one was over. However, her salary wasn’t enough to pay for necessities and make such a large bill payment. Crowley decided to take action and call her loan servicer, who was able to offer her a hardship deferment for 12 months.

Crowley eventually landed a full-time job as an account coordinator at a public relations firm. However, with a salary of $30,000, she knew she wouldn’t be able to make payments in full each month. After contacting her loan servicer and filling out an application to prove financial hardship, Crowley was approved for an income-based repayment plan and now pays $130 a month on her Stafford loans.

“Since the economy tanked and new grads can’t find jobs, it’s important to take full advantage of you options,” says Crowley. Sophia lived with her parents after graduation, but now shares an apartment with her boyfriend to help with monthly rent.

If you’re struggling to meet your financial needs after graduating from college, you have options.

  • Get over yourself and move back home. Save as much money as you can until you’re back on your feet and able to live on your own.
  • Follow Crowley’s lead and apply for a paid internship. It might not pay a whole lot of money, but it will help you make ends meet until you find something better.
  • Ask your lenders for help. They might be able to work out a payment plan that will help alleviate financial strain.
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