Tag Archives: higher education

Things to Know Before Taking Out Student Loans

As the amount of student loan debt surges with each passing day, more and more people are beginning to question whether or not borrowing money from the government for the sake of attending college is truly worth it. The economy and job market are changing; more and more young people are opting to find employment within the gig economy as freelancers and independent contractors. Others, however, are still deciding to take out student loans for the sake of pursuing a higher education.

Student Loans are Not Free Money

There are a shocking amount of young people who truly lack an understanding of the nature of student loans. Individuals who borrow money from the government will, in fact, have to pay it back. Usually, recipients of student loans will have to make monthly payments; although the specific dollar amount depends upon a variety of factors, with one of the main ones being how much money was borrowed in the first place. Countless young adults make the mistake of borrowing much more than they actually need.

People who are considering taking out loans should also be aware that they may not be able to pay them back very quickly. Months, years, or even decades can pass by before borrowers are truly debt-free. This can be quite daunting to the young, ambitious 22-year-old who wants to enter the workforce and make a name for themselves. Likewise, such high amounts of debt can ruin opportunities which would otherwise be available to individuals who do not owe thousands of dollars to the government.

There are Other Ways to Pay for College

Believe it or not, taking out student loans is not the only way for young people to fund their college careers. Academic scholarships, military service, university employment, and even working for certain companies are potential avenues for covering the costs of university. Granted, the aforementioned alternatives generally come with certain stipulations, although many people would argue that the stipulations are better than the crippling debt which often accompanies student loans.

Furthermore, students who maintain good grades throughout their time in high school are likelier to have more opportunities for academic scholarships. Parents should encourage their children to do well during their high school careers so that they have options for college which extend beyond taking out student loans.

College is Not for Everyone

While many people attend college and go on to live comfortable, middle-class lives, college is definitely not for everyone. One of the gravest mistakes in today’s education system is failing to educate students about all the options which are available to them after high school. So often, young people are automatically indoctrinated into believing that attending university is their only choice.

Another common malpractice is telling students that they will be statistically poorer than individuals who choose to go to college. Considering the variety of options which exist post-high school (such as freelancing, trade school, independent contract work, entrepreneurship, etc), educators who fail to inform students of the other paths they can take besides college are doing students a disservice.

A Final Word

At the end of the day, each individual has to decide whether or not borrowing student loans is the best choice for them. Sometimes it works out well, but other times it doesn’t. Regardless of the decision which someone ultimately makes, there is never any harm in having complete information and an awareness of the alternatives and potential consequences.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Renee Seunagal

How to Pay Off Student Loans

Taking out student loans is a fairly common practice. Many young people do this for the sake of investing in their education or otherwise being able to attend college or university. Initially, being able to take out student loans and attend college may seem like a dream come true. However, this dream can quickly turn into a nightmare when young people are not only billed for the money they borrowed, but also the subsequent interest fees which come along with it.

Virtually everyone has heard of the countless horror stories of young people who spend decades or even lifetimes attempting to pay back their student loans. Thankfully, there are some helpful tips for those who wish to pay off their student loans in a reasonable time period and enjoy the upsides of being debt-free and financially well-off.

Look Into Certain Occupations

Student Loan Hero explains that there are various occupations which offer certain mandates in exchange for forgiveness of borrowed funds. Usually, jobs of this nature fall into the category of teaching or providing some other type of public service. However, taking advantage of such an opportunity requires more than simply applying for the job and being accepted. In most cases, these type of occupations also require work terms in addition to various mandates.

Finally, if an individual is ineligible or otherwise barred from receiving student loan forgiveness, they will have likely incurred additional interest fees during the time they spent towards acquiring forgiveness. For this reason, students should always look into whether or not they are eligible for this opportunity prior to pursuing it.

Make Certain Lifestyle Changes…at Least Temporarily

Rarely does anyone enjoy changing their lifestyle for the sake of having to pay back previously borrowed funds. However, the reality is that student loans must be returned, one way or another. Hence, Nerd Wallet advises young people to look for various ways to reduce their expenses and put the extra money towards paying off their student loans.

This doesn’t mean that individuals who owe student loans can never go to the movies or dine out; however, they would do well to perhaps engage in these activities less frequently or find similar ways to decrease what they owe to the government. This is can be done by either decreasing expenses or increasing income. Ideally, if both changes are successfully implemented, young people will be able to pay off their student loans at a much faster rate and save thousands of dollars, if not more.

A Final Word

The amount of young people who owe student loans is increasing each and every day. For this reason, more and more individuals are questioning whether or not college is truly worth it. Nevertheless, those who have already incurred loans will have to pay them off, one way or another. Many young people make the mistakes of either delaying payments or only paying the minimum amounts. This is not conducive to financial or economic success.

Finally, individuals who believe they can cheat the government out of getting returns on borrowed funds should tread very carefully. People who play this game never really win; the government almost always get their money back — on top of the sky-high interest fees.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal

How to Financially Prepare for College

In many regards, college is viewed as a rite of passage into adulthood. While various individuals maintain different opinions regarding college, its merits, and potential pitfalls, there are certain occupations where a professional degree is absolutely paramount. However, nothing in life comes without a cost.

This is especially applicable regarding college; higher education is notorious for its costliness, especially in the United States. Therefore, being financially prepared for college is critical; those who are not prepared often find themselves ensnared in debt. Student loans are not pretty; neither is the associated debt which often accompanies it. This is why the following steps will prove to be especially helpful for current (and future) college students.

Maintain Excellent Grades

In a perfect world, all parents would stash aside money for their children to attend college. However, the world is far from perfect. Therefore, being proactive and taking the proper steps to prepare for college may very well fall on the shoulders of young people; according to The Simple Dollar, maintaining great grades can open up a lot of doors. Many of those doors can lead to financial opportunities for college, such as scholarships, grants, and even the ability to forego certain classes which other students may be mandated to take due to poor marks.

Set Up A Budget

Although college may seem like the time to party, immerse oneself into new activities, and soak up such a new phase of life, students should still be sure to have a budget in place. Having a precise and detailed list of expenses (such as monthly phone bill, groceries, personal care items) can particularly come in handy. Dividing up expenses and having an exact number regarding the amount of money coming in and going out can make a great difference and help students truly assess their current financial state.

If a college student finds him or herself having an extremely tight budget, they may want to consider taking up a part time job. The job should not interfere with their studies, but provide an income stream which can reduce financial stress. Many people who attend college can sometimes work to pay off their student loans; this can truly pay off down the road.

Avoid Common Traps

Believe it or not, there are a litany of mistakes which are quite common for college students to fall into. The Balance documents some of the aforementioned mistakes as mismanaging student loan funds, choosing overly expensive colleges, and going crazy with credit cards. While each of these pitfalls have their own unique elements, the great equalizer between them is the lack of frugality.

Virtually everyone loves to spend money and have nice things, but this comes with time. In the case of college students (and others who are just starting off in life), frugality is wisdom. Racking up credit cards, damaging credit scores, and otherwise spending money that one doesn’t have are common mistakes which college students often make due to a lack of knowledge and real world experience. The foregoing traps should always be avoided.

 

Authored by Gabrielle Seunagal