Students who must borrow loans as a way to meet tuition costs that may not be covered through scholarships or grants often find themselves in a difficult situation upon graduating college if they have acquired an excessive amount of student loan debt. While borrowing is necessary for many students who have simply been unable to qualify for the financial aid they need to meet rising college costs, there are some methods that students have used to lower their overall college debt through either smarter scholarship and grant research practices or more savvy borrowing when student loans are required.
Obviously, students would much rather have free sources of financial aid like scholarships and grants before they would turn to a student loan as a way to supplement costs. Yet, loans can be avoided if students take the time to not only apply for popular, more widely known sources of financial aid, like filling out a FAFSA form, or seeking out scholarships directly from one’s university, but when getting specific in one’s scholarship and grant searches, more results may be found. Many financial aid counselors often tell students to look for not only financial assistance that may benefit someone who has been successful academically, who can show a particular amount of financial need since they are from a low income background, but looking for financial assistance for particular college degrees and majors can also open doors to new financing opportunities.
Also, students can explore opportunities like work study programs which may offer employment opportunities for students and assistance when it comes to meeting college costs. Obviously, many students seek on-campus jobs or jobs near their university to make extra money, which can also be used to pay student tuition costs, but opportunities for work study programs can be more helpful to full-time students as they are particularly offered to college students who need assistance financially while also pursuing their degree and focusing on their studies.
There are also some colleges that will offer financing opportunities, meaning a student does not have to meet the total cost of their tuition and fees upfront. Students who can either work throughout the semester, may be enrolled in a work study program, or whose parents may be able to help them with college costs throughout the semester may benefit from these payment plans as, in most cases, students will only have to meet a payment once a month to help whittle down their college tuition requirements.
However, if different avenues are explored and a student still must borrow student loans as a way to pay their tuition costs, many financial aid counselors have often pointed out that students typically take the full amount offered from a student loan, which could equate to thousands of dollars in debt that were not needed to meet tuition and fees, or other costs. While many students enjoy the fact that a student loan may offer them money back after their tuition has been paid, which can be used for other expenses that may arise during a college semester, simply borrowing the minimum amount needed to cover one’s college costs can, again, lower the overall debt that a student will be required to repay upon graduation.