When you were young and your parents asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, permanently in debt was never the answer. It’s tough finding ways to pay for college and it gets even worse when you have to work and go to school. The best way to make it through the starving student years is to know when is the right time to turn down a loan.
For the first time, outstanding student loan debt has surpassed that of the total credit card debt. In June 2010, federal student loan debt was at $665 billion and private student debt at $168 billion, totaling $883 billion borrowed for school loans and that number continues to increase at a rate of roughly $2,853.88 per second. USA Today printed that 88 percent of the total was given to for-profit schools, like the University of Phoenix.
The U.S. Board of Education study shows that from 2000 to 2009 undergraduate enrollment increased by 34 percent putting it at 17.6 million students. It’s not expected to slow down. They project it to reach 19.6 million by 2020. Approximately 43 percent to 49 percent of the undergraduates enrolled in 1999-2000 to 2007-2008 took out federal loans.
The worst part about taking out a loan to get a degree is that you will have to pay the money back, including the interest accrued after you’ve completed or stopped school. You can declare bankruptcy on a student loan but it’s a very difficult process.
Sometimes it’s impossible to make it through school without taking a loan from somewhere. There are some key factors you need to keep in mind when looking for funding.
1. Submit a FAFSA: The best way to help pay for school is to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid and see what grants you can qualify for. The more money you don’t have to pay back, the better. But be careful, some grants require that you complete your degree in order to not pay back the money.
2. Apply for scholarships: Scholarships are free money that don’t (generally) require repayment. There are some stipulations if you take a scholarship and don’t complete school, just as there are with grants. Don’t be afraid to fill out every kind of scholarship form you can get your hands on.
3. Borrow federally first: A federal loan comes from the government. They are more readily available and the rates to pay back the debts are much better compared to private lenders.
4. Don’t over-borrow: If you borrow more money than your expected starting salary after graduation, then you are going to be up to your eyes in debt for quite some time. If the undergraduate college you’re hoping to attend is asking more than $12,000 per year, it would be a good idea to look around for a cheaper school.
College is becoming increasingly important as the years go by. To have a successful career you need to make sure that you’ve made the best choices that you can during school so that you have the least amount of money to pay back after you’ve graduated.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost