The most important skills for high school and college students are asking questions, researching possibilities, and making an informed choice. This is as true for applying to college and figuring out how to pay for it as it is for making successful academic progress. One area where these skills are especially needed is in deciding whether to utilize student loans to make up for the gap amount between college costs and college financial aid. Taking out and using student loans is a decision that should not be made lightly. Now that the school year is off and running again, here are some student loan tips from Discover Student Loans:
• Compare Federal and Private Student Loans: The first step in paying for college should always be to maximize the amount of grants, scholarships and other free financial aid before utilizing any type of student loans. If additional money is needed, then it is crucial to compare the types of loans available. There are different types of federal and private student loans which can help, depending on your individual circumstances and financial situation. In some cases, certain private student loan options can actually be more competitive than federal student loans.
• Find the Student Loan that is Right for the Job: There are different types of student loans depending on your financial circumstances and academic level. Look for differences between undergraduate and graduate loans, as well as those that are made to the student, the parent or the student with a co-signer. You may also be eligible for private student loans while pursuing an MBA degree, attending law school, or working towards an advanced degree in the medical field. Discover even has loans available to help cover some of your costs while you are preparing for a medical internship or residency, or studying to take the bar exam.
• Watch Those Fees: Fees can add up quickly, and end up causing you to either borrow more money or receive less money than you anticipated. Look for student loans that have zero fees so that you are only borrowing what you need.
• Look for Extra Perks: Little perks can make a big difference. Look for loans that provide an auto debit reward or that reward you for receiving good grades.
• Make it Easy on Yourself: With everything else you have got going on, you don’t need any extra headaches from trying to apply for student loans. Look for a lender that has U.S.-based specialists to answer your questions, makes it easy to apply, and provides a constant stream of information on planning for college, college financial aid and student loans.
Above all, be aware of how you are spending your student loan funds. Many students get themselves into financial difficulty because of poor budget planning. These are loans that will have to be repaid at some point, and you don’t want to make it too difficult. Money borrowed should go only towards college expenses, not your day-to-day living expenses.