College Loan Financial Assistance Without Help From Parents–Are Student Loan Options Still Helpful For College?

08/30/2011
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In the past it may have been easier for some parents to help their children with college costs but currently there are tuition increases, unemployment problems that still plague many households, and some parents are just simply not in a position to help meet all of the expenses that come with attending a college or university.  Yet, there are also students who are looking for college financial assistance without the help from their parents, due to some of these reasons among others, and this is usually centered around student loans. Obviously, students will be in a much better financial position if they research and apply for as many free sources of financial aid as they can, like scholarships and grants, but for those who are in a position where certain costs beyond the basics necessities like tuition and fees are unable to be met with the assistance of their parents, some students are turning to loans as a way to help them finance these expenses throughout the semester.

While there are students who will take out loans to help them pay for living costs or added financial requirements like books or food, it needs to be understood by students that college loans, while they have been helpful, are not necessarily going to be beneficial for everyone’s position financially nor will they be easily repaid if a student mismanages this opportunity for financial assistance. Many financial aid counselors, once again, advise that students avoid borrowing loans at all costs, but rather look for financial aid that may be available from sources that range from private scholarship and grant funds to institutional scholarships.

Yet, if a student is in a position where loans may be necessary, it is also important for these men and women to look at what types of loans may be available, as some private lenders are looking to draw students into their college loan industry, which could be helpful or to a student’s disadvantage, depending on the case. Most of the time, students will opt for a federal student loan as a way to meet additional college costs as these types of loans can be more affordable, offer repayment and consolidation options that go beyond what a private loan may be able to offer, and in some cases they can be forgiven.

Students must remember though that borrowing an excessive amount of college loans is going to be incredibly problematic after graduation since many students may not enter into a job that will allow them to easily repay these debts. Many advisers say that students should never borrow an amount of student loan debt that is greater than what they plan to earn in their first year of employment, but some students have obviously gone well beyond this rule and are looking at student loan debts in the six-figure range.

It is true that there are parent loans that may help students through college, but it needs to be remembered that student loans for undergraduates or even graduate students may come with a more affordable rate than a parental loan, and of course there are some situations where a parent may be unable to even repay this particular type of debt as well. Yet, students who are in a bind financially are often told to, once again, research scholarship and grant options that may be in their area, in their specific field of study, or even from their university, and access help that may be available from their school’s financial aid office.  Even if student loans are still necessary, keeping borrowing to a minimum can put students in a position to better erase this debt and not suffer for years after graduation trying to repay these loans.

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