As a soon-to-be college student (or the proud parent of one), the prospect of taking out student loans can be intimidating. Grants and scholarships are great if you can get them, but they don’t always cover the full cost of tuition and books. Before you sign on the line, carefully consider your options and know what to expect.
Consider private funding for your college education. Because public loans are so widely available, there’s a lot of competition. Private student loans will have less people getting them, and there will be small funds that go unclaimed because they’re small and people aren’t aware of them. Ask locally to see if such loans are available.
Never ignore your student loans because that will not make them go away. If you are having a hard time paying the money back, call and speak to your lender about it. If your loan becomes past due for too long, the lender can have your wages garnished and/or have your tax refunds seized.
Exercise caution when considering student loan consolidation. Yes, it will likely reduce the amount of each monthly payment. However, it also means you’ll be paying on your loans for many years to come. This can have an adverse impact on your credit score. As a result, you may have difficulty securing loans to purchase a home or vehicle.
Pay extra on your student loan payments to lower your principle balance. Your payments will be applied first to late fees, then to interest, then to principle. Clearly, you should avoid late fees by paying on time and chip away at your principle by paying extra. This will reduce your overall interest paid.
To get the most out of your student loans, pursue as many scholarship offers as possible in your subject area. The more debt-free money you have at your disposal, the less you have to take out and pay back. This means that you graduate with less of a burden financially.
Try making your student loan payments on time for some great financial perks. One major perk is that you can better your credit score. With a better credit score, you can get qualified for new credit. You will also have a better opportunity to get lower interest rates on your current student loans.
Starting to pay off your student loans while you are still in school can add up to significant savings. Even small payments will reduce the amount of accrued interest, meaning a smaller amount will be applied to your loan upon graduation. Keep this in mind every time you find yourself with a few extra bucks in your pocket.
If you want to give yourself a head start when it comes to repaying your student loans, you should get a part-time job while you are in school. If you put this money into an interest-bearing savings account, you will have a good amount to give your lender once you complete school.
The better your understanding of student loans, the more confident you can be in your decision. Paying for college is a necessary evil, but the benefits of an education are undeniable. Use everything you’ve learned here to make smart, responsible decisions about student loans. The faster you can get out of debt, the sooner you can earn a return on your investment.