Tuition isn’t going to go down in Connecticut, so stop hoping it will.

Students of Connecticut need to face the facts, the cost of college is only going to get more expensive.

Yeah that sounds dreadful, but you have to start preparing for the inevitable burden of paying off those student loans you’ve been racking up. If you haven’t heard, Connecticut is in dire straits. The state is facing a projected $2 billion deficit in the coming two years. What’s causing the state’s debt to rise? The four main culprits are:

  • Pensions for public school teachers
  • Pensions for state employees
  • Health care for retired state employees
  • Debt service on bonding for capital projects

Connecticut has not been able to completely pay off their yearly obligations. It’s a common practice in other states too, but Connecticut has been kicking this can down the road for a long time. (And as far as fiscal health goes, Connecticut is dead last.) On top of that, revenue from taxes has gone down. Part of the reason is people are leaving Connecticut and a good chunk of income taxes come from taxpayers who’s income depends on financial markets.

Right now, Connecticut legislators are arguing back and forth in trying to find a solution. Budget proposals, that failed, earlier this week involved tax hikes. Taxpayers in this state will tell you that they’re already being choked to death by taxes. But all of these financial woes are affecting your tuition. It’s time to be proactive.

Ask About Your Student Loan Options

Student loans work against you. The gatekeeper of all student loans, Navient, is banking on your ability to get a job straight out of college and start making payments on those loans. Plenty of student get jobs straight out of college,but life happens and it sometimes won’t work out the way you want it to.

Navient serves nearly 12 million students holding more than $300 billion in government and private student loans. The federal government is suing Navient for neglecting to tell borrowers about repayment options and neglecting to notify borrowers when payments are due. Former Navient employees admit to keeping conversations with potential borrowers to 7 minutes or less to meet department quotas.

If you’re dealing with Navient, take your time and get to know your options.

The government also provides income-driven student loans. These repayment programs restructures your student loan in way that it makes it an affordable expense based on how much money you make per month.

Last year, President Obama introduced REPAYE. It’s an income-driven student loan that requires your repayment no more than 10 percent of your monthly earnings and forgives your debt after 20 years. If the loan is unpaid after 20 years then the remaining amount will be treated as taxable income.

If a student loan company charges you for an income-driven student loan walk out that door. The loans are provided by the U.S. Department of Education and costs nothing to apply.

Federal Loans Are Changing

Income-driven loans are about to see some changes. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is stripping away some student loan protections. One of those protections involve making sure financial institutions that facilitate government loans, like Navient, are held “accountable for borrowers receiving accurate, consistent and timely information about their debt.”

Hence, the lawsuit against Navient. But it’s this same lawsuit that DeVos uses to strengthen her reasons to get rid of those protections. She’s saying the government provisions aren’t working because Navient is cheating a lot of student borrowers.

It seems like financing education isn’t working in your favor, but the education you’re going to get is essential. But it’s all on you and how you use those skills. Until higher education is free for everyone, you’ll just have to be smart with your money and stay informed about loan options.