Most parents harp on their children that they absolutely need to save half their income to pay for college, however most students don’t do that, rather they take their money and spend it on stuff they really do not need, many students in high school who went out to eat every single day at lunch! That’s nearly $4,000 on food throughout high school, and that doesn’t include snacks! Most high school students don’t yet have the discipline or knowledge to know that they need to be smarter with their money, and end up having to get a student loan to pay for school.
Before you consider a student loan to pay for your school, you should have a mindset that you want to borrow as little as possible. You won’t be able to continue the extravagant life style you had in high school, going out to eat more than once or twice a week should be avoided at all cost. Remember, the less you borrow now, the less you have to pay off when you graduate!
The first rule of thumb is that federal loans are generally better than loans offered by private banks. You will need to fill out the FAFSA financial aid application in order to qualify for them, you might even get some free money to help pay for school by doing so! The FAFSA will determine what you qualify for financially, unless your very wealthy, chances are you’ll get some pretty good loan options.
If you can get by with federal aid and have enough scholarships, you might be lucky enough to not have any student loans, however if you do need to borrow money a federally subsidized Stafford loan is your best option. Government loans tend to have much better interest rates than private loans. Additionally if you get a subsidized loan, the government will pay your interest while you are in school. An unsubsidized loan will have the same better interest rate, but you will have to pay the interest while you are in school. After you get approved for one, you will have to find a bank which acts as an intermediary which will actually give you the loan. Your college will give you plenty of information about available banks. Be sure to find one with extra perks and be sure to find one that does not charge an origination fee, which can be up to 3% of your total loan.
If for whatever reason, federal loans are not an option. Then you will have to search among private banks for student loan options. Your best bet is to go to at least four local banks and see what their options are. You will want to compare their interest rates, fees, and terms, and compare to see which the best option is. Be sure to read the loan agreement. Yes, it’s boring legalese, but there could be some provisions in there that you definitely need to know about. Loan agreements are not all the same, some are a lot friendlier to the student than others.