As the cost of college increases, the need for student loans becomes more common. But all too often, students are not borrowing wisely and are left with a mountain of debt to pay off. So it pays to do your research, find out the different options, and choose wisely. This article can be your starting point for your education on student loans.
Know your grace periods so you don’t miss your first student loan payments after graduating college. Stafford loans typically give you six months before starting payments, but Perkins loans might go nine. Private loans are going to have repayment grace periods of their own choosing, so read the fine print for each particular loan.
If you’re having trouble arranging to finance for college, look into possible military options and benefits. Even doing a few weekends a month in the National Guard can mean a lot of potential financing for college education. The possible benefits of a full tour of duty as a full-time military person are even greater.
Learn the requirements of private loans. You should know that private loans require credit checks. If you don’t have credit, you need a cosigner. They must have good credit and a good credit history. Your interest rates and terms will be better if your cosigner has a great credit score and history.
Be sure you understand the terms of loan forgiveness. Some programs will forgive part or all of any federal student loans you may have taken out under certain circumstances. For example, if you are still in debt after ten years has passed and are working in a public service, nonprofit or government position, you may be eligible for certain loan forgiveness programs.
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.
To reduce the amount of your student loans, work as many hours as you can during your last year of high school and the summer before college. The more money you have to give the college in cash, the less you have to finance. This means less loan expense later on.
To keep your overall student loan principal low, complete your first two years of school at a community college before transferring to a four-year institution. The tuition is significantly lower your first two years, and your degree will be just as valid as everyone else’s when you graduate from the larger university.
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.
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.
As you can see, student loans can be the answer to your prayers or they can end up being a never ending nightmare. So it makes a lot of sense to really understand the terms that you are signing up for. Keeping the tips from above in mind can keep you from making a costly mistake.