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Getting Out Of Student Debt

Dec 5, 2007
Whether you are a college student or the parent of a child planning to attend college, student debt will become an issue that must be dealt with.

Studies have shown that nearly 75 percent of all college students rely on some form of financial aid while attending college. This includes both private and public schools. Some of the aid that students rely on comes from grants and scholarships which do not have to be repaid, but other forms of aid come as student loans, which, of course, do have to be repaid.

There are, of course, those other forms of loans such as those that parents take out to help pay for the cost of college. These often fall into the category of home equity loans when the parents have access to cash in the home. At other times, they are simple personal loans taken out at banks and credit unions.

Regardless of the type of loan or combination of loans that are needed to finance the education, the student is often left with a substantial debt burden that has to be addressed once he or she leaves school. With the cost of college increasing each year, the debt burden that the student assumes can play a major role in the person's immediate financial future once he or she leaves school and begins to work.

Some types of student loans will have terms and conditions that are fairly straightforward and set. For example, the Stafford loan program or the PLUS loan program will have terms and conditions that most, if not all, of the applicants must agree to. There is little negotiation in these subsidized loan programs. On the other hand, if parents or student are exploring the possibility of using their own credit to borrow funds, then the onus should be on finding the best loans with the lowest interest rates. In addition, other terms may be worked out with the lender that can allow some leeway with the repayment options.

Historically, one of the worst ways to finance college is through the use of credit cards. Using credit cards to finance college can present a few problems. The first is that credit cards will often have very high interest rates. This can be especially true if the card is obtained in the student's name. Most student-aged people do not have enough past credit history on file to allow them the best rates on credit cards. The second problem is that credit cards require an almost immediate payment as soon as something is charged to them. The usual time before the first payment is due is often less than two months from the initial time of the charge. Lastly, credit card payments must be made each month or the student will begin to receive negative marks on his or her credit report. This will lead to a lower credit score and the possibility of even higher rates in the future.

Student debt is an issue that needs to be addressed as far in advance as possible. All students should begin the process by applying for grants and scholarships as soon as they can. This will help to eliminate some of the need for loans and future debt.
About the Author
Peter Kenny is a writer for The Thrifty Scot, please visit us at Mortgage Loan and College Loan
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