How do student loans work? Anyone who is about to go to college or is thinking about going will at some point need to consider if they need a student loan.
You will hear a lot of terms thrown around between now and when you first step foot in a classroom. Some of those terms may be confusing in the beginning, but they need not be.
If you ever have any questions, the best place to go is the financial aid office. Every college has experts on hand who can guide you to get as much money as possible.
What Is a Student Loan?
A student loan is a loan that you will have to pay back after you complete college. You will not have to pay anything while you’re in college. The payments begin either after you finish college or if you eventually drop out.
It’s important to know that you won’t have to pay anything on the loan while you’re studying. It would be extremely inconvenient, if not impossible to repay the loan while you’re still in school.
The institution that loans you the money is fully aware that most students couldn’t pay off what they off while they study.
Are Student Loans and Grants the Same Things?
The short answer is that grants and student loans are two different things. A grant is money that you’ll never have to pay back to anyone. You might get a grant from the government or a private organization.
The money you receive as a grant is free and doesn’t require you to repay it at any time. If, for some reason, you decide that college isn’t for you, then you still don’t owe anyone for the grant money. It’s best to try to get as many grants as possible so you won’t have to borrow so much money.
Remember, grants are money you won’t have to pay back, and they can help you decrease the size of the loan required.
Who Provides Student Loans?
The average person reading this will have their student loans financed by the federal government. In short, that means you will owe the government money upon completing your degree.
There are instances where student loans are taken out from private lenders. Most students don’t go the private lender route, but it might prove to be a wise choice if you need additional money that isn’t covered by your current loan.
A private institution may be able to provide a larger loan than the government can. Always make sure to read the fine print and know all of the details before taking out a loan from a private lender.
How Long Do You Have to Repay Your Student Loans?
There is no time frame in which you must pay off your student loans. With that said, you are usually given 10-25 years to pay off your loan. Will you need that long? it depends on your financial situation and where you end up working at.
Not all careers pay the same and sometimes graduates need a little extra time to pay off their debt. You should pay off your loan as quickly as possible as the interest is compounding over time.
Pay off the maximum amount possible every month so that you can get rid of the loan quickly. Paying interest is a waste of your money and the best way to avoid it is by making more than the minimum payment every month.
What Are Student Loans Used For?
A student loan can be used for housing, college tuition, or personal expenses. Your student loan is given to you in the form of cash, and you can use it however, you like.
You shouldn’t think of this as a blank check to go out and buy the latest gadgets that you’ve had your eye on. Remember, you’ve got to pay this money back someday.
Use your money wisely so that you can get the best education possible. If you need a little help with food, shelter, or transportation, it’s possible to use some of your student loan money towards those things as well.
What Happens If You Can’t Make a Payment?
The best advice when it comes to any loan is, don’t leave the institution in the dark if you can’t pay. Call the lender and let them know that you’re not going to be able to pay. If you’ve never missed a payment before, then they’re going to be lenient.
You won’t find them freaking out if you’re a couple of weeks late or unable to pay for an entire month. Keep in mind they deal with all kinds of college students, and some of them have difficulties paying as well.
You don’t want to make a habit of not paying, but they will be very understanding if you have financial hardships that make missing a payment a reality.
Loans Aren’t to Be Taken Lightly
Any loan that you don’t pay will harm your credit score. As you know, your credit score can impact you on so many different levels. It’s not unheard of for an employer to check out your credit score before hiring you.
Whatever you do, take your student loan seriously from the very get-go. Ask questions if you have them before taking out a student loan and when you’re paying it back. If you have any doubts about anything, get them cleared up right away.
Many students don’t take loans seriously enough, and it has serious implications later on down the line. it should be your goal to repay your loan as quickly as you can.
If possible, do without as much as possible to pay off as much as you can. An unpaid student loan becomes a 300-pound gorilla that has a way of weighing you down after a while. Not paying it isn’t an option since it will hurt your credit score and the rest of your life as well.
Loans Are Much-Needed Relief for Many Students
If you’re a student from a low to middle-income household, you know how vital student loans are. You wouldn’t be able to further your education without a loan. Don’t hesitate taking out a loan if you’re short on cash.
The biggest mistake you’ll ever make is fearing to go in debt and not educating yourself. The best investment you’ll ever make is in yourself, and that’s why student loans are an invaluable part of the education process.