How are you paying for college? I discuss the student loan programs I’ve used to help pay for my college tuition costs.
For many parents, a college education is the biggest investment they’ve ever made. Quality college education does not come cheap and saving for college has become much tougher; so unless you’re a millionaire (I’m far from it) or have a good amount of money saved, you may need to acquire a student loan in order to get by. This is especially the case if you’re not the beneficiary of a 529 college savings plan.
Sure, I did get a scholarship at my college of choice, but the scholarship I got could only partially cover the tuition fees. What about my books, dormitory accommodations, food, and other living expenses? Even with a scholarship, I needed a little more financial help.
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How To Pay For College Tuition Costs and More: Use Student Loan Programs!
A student loan definitely helped me have a more comfortable college life when my scholarship money wasn’t enough. But how exactly did I go about finding student financing? The first thing I did was familiarize myself with the different types of student loan programs out there.
1. Federal Student Loan
I wanted to aim for a federal student loan. These loans are funded by the government and offer lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms. There are even federal student loans that don’t require repayment until you have graduated from college. For that reason, federal student loans are a popular choice among college students.
2. Private Student Loan
Unfortunately, it turned out that I wasn’t qualified to get a federal student loan, so my next best option was to get a private student loan. This type of student loan requires that you have a good credit rating. Banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America offer private student loans, which fill in the space between other financial aid forms and money received from federal loans.
3. Bad Credit Student Loan
I did not qualify for a private loan either, because I had maxed out my credit card once and am still in the process of repaying it. But despite that, I was still able to get a loan through a bad credit student loan program. When I applied for a bad credit student loan, the lender didn’t even blink an eye over my credit record. Another option I considered was to go for a forgiveness program, which erases your debt in exchange for time you spend volunteering at a charity or serving in the military. But because the bad credit student lender accepted my application, I was able to avoid having to sign up for a forgiveness program.
How To Manage Your Student Loans and Debt Load
So you don’t have a 529 college savings account and you’ve decided you’ll be applying for loans? My advice to anyone who’s looking for a student loan: make sure you do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask your lender any questions or to bring up concerns about the loan terms. There are some people who end up paying for their college loans well into their thirties because they didn’t read the terms of their loans properly, or they weren’t completely aware of what kind of loans they were getting themselves into. Even though I had a hard time understanding all the legalese, I had read every single word of my contract and had asked my lender a lot of questions.
Finally, always make sure that you pay your loans on time. Not only will this keep your account in good standing, but you’ll also avoid shelling out extra for the interest. Paying off your loans on time will help you build credit and retain a good credit rating as well, allowing you to take out more loans in the future.
Here are more articles on how to afford college when you don’t have enough savings to tide you over: