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Unsubsidized Student Loans May Be The Solution You're Looking For

Aug 17, 2007
The cost of post-secondary education, like everything else in life, is on the rise. Estimates start at approximately $100,000. Even with scholarships and grants, student loans may be necessary to help cover college expenses and provide assistance with everyday living. For some, who do not qualify for free financial aid, student loans are the only means of attaining a degree in any chosen career field. Unsubsidized student loans are available through the federal government.

To appreciate an unsubsidized student loan, a borrower must first understand the difference between scholarships, grants, and subsidized students loans. Due to the high cost of education, all options should be explored, and utilized, if needed to have the opportunity to reach personal and career goals.

As a teacher, I see high school students frittering away the opportunity for a good education. Socialization, drugs, alcohol, laziness, and a myriad of other reasons contribute to the lack of concern for learning. Then, seemingly overnight, graduation is looming and they have no clue what to do with an uncertain future. A good academic record is essential to success, and an unsubsidized student loan may be the only means of obtaining a college education.

For the student with good grades and recommendations, scholarships are available from schools, businesses, and private citizens, wanting to give hard working students the chance at a great education. Scholarships are free, although most require the recipient to maintain certain academic standards. Benefactors expect a similar level of achievement, which earned the scholarship in the first place. If scholarships do not totally cover the cost of post-secondary education, an unsubsidized student loan is always an option.

Unlike scholarships, grants are not usually based upon academic achievement. Grants are usually determined by economic need. For example, a Pell Grant, probably the most common, is available for students whose parents are unable to help offset the costs of a college education. For traditional students, Pell grants are awarded based upon the parents' or guardian's income. If income is too high to qualify for a federal grant, an unsubsidized student loan may be a viable alternative.

If the income is too high, or a substantial savings account exists, it may be very difficult to receive a federal grant. However, for the non-traditional student, the income of the student is taken into consideration, along with the number of dependents, living expenses, and other necessary financial obligations. The amount of the grant is always based upon economic need.

Like grants, an unsubsidized student loan is also determined by economic need, and a particular college's cost for tuition and fees. Unlike a grant, a loan is awarded to the student, to use as he/she sees fit. If grants and scholarships have paid for educational expenses, the loan can be used for living expenses. With an unsubsidized student loan, the interest on the loan does not start accruing until six months after college completion. As long as the student remains in college, for a BA, a MA, or a PhD, the loan is only for the actual amount sent to the individual, which leaves the unsubsidized student loan for consideration.

Before cashing the check for an unsubsidized student loan, an individual should consider the long-term consequences of his/her decision. Unlike a subsidized payment, the unsubsidized student loan starts accruing interest as soon as the check is deposited/cashed at the bank. Meaning, if the loan is acquired as a freshman, by the time a payment schedule is due, the loan has at least four years of interest attached to the original loan.

If the student chooses to continue an education for any post-graduate degrees, tack on the extra years of interest as well. Even at 3-5% interest, the additional amount can be substantial, making the monthly repayment amounts a large part of the family budget for at least the next ten years. In addition, should economic times get extremely difficult, federal loans are not eligible to be included in any bankruptcy action in the future. In other words, if the check is cashed, an unsubsidized loan must be repaid.

Therefore, unsubsidized student loans have one great attribute for borrowers. Quarterly, a statement is mailed to the student. Thus, the repayment amount to be budgeted each month will not come as a total shock. Also, the amount of accrued interest is also tallied, and the individual is given the option to pay the interest, or allow it to be added to the principle. In which case, the amount of the loan continues to grow, and the interest amount for the next quarter will rise accordingly. So, some students will opt to pay the interest quarterly, and keep the loan amount to the original obligation.

Whatever a prospective student decides, money should not be the determining factor to a post-secondary education. Scholarships, grants, subsidized, and unsubsidized student loans are available for the individual determined to improve future career opportunities through education. Anyone between 18-80 should have the chance to learn and grow, and have the necessary financial aid available to make dreams come true.
About the Author
Erol Orderland knows first hand how Student Debt can affect ones life. For more information visit Federal Loan Consolidation or find out about Consolidation of Debt.
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