$20 at a time

by Denise

California State University, San Diego

California State University, San Diego

Having college student loans myself, a daughter who is having to take out some to pay for her room and board at college, and having worked in the educational industry I know from all levels on how scary student loans can be. I am also too aware of repayment of these loans.

I wish that my advisor would have discussed several topics with me in regards to student loans; those topics being the reality of them, how to minimize them, and responsible borrowing and repayment. I often discuss these topics with my own daughter and others. After all I would like to see my daughter and those with whom I speak with be able to make sound decisions in regards to student loans and repayments.

An important aspect to consider when discussing repayment is how to minimize the amounts you take out and responsible borrowing. When considering taking out student loans there are various ways to minimize how much debt you will end up with. One is to select a program or school that is affordable also, only borrowing what you need.

Grants and scholarships also can help to minimize the amount that you will need to borrow. Another way to reduce the amount that you will have to pay back is to try and pay a monthly installment toward your student loans while in school. Skip one weekend of going out or take a weekend's worth of beer funds and apply that. Each $20 dollars (give or take) adds up in the end to equal to you paying back less and the payments being more manageable. Another lesson learned tip is to return any unused funds to the lender.

Now you have done all you can to reduce the amount of the students loans you have; repayment time has arrived. When the first notice comes in the mail do not freak out. If the repayment plan is not feasible connect with your lender and find out what options they have available for you. There are several repayment options and benefits that are available to you. It takes communication on your part with the lender.

Read more College Financial Aid Advice from other students and parents who have been through process.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Denise for sharing your tips on student loans. I like you advice to pay an extra $20 which adds up quickly. There are also a number of student loan repayment plans available. Good luck to you.

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Interest sucks

by Ashley
(North Dakota)

Please don't end up like me with $28k in student loan debt. I don't make much money at all so I can only put $300 towards my loans every month. I've just recently realized how far debt I am and how the interest is screwing me over.

By the time I finish paying off my student loans; I will have paid over $10,000 in interest. This breaks my heart, I could use that money towards my daughter. I've decided to use the snowball effect, which is taking the smallest amount of debt and paying that off and then I'll have more money to put towards my highest loan.

Also please note the interest that is accumulating every month. I pay even $5-$10 a week just so that the interest won't be so high every month.
Loans should be interest free, we have enough to pay for as it is.

If you don't need student loans, please don't take them out! Also, you do have to pay that money back and then some; usually it's double!

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Ashley for your great advice - If you don't need student loans, please don't take them out! I'm sorry you had to learn the hard way. Best of luck to you.

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The Old-Fashioned Methodology

by Aaron

When I was in high school, I effortlessly 'made the grade' without putting thought or serious time into the process. I paid attention in class, made sure to do the homework, and actively read the book in front of me so what else was there for me to know? Learning how to manage my time, think critically, or interact with my peers with confidence born of my intellect and not my pride were all things that college would bombard me with to learn. In short time I learned that I had to make sacrifices, that I had to roll with the punches, and sometimes that just keep going because I know there will be an end to it. If college taught me anything, it's how to think for myself and how to manage myself that allowed me to do many wonderful things besides advance my career.

So now I, just as you, will one day struggle with student loans. On top of student loans I'm caring for a wife, a son, a full-time job, and starting in a Master's program. How do you manage to handle all of these things and not fall into financial ruin? The answer is much simpler, and more complex, than ever really seems: you have to manage time and think critically. That seems simple, I know, and I remember being told that in high school as well. It was simpler then to think that the process of learning I was accustomed to from public school would allow me to solve any problem life threw at me; problem was, it wouldn't.

So how does one 'manage their time' or 'think critically'? It means more than just sitting down to think on not only what time you have to do things, it also means thinking in what order tasks need to be accomplished, what can wait while you complete another more important task, and where you need to be at any given moment. That is, to explain the process, how one manages their time and thinks critically: you need to not only manage your time, but also evaluate what takes priority? Do I go to class or go to work? Do I play catch with the boy or do some homework? Do I take a nap or take the spouse out for dinner? In an utopian world you won't ever have to decide between these things, but when the money doesn't just fall into your lap and you have a 'real' existence outside of the classroom, these are mandatory questions you are confronted with and must tackle.

The process is no less important to the student with fewer interests than what I've listed above. Even then, focusing your mind on what you're being taught is an important task, and these skills are interchangeable with any chosen profession. No matter which skill set you decide to take with you, the old-fashioned 'manage your time' and 'think critically' will allow you to bring greater precision and depth of your choices to bear on your experiences in the world.

Paying loans? Deciding to pay a loan or buy cable becomes a simple task once you've learned how to manage your time and think critically.

Read more advice about College Loans for Students from other students and parents who have been through process.

Comment from your friendly team at College Financial Aid Advice

Thank you Aaron for reminding everyone how important it is to manage your time and think critically. Paying for student loans is critical. Best of luck to you.

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