Getting a college education is very expensive. A private college or university on average in the United States costs $45,000 per year. State colleges are less expensive but even half the price, $22,500 a year is a lot of money for many families to pay for four or more years. How to avoid or manage student loan debt is a question that many students are wrestling with every day.
One of the most obvious ways to avoid student loan debt is to pay cash for a college education. There are some families who will find this is feasible option. It may be that the family is wealthy; it may be that they have been saving for the entire life of their child for this education or it may be that they have inherited enough money to provide a debt free college education. While this is a great option, for many families and students it is one that is impossible.
Another way to avoid student loan debt is to earn a scholarship that will pay for a full four year college education. There are scholarships based on academics, sports as well as a variety of civic activities. There are also a wide variety of smaller scholarships that are offered by many different groups. To avoid debt it is important to check out all the available options. If a full scholarship is not available it may be necessary to get a job while attending college. Many colleges also offer financial aid to students who have a need. When choosing a college, it is important to consider the amount of financial aid they are willing to give you. The average grant in the U.S. is $24,000.
There are government grants that are also available. These are called Pell Grants and they do not need to be repaid. They are available to students dependent on the need of the student. The amount available in 2012 is only $5,550 which is not enough to pay for a college education but combined with a scholarship and a job may be enough to avoid college loan debt.
Once you have gotten all the free money that is available to you, it is time to take stock and determine if you have enough to pay for your education. If there is still a gap, it may be necessary to take a student loan. There is not just one type if student loan. There are federal loans and there are private loans. Be sure to ask a lot of questions before you apply for either type of loan. You need to know not only how much you can borrow but also what the interest rate is, when will repayment start and how long will you have to pay.
Everyone wants to believe that they will have a great job right out of college but that may not be totally true. It may take a while to work your way into a high paying position and you don’t want to be struggling to pay your student loans at a time when you need to concentrate on other things.
Student loans are not a bad thing, many people have them and they are easy enough to manage. If you find that you need to apply for a student loan, don’t worry, you have lots of company. Just make sure that you don’t default on your payments because there is no mercy when it comes to delinquent student loans.