College is expensive no matter where you decide to go to school. While signing up for my ONE class this year at my community college, it cost me over $400. When you don’t have enough money to pay for class on the spot, you’ll probably find yourself taking out student loans. According to Consumer Finance, student debt passed $1.2 trillion in May of 2013.
While student loans are a GREAT option when you need to pay for school, you’ll still want to do your research to find the best student loan option available to you. Student loans will cause debt and it’s extremely important to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into. Simply put, ignorance is NOT bliss.
Michigan First Credit Union has a super awesome website with great advice for taking out loans. Here are some key things I took away while reading it:
- For starters, borrow only what you need. Consider how much money your family will help you pay for school, cost of living and other expenses, then only take out what you need to pay for school. You do not have to take out the amount of the entire loan that is offered to you.
- Also consider taking up a part time job. If you’re working while you go to school, you’ll be able to cover more expenses and you won’t need to borrow as much. Your college may even offer a work-study program.
- Take a look at all of your student loan options! If you feel you need to borrow more than what’s being offered to cover school, ask your counselor for advice. And if you decide to take out a private loan, look around and compare interest rates, fees and repayment options.
- Before signing on any loan, ask these questions:
- How much will this loan cost in total?
- What will my monthly payments be?
- Is the interest rate fixed or variable?
- Can I get a lower interest rate?
- What fees do I have to pay?
One other thing I recently learned is that you should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS apply for Free Financial Aid. Don’t worry that you might not get it – you won’t know for sure until you fill out the form. And having free money is WAY better than having loans you need to pay back. In order to fill out for Free Financial Aid, click here.
When you are considering taking out a loan, I know Michigan First Credit Union has a pretty good private student loan option that offers zero origination fees, super competitive interest rates and flexible repayment options. Michigan First Credit Union will also be having free seminars discussing our student loan program, so make sure you stay in touch on Twitter and Facebook for reminders when the next one will be!
For more information on Michigan First Credit Union Private Student Loans and other college planning calculators, click here.
Hope this helped!