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Education Loans: Equal Opportunity With Unequal Costs
By Ana Lopez
Higher education in a land of equal opportunity is a dream for most students. Providing education to their children is what most parents’ strive to do. Ample job opportunities exist but these go only to the educated. Getting educated can prove costly and only push you further into debt.

This is the reality of the education scenario in the states and in many parts of the world. Education is becoming costly due to increasing specializations, cost of laboratory and other equipment. Government is decreasing the subsidies and offering a solution: “easier loan facility”. The result is student debt trap. The US department of education loans provides the much needed succor to families that aspire to educate their children. Private education loans compete with many governmental packages. loans seem to be the recourse of many parents and students for undergraduate and graduate studies.

Under US law it is the parent’s primary responsibility to fund the education of the children till the age of 24. Easier loans are offered by the U.S. Department of Education's Direct Loan Program. The Department of education provides funds for Stafford loans (for students) and PLUS loans (for parents). The Federal Family Education Loan program involves educational loans by Banks and private education loans as well. In addition to these loans for education other private loans are taken to provide for other needs; that increases the debt trap.

Only those with money can afford studies and this is the lesson that families and students are learning. One in every five graduates has to change career plans due to student debt. The wages for students who work part time and pay for their education has also decreased. After borrowing money to pay off the education students realize that the entry level salaries of graduates are too low to pay off the loans. The interest spirals and thus students end up paying twice or thrice the loan amount. Many cannot pay and land up in debt. A dream of upward mobility and of being in the elite of society has earned a student a life of debt and expenses to be paid to lenders.

Tips to avoid the debt trap
•Look carefully at various financial options and take education student loans only from government or related agencies at lower rates of interest.
•Students should try to use the university accommodation or cheaper places of rent.
•Shop in bulk along with friends. You could avail various free offers that would not be possible if you were to shop for yourself.
•Make use of your student unions to obtain one-off offers and claim discount


using your NUS or ISIC cards.
•Buy second hand books or borrow them from your seniors. Do not rush and buy new ones. Use the library if you cannot afford to buy books. The internet is also a vast resource for information.
•If you are working to pay of expenses or loans as student- Fill tax rebate forms that could earn you a rebate on your earnings.
•Plan your budget and stick to it.
•Record all your expenses and verify them when your bank statement arrives.
•If you find yourself still in soup. Get advice from a student advisor at the earliest.
•Do not get excited about college life and freedom. Prudence is better than landing up in a massive debt in the first semester itself.
•Student credit cards and other credit institutions target freshers. Be wary of them!

Availing education loans may empower you in education. A little care and watchfulness on the financial front will empower your financial management ability.


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This page was updated on Nov 2009 and is Copyright © 2003 by Global Com Consulting Inc.