by Janet Ware
Updated 5 yearss ago
People take out loans for large purchases like cars and houses, so why not for college? This is, after all, an investment in your future, right? Right. Just be sure you protect that future by making wise money choices now.
First and foremost, remember this: Loans are not gifts. One day — and sooner than you think — you’ll have to pay this money back in full, plus the interest that begins to accrue from the moment you accept the funds.
BEFORE YOU SIGN
1. Using a student loan repayment calculator (you can find one at www.finaid.org), estimate the total amount of interest you’ll pay, what your monthly payments will be and how long it will take you to repay your loan in full.
2. Now ask yourself: Will I take home enough money from a job in the field I’ve chosen to meet these monthly payments and still have cash left over for basic living expenses? If the answer is no, keep looking.
TWO BASIC LOAN TYPES
Private: Offered by a commercial bank or credit union and typically at less favorable terms than government loans. Before seeking a private loan, financial advisors recommend that you exhaust all public loan options. Then, if you still need money for
Public: Offered through the U.S. Department of Education at lower interest rates than private loans. Several options, with varying qualifications and terms, are available.
But wait … there’s more
The Federal Work-Study program is another funding option — not a loan, but a need-based jobs program providing part-time employment to help you pay educational expenses while you’re enrolled in school. Your FAFSA determines if you’re eligible.
For information about work-study opportunities, visit the financial aid office on your campus.
Considering a loan to pay for college?
The federal government offers the most options and best terms. To learn more, visit www.NavigatingYourFuture.org