How to Pay for College While You're Still a Student
Get a head start on those pesky student loan payments while you're still in college (and have fun doing it!). Find out how here.
For a lot of us, the two scariest words in the English language are "student loans." Cue the horror movie music.
Student loans can be financially crushing in the years following college. But don't worry, it doesn't have to be that way!
Setting yourself up for success with our top 5 tips will take a huge amount of stress off of you and help you focus on the point of college: getting a fantastic education.
US News reports that 70% of students graduate college with student loan debt, at an average of $37,172.
That's a lot of money. And don't forget about the interest.
The interest rate varies based on your type of loan- but if you have even a seemingly low 6.8% interest rate you'll be paying $30,927.27 in interest over 20 years with a $283.75 per month payment.
Check out a student loan calculator to see your specifics.
Here are our Top 5 Ways To Get On Top Of Your Student Loans Early
1. Only Borrow What You Need
Most borrowers don't realize that you can cancel or return anything you may have over borrowed.
Sometimes, refunds checks are issued by student loans that were not used by the school, don't look at this as a bonus. Return it or apply it to your student loan interest if possible.
At the very least, put it in a savings account to be used for your student loans after you graduate.
Student loans are a far reach from free money.
2. Live on a Budget
College is the time to live on a tight budget.
Use your student meal plan or eat at home rather than spending tons on restaurants. Even a $5 coffee a day ads up to $1800 a year- that's easily cut down by investing in a coffee maker at home.
Plus, skipping those frappucinos can help you avoid that freshman 15.
Make sure to budget realistically and monitor your spending.
Don't graduate with pesky credit card debt in addition to student loans.
3. Apply for Scholarships
There are a ton of scholarship programs out there. Even one for as little as $1000 can save you a ton of money long-term. Apply, apply, apply, throughout your entire time in college.
Some colleges offer Dean's List Scholarships that reward good grades. Check in with the financial aid office at your school to see what options are available for you.
4. Work Study
Many colleges offer work-study programs, such as being a Resident Assistant in the dorms, working in the cafeteria, or working in the admissions office.
These programs can get you valuable discounts on your tuition, so definitely look into what your college has to offer.
5. Obama Student Loan Forgiveness
Obama loan forgiveness program is one of the best ways to relieve stress around student loan debt.
This program offers debt forgiveness by setting a 240 payment, 20-year Pay As You Earn plan. The numbers will shake down differently depending on the amount and type of your loans, but the basics are that you pay a percentage of your income- if you have very low income you pay $0 a month - and after the 20 year period is up, your loans are completely forgiven.
Enjoy your college experience and make the most of it.
Set yourself up early for proper management of your student loans, and your post-college years will be much more rewarding.