Its important that you have an understanding of student loans if you plan on going to college. College tuition is inflated, and most folks can’t afford to pay for it out of pocket. Luckily, with some helpful tips, it’s possible to make wise student loan decisions.

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.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about federal loans. Not many people understand what these types of loans can offer or what their regulations and rules are. If you have any questions about these loans, contact your student loan adviser. Funds are limited, so talk to them before the application deadline.

Know what the grace period is before you have to start paying for your loans. Stafford loans usually have one half year before the payments have to be made. Others, like the Perkins Loan, allot you nine months. Other types can vary. It is important to know the time limits to avoid being late.

Paying your student loans helps you build a good credit rating. Conversely, not paying them can destroy your credit rating. Not only that, if you don’t pay for nine months, you will ow the entire balance. When this happens the government can keep your tax refunds and/or garnish your wages in an effort to collect. Avoid all this trouble by making timely payments.

Pay extra on your student loan payments to lower your principle balance. Your payments will be applied first to late fees, then to interest, then to principle. Clearly, you should avoid late fees by paying on time and chip away at your principle by paying extra. This will reduce your overall interest paid.

The concept of making payments on student loans each month can be frightening when money is tight. Loan rewards programs can help a little with this, however. LoanLink and Upromise are two of these great programs. These work like cash back programs, and the money you spend earns rewards that can be applied toward your loan.

Get the maximum bang for the buck on your student loans by taking as many credits each semester as you can. Full-time students typically have a minimum of nine to twelve hours per semester, but some schools let you take up to fifteen or even eighteen, speeding up your graduation date. This helps you shave off some of the cost of your loans.

To reduce the amount of your student loans, work as many hours as you can during your last year of high school and the summer before college. The more money you have to give the college in cash, the less you have to finance. This means less loan expense later on.

You should consider paying some of the interest on your student loans while you are still in school. This will dramatically reduce the amount of money you will owe once you graduate. You will end up paying off your loan much sooner since you will not have as much of a financial burden on you.

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.

Student loans are almost as big a part of going to college as dorm rooms and roommates. However, taking loans out for an education should not be taken lightly. It’s important to learn all that’s necessary about these loans to keep from getting burned over time.

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