Should I Borrow Student Loans To Help Pay For College?
Students often turn to student loans in order to finish paying for college. This is totally fine, however, be prepared to pay ALL of that money back (and then some, thanks to interest rates). Repaying student loans will not be easy, but it may be the only option you have left. Keep in mind that paying for college with student loans can send you spiraling into debt. Therefore, it’s important to ask yourself the right questions to determine if this is the right financial move for you.
Sort through available opportunities before deciding to borrow student loans. The best thing you can do for yourself is to research your options. If this is your first stop on that researching journey, College Life Today is happy to help! Before borrowing that money, you should investigate these alternatives:
Apply for scholarships you are eligible for -- every single one you can find. Additionally, less people end up applying for smaller scholarships, so don’t overlook a $500 scholarship simply because it’s $500. That’s still money you will NOT have to pay back. Check out our scholarships to get started!
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Fill out and submit your FAFSA. This will provide a better idea on whether or not you apply for grants and work-study. A grant is money that you do not have to pay back, although they may come with stipulations. And work-study allows you to work on or near campus to assist with paying for college. This also lets you know if you are eligible for specific direct student loans (subsidized) that lower interest rates and have deferment policies. Know what you need to get started!
Call the College:
Talk to a representative at your college’s financial aid office to discuss financial options. They can help you search for financial aid available for students enrolled in specific programs or majors. For example, if you’re studying to be a lawyer, look into the John R. Justice Loan Repayment Program. They award grants up to $10,000 a year to pay off student loans for up to six years.
Consider Your Future:
What does that starting salary look like? Research starting salaries in your field to gauge how much you will earn immediately after graduation. With that in mind, loan payments should be no more than 15% of your future monthly take-home salary. After all, you need to live too.
Read the Terms of Agreement:
If you have exhausted all other options and have decided to borrow a student loan, take the time to understand what you are signing up for and agreeing to beforehand. When you sign the “loan promissory note,” you agree to fulfill the terms written there. Most of the time, these terms will make you repay student loans regardless if you finish school or find a job after graduation.
Research Repayment Plans:
What plans are available for paying back that pesky student loan? If you’re borrowing money from Federal Student Aid, you may be leaning towards income-driven repayment plan options. These sort of plans can be eligible for grants based on your current qualifying career and what you studied in school. Not sure where to start looking? Read Student Loan Repayment: Your Options for more ideas.
Student loans might not be your only option for paying that college tuition. Do everything you can to pay for college based on the list of alternatives included on this article before you make such a big decision.
When you consider borrowing student loans. A decision like this can impact the rest of your life.