Getting the student loans necessary to finance your education can seem like an incredibly daunting task. You have also probably heard horror stories from those whose student debt has resulted in near poverty during the post-graduation period. But, by spending some time learning about the process, you can spare yourself the agony and make smart borrowing decisions.
Stay in touch with the lender. Let them know if your number, email or address changes, all of which occur frequently during college years. Read all of the paperwork that comes with your loan. If the correspondence requests you take an action, do so as soon as you can. If you don’t do this, then it can cost you in the end.
Do not hesitate to “shop” before taking out a student loan. Just as you would in other areas of life, shopping will help you find the best deal. Some lenders charge a ridiculous interest rate, while others are much more fair. Shop around and compare rates to get the best deal.
If you have extra money at the end of the month, don’t automatically pour it into paying down your student loans. Check interest rates first, because sometimes your money can work better for you in an investment than paying down a student loan. For example, if you can invest in a safe CD that returns two percent of your money, that is smarter in the long run than paying down a student loan with only one point of interest. Only do this if you are current on your minimum payments though and have an emergency reserve fund.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about federal loans. Not many people understand what these types of loans can offer or what their regulations and rules are. If you have any questions about these loans, contact your student loan adviser. Funds are limited, so talk to them before the application deadline.
If you want to give yourself a head start when it comes to repaying your student loans, you should get a part-time job while you are in school. If you put this money into an interest-bearing savings account, you will have a good amount to give your lender once you complete school.
Be careful about accepting private, alternative student loans. It is easy to rack up a lot of debt with these because they operate pretty much like credit cards. Starting rates may be very low; however, they are not fixed. You may end up paying high interest charges without warning. Additionally, these loans do not include any borrower protections.
Keep in mind that a college may have its reasons for pointing your toward certain lenders for loans. In some cases, a school may let a lender use the school’s name for a variety of reasons. This can mislead you if you are not careful. The school can get a portion of this payment. Make sure that you are aware of all the stipulations involved in a loan prior to taking it.
You may feel intimidated by the prospect of arranging the student loans you need for your schooling to be possible. However, you must not let the bad experiences of others cloud your ability to move forward. By educating yourself about the various types of student loans available, you will be able to make sound choices that will serve you well for the coming years.