Most parents expect that their children will need to borrow money to go to college. They are right. College costs are a lot higher than most parents can afford. This leaves parents and students in the position of figuring out how much to borrow when the time comes. The truth is, it can really pay off for you and your child to do the research before you borrow.
Most people just have not had the need to get a student loan before. Or if they did, a lot of things have changed since then and they may have a lot of questions. The first step is to work with the school of your choice or your high school counselor to figure out what scholarships and grants are available. Apply and try your hardest to get your hands on some of this money.
Figure out what you can afford on your own. The biggest mistake you can make when getting student loans or private student loans is to borrow too much money. Some people assume that they can just worry about it later and get a little extra cash to put aside for emergencies. But, most people that do this do not use the money for an emergency, or they end up paying a lot of interest on money that is sitting stagnant in an account.
After you determine what you or your child can afford to put towards college every month, figure out what the actual cost of college will be. It will be a lot more than tuition alone. You need to consider housing, food, bills, gas, car repairs, books and other fees that may pop up. Then do not borrow any more than that amount.
Some parents are tempted to tell their students that they will just have to work to make up the difference. Most students do work through college, but it is unlikely that they will have time to work very much if they are going to pass the classes that they are working to pay for. College students do not have the training or experience to get high paying jobs either. They are better off working with the school to get jobs or internships that get them some experience in their field. Time spent this way is far more beneficial to them in the long run, but do not expect them to make hardly any money doing it.
Once you determine the amount of money that you need to borrow, go to a web site that compares many different lenders and programs. Also work with your school, but do not let them be your only resource. Doing some legwork on your own could make a big difference when shopping for your student loans.
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