You need to know about student loan options. As the cost of college increases, the need for student loans becomes more common. But all too often, students are not borrowing wisely and are left with a mountain of debt to pay off. So it pays to do your research, find out the different options and choose wisely. This article can be your starting point for your education on student loans.
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.
Know your grace periods so you don’t miss your first student loan payments after graduating college. Stafford loans typically give you six months before starting payments, but Perkins loans might go nine. Private loans are going to have repayment grace periods of their own choosing, so read the fine print for each particular loan.
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.
Be careful when consolidating loans together. The total interest rate might not warrant the simplicity of one payment. Also, never consolidate public student loans into a private loan. You will lose very generous repayment and emergency options afforded to you by law and be at the mercy of the private contract.
Consider using your field of work as a means of having your loans forgiven. A number of nonprofit professions have the federal benefit of student loan forgiveness after a certain number of years served in the field. Many states also have more local programs. The pay might be less in these fields, but the freedom from student loan payments makes up for that in many cases.
Student Loan Options
As you explore your student loan options, consider your planned career path. Learn as much as possible about job prospects and the average starting salary in your area. This will give you a better idea of the impact of your monthly student loan payments on your expected income. You may find it necessary to rethink certain loan options based on this information.
As you can see, student loans can be the answer to your prayers or they can end up being a never ending nightmare. So it makes a lot of sense to really understand the terms that you are signing up for. Keeping the tips from above in mind can keep you from making a costly mistake.