College expenses continue to soar and students are increasingly turning to student loans to finance their education. But the mistakes you make as a young college student can affect your later life so always make sure you understand the terms you are agreeing to. Keep reading to learn other ways to avoid costly student loan mistakes.
Start your student loan search by looking at the safest options first. These are generally the federal loans. They are immune to your credit rating, and their interest rates don’t fluctuate. These loans also carry some borrower protection. This is in place in case of financial issues or unemployment following your graduation from college.
Be sure you know about the grace period of your loan. Each loan has a different grace period. It is impossible to know when you need to make your first payment without looking over your paperwork or speaking with your lender. Be sure to be aware of this information so you do not miss a payment.
Don’t panic if you cannot make your payments on your student loans. Many people have issues crop up unexpectedly, such as losing a job or a health problem. There are options such as deferments and forbearance that are available with most loans. However, the interest will build during the time you are not making payments.
Exercise caution when considering student loan consolidation. Yes, it will likely reduce the amount of each monthly payment. However, it also means you’ll be paying on your loans for many years to come. This can have an adverse impact on your credit score. As a result, you may have difficulty securing loans to purchase a home or vehicle.
Before accepting the loan that is offered to you, make sure that you need all of it. If you have savings, family help, scholarships and other types of financial help, there is a chance you will only need a portion of that. Do not borrow any more than necessary since it will make it harder to pay it back.
Try looking at consolidation for your student loans. This can help you combine your multiple federal loan payments into a single, affordable payment. It can also lower interest rates, especially if they vary. One major consideration to this repayment option is that you may forfeit your deferment and forbearance rights.
Never sign any loan documents without reading them first. This is a big financial step and you do not want to bite off more than you can chew. You need to make sure that you understand the amount of the loan you are going to receive, the repayment options and the rate of interest.
If you don’t have great credit, you might need a cosigner. You have to make every single payment. When someone co-signs, they are responsible too.
Keep in mind that the school you attend could have a hidden agenda when it comes to them recommending you to a lender. There are institutions that actually allow the use of their name by specific lenders. This isn’t always accurate. The school might actually get a commission for your loan. Make sure that you are aware of all the stipulations involved in a loan prior to taking it.
To bring in the greatest returns on your student loan, get the most out of each day at school. Instead of sleeping in until a few minutes before class, and then running to class with your binder and notebook flying, wake up earlier to get yourself organized. You’ll get better grades and make a good impression.
To get the most out of your student loan dollars, make sure that you do your clothes shopping in more reasonable stores. If you always shop at department stores and pay full price, you will have less money to contribute to your educational expenses, making your loan principal larger and your repayment even more expensive.
If you want to see your student loan dollars go farther, cook your meals at home with your roommates and friends instead of going out. You’ll spend less on the food, and a lot less on the alcohol or soft drinks that you buy at the store instead of ordering from a server.
Knowing all of the pitfalls of student loans is the best way to avoid them. Don’t be afraid to ask a what all of the terms and conditions are and how they will affect your finances in the future. So keep the advice from above in mind and always borrow wisely.