If You Are Planning To Get A Student Loan, You Need To Read This
By Darnell Scott
When you borrow to get an education, you invest in a valuable asset. You do so with the hope that it will boost your career prospects, your quality of life, and your future pay packet. Putting a dollar value on your earning potential will help you determine if borrowing for your qualification is money well spent.
The loan is a contract between you and the lender, where you agree to pay it back. In most cases, choosing a loan is fairly cut-and-dried. You'll need to find a lender, complete the paperwork of application and wait for approval. There is no getting out of this, and it will not be written off if you go overseas. Only your death or bankruptcy writes off the loan, so it pays to take it seriously.
Some of the more popular types of loans are Stafford, Perkins, HEAL, and PLUS loans. Student loans are substantially subsidized by the government which carry low interest rates. As a result, you do not significantly add to the debt principal by paying it off over the term of the loan.
Be wary to borrow only what you need. The more you borrow, the more you have to pay back. To determine how much money you'll need for your education, calculate your study costs and your living costs. Study costs are the costs you incur as part of your course. This includes the course fee – which is what the institution charges to teach you, and course-related costs – what you’ll have to pay to take part in the course. This would include textbooks, stationery and other study material. Living costs is the amount you need to house, clothe, feed and transport you while you are studying. If you're keen to minimise your debt, then use your student loan for fees and course-related costs only.
Don’t forget to explore other sources of money. There are several sources of potential income available to you as a student. Try and cover your living expenses from your savings, from a part-time job, or if possible by living at home.
A student allowance or benefit, scholarships, part time work, savings or help from your family would greatly help you to reduce the amount you borrow.
Know the true cost of your loan. It's not just the sum you borrow, it's the time it takes to pay off and the interest the principal amount will accumulate
over time. And whether you pay back just the minimum or get rid of the loan sooner; is completely up to you. Student loan interest rates are variable, meaning they change from year to year. Once you graduate, you can consolidate the student loans, which allow several added benefits; mainly locking-in their current interest rate. This means the discounted grace period interest rate can be maintained until the loan is paid off. Student loans won't go away and you can't get out of them. If you stay on top of your student loan today you'll find that it won’t become too great a burden tomorrow.