You don't have to be scared to take out a student loan, you just need to fully understand how they work!
Learn to manage your student loan debt because borrowing for your education carries serious responsibilities. Many students use federal loans to help finance their studies and some may turn to private loans. Taking out a loan is an important financial decision that can affect you for years to come. It is critical for you to understand your loan options in order to make good borrowing decisions.
Borrow Only What You Need
One major financial goal should be to finish college owing as little money as you can. A college education increases your earning potential and opens doors of opportunity. Know that you must repay your student loans, even if you:
- Don't complete your program of study
- Can't find employment after graduation
- Aren't satisfied with or didn't receive the education or other services you expected and paid for with your student loans
Control How Much You Borrow
- Borrow as a last resort and only borrow what you need
- You don't have to borrow the maximum amount of federal student loans each year; you can request a lower amount through The Solution Center
- Check with Career Services to get an idea of your expected salary based on your major and the year you will graduate. Consider this information when deciding how much to borrow
How Much Will You Pay Back?
Your student loan payments will depend on the interest rate, the amount you borrow and the payment plan you choose. Here is what payments on Federal Student loans (the most common types of loan) looks like.
If you take out private loans, interest rates may vary from fixed to variable, meaning they can change at any time. Taking out a loan is a huge responsibility, don't take it lightly!
There are many repayment options for federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Payments generally begin 6 months after you are no longer enrolled at least ½ time (9 months for Perkins Loans). Payment options include:
- Standard 10-year fixed repayment
- Extended repayment plan option if subsidized and unsubsidized loan total is $30,000 or more, out to 25 years
- Income Contingent repayment plan or Income Based repayment if you are experiencing financial difficulties
- Student Loan Repayment Plan Information and Calculator
Loan Benefits Available
- Loan Forgiveness for borrowers who enter public service and make 120 on-time payments
- Consolidation may be an option to combine some or all of your federal loans
- Deferments and forbearance options