Student loans: 5 steps to pay down your debt

Student loans aren't far from your mind if you've graduated. Now comes the hard part: paying for the education that you’ve just completed. Where to begin? Collect all your loan paperwork and then follow these five smart steps to paying off your student loans.

2. Look for forgiveness

Nathaniel Wilder/Staff/File
AmeriCorps volunteers Mary Schumacher (foreground) from Portage, Michigan and Jessica Erickson from Des Moines, Iowa fold netting to be used in oyster traps in the bay outside of Wellfleet in this 2002 file photo. AmeriCorps is among the many public service organizations that qualify for loan forgiveness programs.

Loan forgiveness is definitely an option worth considering. There are many public service fields and some teaching positions that allow for loan forgiveness after working in the field for a period of 10 years. During the period you must make 120 payments on your loans after which the balance will be forgiven. You can also do volunteer work to pay down debt. AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, and Vista all have programs that qualify for loan forgiveness.

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