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10 Tips: How to Pay for College

Posted: 05/30/13 10:00 AM (Modified: 05/30/13 10:54 AM)


Are you thinking about college or working on managing your student loans?  I have some great financial advice from TTCU Consumer Advocate Remar Sutton.  

Whether you have just started looking into the costs for a college education or if you currently have student loans to manage, you will find his 10 tips to minimize debt very helpful.  He reports that the average student debt for bachelor's degree graduates was $26,600 in 2011.  Try to limit debt by making loans the last piece of your financial plan after exploring other means of contribution including grants, scholarships, gifts and job earnings.

Borrowing money for college is worth it because higher education raises lifetime earnings by hundreds of thousands of dollars, but too much debt can be hard to pay off and put pressure on long-term goals.

{10 Tips on Paying for College}

Preparing for college:

  1. Pick potential colleges that fit your educational goals and your budget
  2. Fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Free Federal Student Aid) - even if you don't think you qualify - and seek advice from your school's financial aid office
  3. If you borrow, explore federally supported loans before applying for private loans - Federal loans have lower interest rates and more flexible terms.
  4. Keep track of your loan amounts and interest rates - Use the federal loan repayment calculator to project monthly payments.
  5. Never stop looking for grant and scholarship opportunities for financial support - There are grants and scholarships even for enrolled students.

Managing Repayment of Student Loan Debt:

  1. Make a list of all the loans you have, their interest rates and terms of repayment - note repayment start dates after graduation
  2. Choose a repayment plan that best meets your needs and employment situation - Compare repayment options on the Federal Student Aid website.
  3. Pay down principal first, if possible - and try to start with your most expensive loan
  4. Consider loan consolidation for your federal loans - Consolidating multiple loans can give you one payment instead of many.
  5. Avoid running up new debt - Make a budget and prioritize, putting student loan repayments at the top of the list.

Be sure to get all of Remar Sutton's advice on managing student loans and minimizing debt in his full article on the TTCU website.

These tips are provided by TTCU the Credit Union.


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