College expenses continue to soar and students are increasingly turning to student loans to finance their education. But the mistakes you make as a young college student can affect your later life so always make sure you understand the terms you are agreeing to. Keep reading to learn other ways to avoid costly student loan mistakes.
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.
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.
Try shopping around for your private loans. If you need to borrow more, discuss this with your adviser. If a private or alternative loan is your best bet, make sure you compare items like repayment options, fees, and interest rates. Your school may recommend some lenders, but you’re not required to borrow from them.
You should shop around before deciding on a student loan company because it can end up saving you a lot of money in the end. The school you attend may try to sway you to choose a particular one. It is best to do your research to make sure that they are giving you the best advice.
Paying your student loans helps you build a good credit rating. Conversely, not paying them can destroy your credit rating. Not only that, if you don’t pay for nine months, you will ow the entire balance. When this happens the government can keep your tax refunds and/or garnish your wages in an effort to collect. Avoid all this trouble by making timely payments.
To keep the principal on your student loans as low as possible, get your books as cheaply as possible. This means buying them used or looking for online versions. In situations where professors make you buy course reading books or their own texts, look on campus message boards for available books.
When you begin repayment of your student loans, do everything within your power to pay more than the minimum amount each month. While it is true that student loan debt is not viewed as negatively as other sorts of debt, getting rid of it as early as possible should be your objective. Reducing your obligation as quickly as you can will make it easier to buy a home and support a family.
To make sure your student loan application goes smoothly, make sure the information you include is accurate. If you give wrong or incomplete information, it can slow down processing and you may not be able to start when you planned. This can put you behind by a year.
Take advantage of student loan repayment calculators to test different payment amounts and plans. Plug in this data to your monthly budget and see which seems most doable. Which option gives you room to save for emergencies? Are there any options that leave no room for error? When there is a threat of defaulting on your loans, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
One form of loan that may be helpful to grad students is the PLUS loan. The interest rates on these are kept reasonable. While this is generally higher than either Perkins or Stafford loans, it still has lower interest rates than the typical personal loan. This loan option is better for more established students.
To bring in the greatest returns on your student loan, get the most out of each day at school. Instead of sleeping in until a few minutes before class, and then running to class with your binder and notebook flying, wake up earlier to get yourself organized. You’ll get better grades and make a good impression.
Keep detailed, up to date records on all of your student loans. It is important that all of your payments are made in a timely fashion in order to protect your credit rating and to prevent your account from accruing penalties. Careful record keeping will ensure that all your payments are made on time.
Don’t pass up the opportunity to score a tax interest deduction for your student loans. This deduction is good for up to $2,500 of interest paid on your student loans. You can even claim this deduction if you do not submit a fully itemized tax return form. This is especially useful if your loans carry a higher interest rate.
To help make your student loan funds last as long as possible, shop for clothes out of season. Buying your spring clothes in November and your cold-weather clothes in May saves you money, making your living expenses as low as possible. This means you have more money to put toward your tuition.
Knowing all of the pitfalls of student loans is the best way to avoid them. Don’t be afraid to ask a what all of the terms and conditions are and how they will affect your finances in the future. So keep the advice from above in mind and always borrow wisely.