The cost of a college degree can be a daunting amount. Fortunately student loans are available to help you but they do come with many cautionary tales of disaster. Simply taking all of the money you can get without considering how it affects your future is a recipe for disaster. So keep the following in mind as you consider student loans.
Make sure you keep track of your loans. You should know who the lender is, what the balance is, and what its repayment options are. If you are missing this information, you can contact your lender or check the NSLDL website. If you have private loans that lack records, contact your school.
Once you leave school and are on your feet you are expected to start paying back all of the loans that you received. There is a grace period for you to begin repayment of your student loan. It is different from lender to lender, so make sure that you are aware of this.
Try getting a part-time job to help with college expenses. Doing this can help you cover some of your student loan costs. It can also reduce the amount that you need to borrow in student loans. Working these kinds of positions can even qualify you for your college’s work study program.
Do not default on a student loan. Defaulting on government loans can result in consequences like garnished wages and tax refunds withheld. Defaulting on private loans can be a disaster for any cosigners you had. Of course, defaulting on any loan risks serious damage to your credit report, which costs you even more later.
Be careful when consolidating loans together. The total interest rate might not warrant the simplicity of one payment. Also, never consolidate public student loans into a private loan. You will lose very generous repayment and emergency options afforded to you by law and be at the mercy of the private contract.
When deciding how much money to borrow in the form of student loans, try to determine the minimum amount needed to get by for the semesters at issue. Too many students make the mistake of borrowing the maximum amount possible and living the high life while in school. By avoiding this temptation, you will have to live frugally now, but will be much better off in the years to come when you are not repaying that money.
Try shopping around for your private loans. If you need to borrow more, discuss this with your adviser. If a private or alternative loan is your best bet, make sure you compare items like repayment options, fees, and interest rates. Your school may recommend some lenders, but you’re not required to borrow from them.
The information above is just the beginning of what you should know as a student loan borrower. You should continue to educate yourself about the specific terms and conditions of the loans you are offered. Then you can make the best choices for your situation. Borrowing wisely today can help make your future that much easier.