Applying for college brings a whole heap of different emotions with it. There is the anticipation of finally leaving home, perhaps for the first time. And you get to enjoy the independence and excitement that brings. But, at the same time, you have more responsibilities, and you will have to take charge of a lot of things yourself. One of the major factors that can come as a shock when you go to college is money. Particularly, college loans!
Now, for the first time in your life, you won’t have you mom and dad there to give you cash as and when you need it. You’re going to have to take charge of your financial situation yourself, and this can be a shock to the system. We realize that. And that’s why we’ve come up with this guide to help you understand everything you need to know about student loans.
What is a college loan?
College loans (or student loans) is a sum of money the government lends to prospective students to help them pay for things they need in college. Back in the day, these used to be called grants, and they were a sum of money awarded for free to help people get their degrees. A student loan is pretty much seen as ubiquitous among the student base as a way of helping pay for college. There are scholarships as well these days, but they are very different to college loans. You need to bear in mind that borrowing for a student loan should be a last resort – try to cover as many of the costs yourself where possible. And also prepare yourself for the fact that you’re going to have to have to repay the loan, plus interest, in the future.
How do you get one?
When you start applying to colleges, you will need to think about applying for a student loan. This is not a process that happens overnight so you will need to make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to be able to complete an application fully. Now, in general, there are two types of loan you’re going to be considering; a private student loan, or a federal student loan. To get a private loan, you will need to find an establishment that offers private college loans and choose the provider you want (you’ll also probably need your parents to cosign). For a federal loan, you will need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will be means tested, and you will be awarded an amount accordingly.
Why you might need it
College loans are typically to pay for tuition fees, books, and living accommodation. Not to mention paying for food and entertainment in the process. A student loan is not a prerequisite of being a student, but it is certainly hugely helpful, especially if your family is not well off. Student loans can be the difference between going to college and not going to college, for a lot of people. This is one of the things that makes them so important, and one of the key reasons why you need to apply for one so badly. However, remember that you do have to pay this money back and so don’t spend it all on red cups and kegs!
A student loan is one of the key factors of being able to go to the college you want and enjoy all the things that come with being a student. A college loan allows you to do all these things and gives you a bit of breathing space before having to pay it back. Consider what your repayment directives, what you need to spend the loan on personally, and plan how you’re going to pay it back in the future. Then, go and enjoy college!