From a young age we’re taught saving is good, and debt is bad… it’s no wonder that taking out college student loans makes us pretty freaking nervous.
But realistically, we know that the bigger downside would be not going to college. Which makes student loans totally worth it.
What You Need to Know About College Student Loans
With tons of options out there, it’s really important to know exactly what you’re looking for– and what you want to avoid.
UNDERSTAND YOUR COLLEGE STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT CONDITIONS
If you’re close to making a decision about taking out a student loan, you’ve probably already made the decision to go to college. It’s possible that you might be weighing what kind of school or where you’ll go to school based on the price tag.
Try to recognize that taking out the biggest college student loan available to you might not be your best bet. A massive amount of money can make you feel more financially secure than you really are.
This happens most often in the case of need-based loans, which are fairly easy to get and seem like a great deal.
In reality, the debt might end up being more than you can handle – or really need to achieve your education goals.
Think about what kind of repayment period you really want to be responsible for down the line.
KNOW HOW MUCH OF A COLLEGE STUDENT LOAN YOU NEED
When you get your loan grant letter, you’ll know ahead of time how much money you can get per semester. But it doesn’t stop there.
You’ll need to think of housing, books, and general life expenses. If you don’t want to borrow the full amount, think about what kind of additional income you can generate to keep loans low, whether that means a summer job or a work-study gig on campus.
You can also save money to roll over into the next semester, so you won’t have to take out as much in loans year to year.
Keeping track of your spending will allow you to get a solid idea around what your needs are and stop you from either over extending yourself or finding yourself in a position where you simply don’t have enough.
COLLEGE DEBT DOESN’T HAVE TO RUIN EVERYTHING
You’re making the decision to take out loans because of the benefits going to college means for your career, and overall way of life.
Having this debt isn’t the end of the world… especially if you have a game plan.
When you take out student loans to help pay for college, it’s easy to forget the money will eventually have to be paid back … with interest.
The money just doesn’t seem real when you’re in college, and if you don’t do a good job of keeping track of what you are borrowing and how it is building up, you may find yourself feeling screwed later on.
When it is time to start repaying your loans, you’re probably going to be quite overwhelmed.
Different types of college loans have different interest rates. Not keeping track of your loan balance will leave you pretty surprised.
You can avoid this problem.
Just go to nslds.ed.gov, select “Financial Aid Review,” log in, and you can view all of your federal student loans in one place!
This whole process can be a little overwhelming, especially when you’re new at it. But just remember, your loan service person is there to help you.
If you have questions or need advice, don’t hesitate to contact them.