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Get the facts about student loans before applying to college


Monday, August 05, 2013

Students preparing for college often get swept up in the excitement of embarking on the next chapter of their lives. While this excitement helps motivate you through all phases of the college search process, it is important that you direct some of your energies to understanding the financial implications of earning a college degree, including the  amount of debt will assume once you leave college. Before you submit a college application, consider how your choices will impact your financial future.

Think carefully
There is little doubt that earning a college degree is one of the best ways you can invest in your future. However, college can be expensive, depending on the type of college you attend and the degree program you choose. While a college degree can set you apart from the competition in the job market, student loan debt can negatively impact other aspects of your life. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, graduates across the U.S. owe more than $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt. With figures like this routinely making news headlines, it's never been more important for students to make informed choices about their debt.

Consider your options
Federal programs are usually the best place to begin your search for college financing. Federal student loans are typically offered at much lower interest rates than loans offered by private financial institutions. Subsidized Stafford Loans in particular provide excellent value for students, as the government pays the interest on these loans for the duration of your studies. Before committing to any decisions, determine whether you are eligible for this type of financing. Also, be sure to explore alternative sources of funding, such as scholarships and grants.

Understand repayment terms
Some students fail to consider how the repayment terms of their loans will affect them once they graduate or leave college. As such, many young people struggle to get by due to the amount they borrowed and the expected repayments their lenders demand.

Repayment terms will vary widely depending on how much you borrow and from where. Student loan repayment calculators are a good place to start figuring out roughly how much you can expect to repay each month. Also, consider how much you are likely to earn in your desired field upon graduation, and compare the monthly net salary with your projected loan repayments, as this will enable you to identify whether you're making a financially feasible decision.

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Get the facts about student loans before applying to college
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