• Spotlight on success: How one college graduate is paying off $100,000 in student loan debt

    March 02, 2017 by

     

    Robin Rectenwald graduated from Duquesne University in 2012 with 20 different student loans and $100,000 in loan debt. But through working a full-time job, two part-time jobs, working with a financial planner, and creating strategies to successfully pay off her student loan debt, she is setting herself up for financial freedom from her student loan debt.

    Now, in 2017, she only has five loans left, and is quickly whittling down the amount she owes.

    Learn about Robin’s story, her strategies for success and how to reduce and eliminate student debt below in this College Recruiter Spotlight on Success:

    Name: Robin Rectenwald
    City/state: Pittsburgh, PA
    Current profession: PR Professional for WordWrite Communications
    College/University attended: Allegheny College (1 year) and Duquesne University (3 years) – both private schools
    Annual tuition: $42,000 and $25,000
    Student loan debt at graduation: $101,527.38

    College Recruiter: What do you know now that you wish you knew in college?

    Rectenwald: I wish I would’ve saved every penny when I was in college and living with my parents. And…

    • I wish I would’ve known that you can start paying the interest on your loans while you’re still in school.
    • I wish I would’ve known more about the difference between private and federal loans and subsidized and unsubsidized loans. I also wish I would’ve researched student loan options ever year.
    • I wish I would’ve learned more about the cost of living after college (more info on this below).
    • I wish I would’ve applied for more private scholarships.

    College Recruiter: In addition to working full-time, you also work two part-time jobs, with all money from those part-time jobs going towards paying off student loans. How has that helped?

    Rectenwald: My balances would be through the roof! When I graduated from college, I had 20 loans with balances ranging from $1,000 to $12,000 and interest rates as high as 10%. If I would not have really investigated these loans after graduation and made an action plan to pay them off, my payments today probably would only be going to the principal. In other words, my balances would be getting bigger because my payments would only be going towards the interest and because of that the interest would just keep growing and growing, I’d be paying my student loans forever. Recent college grads need to know that yes, you may be sending payments, but is it actually paying down the principal balance or is it just going to the interest? Don’t get caught in this trap!

    College Recruiter: How have you handled the mental stress of having student loan debt? What tips do you have for others who have stress from student loan debt? Continue Reading

  • 10 unique side jobs that can help pay off student loan debt

    February 16, 2017 by

     

    Robin Rectenwald has a full-time job working for WordWrite Communications a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania public relations firm, that she absolutely loves. But that hasn’t stopped her from finding unique side jobs to help pay off her student loan debt. Rectenwald graduated from Duquesne University in 2012 with 20 different student loans and $100,000 in loan debt. Now, in 2017, she only has five loans left, and is quickly whittling down the amount she owes.

    Before landing her first full-time job in 2012, Rectenwald worked part-time as a customer service representative at Gateway Clipper Fleet, a Pittsburgh sightseeing organization. She worked in the ticket and sales office, where she learned about marketing, sales and customer service – all valuable skills in her current role – and for any future opportunities. She worked for Gateway Clipper Fleet for four years, using that money to make extra payments towards her school loans. Rectenwald recently switched to a new part-time job as a customer care representative at ShowClix, a ticketing software company. For this job, she works from the comforts of her own home answering phones and responding to emails from customers looking to buy tickets to international events.

    “Even though I’ve grown as a professional in the PR field and have had a number of promotions that increased my salary since starting out as an entry-level professional, I continue to work a part-time job because I’m trying to save as much money as possible,” says Rectenwald. “With this part-time income, I’ve been able to pay off several student loans and I’m currently using this extra money to pay tuition out-of-pocket for grad school.”

    Rectenwald takes these part-time jobs seriously, and puts in maximum effort – something her managers have noticed. She was offered a full-time job in the marketing department at Gateway Clipper Fleet, and is writing a crisis communication plan for ShowClix as part of her grad school program.

    “These part-time jobs have not only expanded my network and presented additional career opportunities, it has also given me a unique perspective on marketing and communication strategies.”

    And it’s also helped her greatly reduce her student loan debt, and time it would take to pay the loans back.

    That’s what Eric Hian-Cheong is also trying to accomplish. He works full-time for a public relations firm in McLean, Virginia, but also has two, unique part-time jobs. He makes $11 an hour as a part-time rock climbing instructor at a local fitness center, and also works as a second shooter/assistant to a local wedding photographer.

    “Why limit yourself to just one other part-time job?” said Hian-Cheong.

    He works up to 8 hours a weekend, and nets up to $400 a month as a rock climbing instructor – which is right around what he pays each month for his student loans. That job also provides a free gym membership – saving him another $95 a month in gym membership fees.

    These jobs have helped Hian-Cheong improve his self-confidence, he says, and also provides an incredible social life outside of the 9-to-5 job.

    “I have several friends whose social lives revolve around their 9-to-5, which can get a little unhealthy at times,” says Hian-Cheong.

    It’s also helped him network and communicate with a wide variety, and diverse group of people, helping him develop communication, interpersonal, critical thinking, and speaking skills, as he must provide instructions, detail, and clarity, when instructing individuals and a class.

    Rectenwald and Hian-Cheong are among the many recent college grads supplementing their income, and paying off student debt with the help of a unique side job. What are some other unique part-time job opportunities one can pursue to help make extra cash to pay off student loans? Consider some of these options:

    Continue Reading

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