Going to school while trying to juggle work and a personal life all at the same time is no easy task. After all, no one wants to be the poor college student. So naturally, the urge to ask your financial aid office for more money seems like the easiest thing to do. Financial aid* is there to assist you with covering the costs of your education, but that doesn’t always mean that it’s “free money”. What steps can you take in order to have the things you need, without driving your future-self crazy with debt? We’ve some tips on borrowing responsibly.
Only borrow what you need
Getting a refund check for the amount of your financial aid that is in excess of your program cost seems like a great idea, but remember, student loans have to be repaid. Make sure that you are using your financial aid towards educational costs and not your spring break trips. Be wise and prioritize your wants from your needs to spend wisely.
Pay interest on student loans
All student loans have interest. Subsidized loans have no interest while you are going to school at least half time. Unsubsidized loans have interest during all periods of the loan. Any unpaid interest will accrue and be added to the principal amount of your loan. You can choose to pay the interest on the unsubsidized loans while you are in school. By doing this, it will reduce your overall loan balance.
Know your repayment options
The Department of Education offers several student loan repayment plans. Read and research to pick the one best for your circumstances. Standard repayment plan allows you to have a fixed monthly payment for 10 years. You will know exactly what your monthly payment will be every month for the repayment period. Graduated is also paid back over 10 years, but the monthly payment will start low and gradually increase, usually every two years, during the repayment period. With this option you will pay back more in interest than in the Standard repayment plan. There are also repayment options that are based on your income. You can change your repayment plan at any time with your loan servicer for free.
Sometimes life gets in the way and you may fall on hard times, but that does not necessarily mean your student loans go away. If you find that you can no longer afford your student loan payment, contact your loan servicer immediately. You may be eligible for deferment or forbearance that allows you to temporarily postpone or reduce the amount of your student loan payment. By using one of these options, it will allow you to avoid default on your student loans. If you go into default on your student loans, you will not be able to receive financial aid, it will affect your credit score and your wages, as well as your tax refund, may be garnished.
Investing in your future is one of the best things that you can do! In order to set yourself up for the best future possible, you should start making good financial decisions now. Don’t let the fears of student loan payments hold you back from pursuing a career that you are passionate about. Shore Beauty School’s financial aid office is always readily available to help you on your path to success!