You Should Know This before Taking out Student Loans
Student loans are often touted as a great way to start building credit ¾ and that’s not untrue. However, taking out student loans is a big commitment, maybe bigger than you realize. Even though you’ve seen all the math on how quickly your interest will accumulate, you might not realize how much of an impact those payments will have on your lifestyle. When considering student loans, it’s important to weigh your other options first as well as the degree you’ll be pursuing.
Other Financial Options
Some high schools do a great job of informing soon-to-be college students about the different grants and scholarships available to them. However, many do not. Furthermore, if you’re a nontraditional student, you may have no idea where to start when it comes to these options. A good place to start is by checking with the guidance office at the institution you plan to attend. They’ll be able to point you to organizations they have relationships with.
Another approach is to spend some time hitting the search engine. Is there something that makes your case particularly extraordinary? Do you have a talent or background that sets you apart from the mass of other students applying? Try searching these qualities along with “scholarship” or “grant” and see what you find. It might turn up more than you expect. Remember, you don’t have to choose one scholarship or the other; you can combine them. Obviously, it’s in your best interest to apply for as many as you can.
Will the Degree Be Worth It?
This is always a tough consideration, but it’s one you still need to make. If you have to pay for education by taking out a significant amount of debt, your degree should be one that will help you to find solid employment shortly after you graduate. For example, imagine that you desperately want to be a great author. When you graduate however, you’re facing $200 payments each month, and you haven’t sold a single story. The unfortunate truth is that you’ll be stuck focusing on a job you were never excited about.
The good news is that you don’t have to give up your dream. Many great authors pursued their passion in their free time while they held full-time employment. Choose a degree that complements your passion, and in the future you can figure out a way to combine the two.
Borrow Only What You Need
When you qualify for a lot of financial aid, it can feel tempting to live the high life a little. Instead of a dorm, you might be tempted to choose a chic apartment. Instead of cooking for yourself, you might opt for a bunch of dinners out on the town. However, if you don’t resist this urge, you’ll probably be back living with your parents after college.
Instead, sit down and calculate everything you absolutely need. Then, add 5 to 10 percent for whatever you forget. When you graduate and you’re paying 30 percent less than all your friends from the same program, you’ll be glad you restrained yourself.
Student loans are a powerful tool, but they should be treated with caution. If you’re not careful, they could torpedo your ability to obtain credit in the future. With some careful planning, however, you won’t have anything to worry about.