Borrowing money for college these days seems all but inevitable for everyone but the wealthiest individuals. That is why now more than ever, it is necessary for prospective students to brush up on the subject of student loans so that they can make sound financial decisions. The material below is intended to assist with exactly that.
Find out what the grace period is you are offered before you are expected to repay your loan. The grace period is the amount of time between your graduation date and date on which you must make your first loan payment. Being aware of this information allows you to make your payments in a timely manner so that you do not incur costly penalties.
Start your student loan search by looking at the safest options first. These are generally the federal loans. They are immune to your credit rating, and their interest rates don’t fluctuate. These loans also carry some borrower protection. This is in place in case of financial issues or unemployment following your graduation from college.
Do not default on a student loan. Defaulting on government loans can result in consequences like garnished wages and tax refunds withheld. Defaulting on private loans can be a disaster for any cosigners you had. Of course, defaulting on any loan risks serious damage to your credit report, which costs you even more later.
Know how long you have between graduation and the commencement of loan payments. Stafford loans usually have one half year before the payments have to be made. Perkins loans often give you nine months. Other kinds of loans may have other grace periods. It is important to know the time limits to avoid being late.
Make certain that the payment plan will work well for you. Many student loans offer 10 year payment plans. You can consult other resources if this does not work for you. You could choose a higher interest rate if you need more time to pay. You can also do income-based payments after you start earning money. Sometimes student loans are forgiven after 25 years.
Pay extra on your student loan payments to lower your principle balance. Your payments will be applied first to late fees, then to interest, then to principle. Clearly, you should avoid late fees by paying on time and chip away at your principle by paying extra. This will reduce your overall interest paid.
Before accepting the loan that is offered to you, make sure that you need all of it. If you have savings, family help, scholarships and other types of financial help, there is a chance you will only need a portion of that. Do not borrow any more than necessary since it will make it harder to pay it back.
It seems that hardly any young student nowadays can complete a degree program without incurring at least some student loan debt. However, when armed with the right type of knowledge on the topic, making smart choices about loans really can be easy. Using the tips found in the paragraphs above is a great way to start.