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.
Keep in mind that there’s a grace period to follow before it’s time to pay a loan back. In order words, find out about when payments are due once you have graduated. This will help you plan in advance.
If you have taken a student loan out and you are moving, be sure to let your lender know. It is important for your lender to be able to contact you at all times. They will not be too happy if they have to go on a wild goose chase to find you.
Keep good records on all of your student loans and stay on top of the status of each one. One easy way to do this is to log onto nslds.ed.gov. This is a website that keep s track of all student loans and can display all of your pertinent information to you. If you have some private loans, they will not be displayed. Regardless of how you keep track of your loans, do be sure to keep all of your original paperwork in a safe place.
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.
It is best to get federal student loans because they offer better interest rates. Additionally, the interest rates are fixed regardless of your credit rating or other considerations. Additionally, federal student loans have guaranteed protections built in. This is helpful in the event you become unemployed or encounter other difficulties after you graduate from college.
To make sure that your student loan turns out to be the right idea, pursue your degree with diligence and discipline. There’s no real sense in taking out loans only to goof off and skip classes. Instead, make it a goal to get A’s and B’s in all of your classes, so you can graduate with honors.
Be careful about accepting private, alternative student loans. It is easy to rack up a lot of debt with these because they operate pretty much like credit cards. Starting rates may be very low; however, they are not fixed. You may end up paying high interest charges without warning. Additionally, these loans do not include any borrower protections.
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.