Real Talk: Student Loans Are No Joke

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What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you think of financial aid? Student loans, right? Believe it or not, when it comes to paying for higher education, there’s a lot more to financial aid than incurring staggering amounts of debt. Time for some real talk…

What IS Financial Aid?

Financial aid encompasses a variety of financing sources, including loans, that come together to fund your college education. Grants, scholarships, and work-study programs are a few common student loan alternatives available to many students. Whether you’re already in college or preparing to attend, you should know about the FAFSA by now. The Free Application For Federal Student Aid is required by your institution for each academic year to determine the types of funding available to you. Ensuring your FAFSA is completed on time will give you the best picture of the funding alternatives available to you and potentially help you avoid incurring excessive student loan debt. Many of these alternatives do not require repayment once you’ve completed your degree, which is a great bonus.

Be Smart about Student Borrowing

If you find yourself in need of student loans as a source of financial aid, be sure to understand all of your lending options. There are very important differences when it comes to loans offered by the government versus private lending companies, particularly when it comes to their repayment structure. A little homework now can save you in interest later down the road. And remember, what is borrowed must be paid back – be smart and only borrow the amount of that’s needed.

Navigating the different types of financial aid available to you can be confusing – which school you choose, your family’s income, and your marital status are all factors that could lead to different options. It’s important to get to know the financial aid advisor at your college. Together, you can come up with the best plan for you and your financial goals.

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