Student Loan Tips

Whether you’re a recent high-school graduate or an adult yearning to earn your degree, it’s imperative to create a plan to pay for your college education.

Your best funding options

Scholarships, grants and federal loans should be the first financial aid options you consider, and for good reason. Scholarships and grants do not have to be paid back and federal loans may have a lower interest rate than private loans.

Bank loans--your last resort

If you have unmet needs after considering these resources, a student loan from a bank or other lender can help cover the full cost of a college education.

Applying for financial aid

1. Don’t assume that your income makes you ineligible for financial aid. You may be surprised to see what’s available. Apply for every financial aid choice available.

2. Complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) early!

3. Most financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. You should submit your application in January or February for the fall school year.

4. Call your school’s financial aid office for its application deadlines.

5. Keep a copy of every form you complete.

6. Record the dates on which you submitted forms and note the names of everyone with whom you spoke.

7. Remember to re-apply for financial aid each year.

Repaying your loans

Most student loans are paid back over a period of 10 years--know what your repayment plan is so that you can budget accordingly. You may also want to review all of your repayment options with your loan servicer; federal loans can offer a variety of repayment options based on your individual situation.

Student loans affect your credit score, so it is important to make your payments on time and to never miss a payment. If you find you are having difficulty making your monthly student loan payments you should contact your loan servicer immediately to discuss your options.