But you need to carefully think about how much debt you acquire. It can add up quickly over the 4 or 5 years it takes to get through college. So heed the advice below and never sign anything that you don’t fully understand. Start your student loan search by looking at the safest options first. These are generally the federal loans. They are immune to your credit rating, and their interest rates don’t fluctuate. These loans also carry some borrower protection. This is in place in case of financial issues or unemployment following your graduation from college.
Tips to consider:
- Do not hesitate to “shop” before taking out a student loan. Just as you would in other areas of life, shopping will help you find the best deal. Some lenders charge a ridiculous interest rate, while others are much more fair. Shop around and compare rates to get the best deal.
- If you’re having trouble repaying loans, don’t panic. Many people have issues crop up unexpectedly, such as losing a job or a health problem. Do be aware of your deferment and forbearance options. But bear in mind that interest will still accrue, so consider making whatever payments you can to keep the balance in check.
- Know what you’re signing when it comes to student loans. Work with your student loan adviser. Ask them about the important items before signing. These include how much the loans are, what kind of interest rates they will have, and if you those rates can be lowered. You also need to know your monthly payments, their due dates, and any additional fees.
- If you are in the position to pay off student loans early and inclined to do so, make sure you begin with the loans that carry the highest rate of interest. Do not simply pay off the loan that has the smallest amount remaining.
- For those having a hard time with paying off their student loans, IBR may be an option. This is a federal program known as Income-Based Repayment. It can let borrowers repay federal loans based on how much they can afford instead of what’s due. The cap is about 15 percent of their discretionary income.
- To use your student loan money wisely, shop at the grocery store instead of eating a lot of your meals out. Every dollar counts when you are taking out loans, and the more you can pay of your own tuition, the less interest you will have to pay back later. Saving money on lifestyle choices means smaller loans each semester.
- Take advantage of student loan repayment calculators to test different payment amounts and plans. Plug in this data to your monthly budget and see which seems most doable. Which option gives you room to save for emergencies? Are there any options that leave no room for error? When there is a threat of defaulting on your loans, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
- To get the most out of your student loan dollars, spend your free time studying as much as possible. It is good to step out for a cup of coffee or a beer now and then, but you are in school to learn. The more you can accomplish in the classroom, the wiser the loan is as an investment.
- As you fill out your application for financial aid, ensure that everything is correct. Errors on your application can alter the amount you are loaned. If you are concerned about possible errors, make an appointment with a financial aid counselor.
- Stay in touch with the lender. This is essential since you need to know all about your loans and stipulations within your repayment plans. Your lender can also give you tips to repay your loan more effectively.
If you want to make sure that you get the most out of your student loan, make sure that you put 100 percent effort into your school work. Be on time for group project meetings, and turn in papers on time. Studying hard will pay off with high grades and a terrific job offer. Being an educated borrower is the best way to avoid costly and regrettable student loan disasters. Take the time to look into different options, even if it means adjusting your expectations of college life. So take the time to learn everything there is to know about student loans and how to use them wisely.