Is a Student Loan Right for You?
Should you take out student loans when entering undergraduate or postgraduate studies? This is a question nearly every student asks themselves at one time or another. With the ever rising cost of tuition and the other nominal fees associated with attending a university, most students are unable to find financing elsewhere. And in an ever depressing jobs market, the feasibility of finding a job to support yourself while attending school appears ever more a pipe dream. But deciding to assume vast amounts of debt should not be taken likely. As I briefly touch on here, there are several factors one should consider before taking a trip to the financial aid office.
What is your career path? How committed are you to this path? Don't take on unnecessary debt. While the often romanticised years of aimless studying and fooling around are something of lore, you don't want to pay for unnecessary semesters of tuition. Its important to map out your path, stay committed to your goals and make the most of your time. This is easier said than done, but is often the most important step you can take.
Not all colleges are equal, but in many times their degrees are. While that degree from St Mary's Community College for the Uninhibited might not resonate to employers as much as a sterling degree from Harvard does, lets be honest. In many cases an MBA is an MBA, no matter what school it came from. Shop around to different schools in your area, both state and community. Employers are ever-more valuing experienced graduates over fresh out of college grads. And as state schools are becoming increasingly competitive in their offered curriculum, their lower tuition becomes more attractive.
Supplement your student loan. Look extensively into grants and scholarships out there. The less you finance the better. A great resource is at grants.gov.
Pick the right type of loans. The stafford is a popular type of loan. The advantages of taking out a federal loan include fixed interest and lower interest rates. Avoid high-interest loans from private organisations.
Beware of predatory lending. There are lenders out there that will take advantage of your need and desire to attend school. Beware of private loans with high interest and unusual terms.
Seek the advice of others. The financial aid office at your intended university will often have invaluable information for you. Talk to parents, friends and anyone else about their experiences with student loans.