The student loan debt in America hit $1.71 billion this year. There are 43.2 million student loan borrowers nationwide, with many of them hailing from South Carolina. The majority of South Carolina graduates leave school with student loan debt, mostly from federal student loans.
South Carolina student loan balances might be as high compared to other parts of the country, but paying off that debt is still a concern for borrowers in the state. Here’s a look at South Carolina student loans and refinancing and private student loan options available for residents.
The state of student loan debt in South Carolina
Like anywhere else in the U.S., South Carolina students have the burden of dealing with student loan debt. Sixty percent of four-year college graduates in South Carolina leave with student loan debt. The average student loan debt for those students is $31,524, lower than the national average ($39,351).
South Carolina Student Loan Debt Overview
Average student loan debt of graduates:
Percent of students with debt:
Percent of debt from private loans:
Compared to the cost of living in the state, and there’s hope for South Carolina graduates. Cost-of-living indexes compare an average individual’s typical expenses from different states. Expenses included in a cost-of-living index include:
Research from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center shows that South Carolina has a cost-of-living index of 95.9, ranked the 22nd-lowest in the country. The average cost-of-living index in the U.S. is 100, so South Carolina falls below the national average of 100.
Living in a state with a low cost of living is advantageous to student loan borrowers. Having lower living expenses lets you put more money toward student loan payments, potentially paying off your debt faster.
What South Carolina student loan borrowers need to know
The state of South Carolina has a saturated job market for health care providers. An abundance of providers usually leads to lower salaries, because of the competition to land jobs.
Health care workers tend to have high loan debt balances from the extra education that’s required. It’s even worse if you attended a prestigious school with ridiculously high tuition costs.
Living in South Carolina means you might not reach the income goals you hoped for when entering a high-debt profession. That doesn’t mean you should move elsewhere, but it does mean you should take time to analyze your loan debt, income (and potential future income) to determine the best course of action for paying off your student loan debt.
Student Loan Refinance in South Carolina
Student loan refinancing can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loans, especially if you have excellent credit. Regardless of your credit score, you might still qualify for interest rates lower than you’re currently paying on your federal or private student loans.
Several lenders within the state of South Carolina offer student loan refinancing. Unfortunately, state-specific lenders and credit unions typically offer much higher interest rates than you’d get from popular national lenders.
A few of the better refinancing lenders for South Carolina residents include:
Another option is Credible. It’s an online lending marketplace that allows you to check rates with multiple lenders quickly in one place online. Checking rates on Credible won’t affect your credit score either. National lender, LendKey, also partners with local lenders in South Carolina to offer lower rates than you might not find on your own.
Most people don’t know this, but you can refinance your student loans more than once. As your income grows and your credit improves, you can refinance again at even lower rates to save more money.
There’s no limit to the number of times you can refinance. Most lenders offer a way to prequalify or check rates in advance without negatively affecting your credit score.
Lenders look at factors like your credit history, credit score, debt-to-income ratio, other debt, income, and more to determine eligibility for refinancing. If you don’t meet qualifications on your own, many lenders allow the use of a cosigner to refinance your loans.
Check out our student loan refinance calculator to see how much money you could save by refinancing your student loans.
Private student loan options in South Carolina for current students
If you’re currently in school in South Carolina, depending on the school and degree program, there’s a good chance that federal loans won’t cover the total cost of school. You should always turn to federal student aid first. They are government-backed and come with access to extra protections like repayment plans, extended forbearance and loan forgiveness programs.
Private student loans might be the next best option, depending on your situation. These loans are a great way to cover leftover expenses when your federal student loan options run out. Plus, lenders offer various loan options, like undergraduate and graduate loans, med school loans, law school loans, residency loans and more.
Credit requirements for South Carolina private student loans
Similar to refinancing, lenders place a premium on lending to people with good credit. As a student, it's likely that you haven’t had enough time or income to build yourself up financially to the requirements of a private lender on your own. Many lenders require students to have a cosigner to secure a private student loan.
Reducing the effects of South Carolina student loans
South Carolina borrowers have options for paying off their student loans, including refinancing student loans. Choosing the right option can save you money and time and pave the way to achieving other life and financial goals faster.
If you’re unsure what to do with your loan debt, work with one of our student loan consultants to create a customized game plan for paying off your loans.