Understanding the options you have to pay for school is important, and can be overwhelming. Don’t be intimidated – be informed and keep these tips in mind.
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Federal Student Aid is part of the U.S. Department of Education and they are the largest provider of student financial aid in the country. They developed the FAFSA form to help students determine for which federal assistance program they qualify. You can learn more and access FAFSA online.
Don’t borrow more than you need.
Remember, any money you borrow will have to be repaid – often with interest – once you graduate. Only borrow what you need to cover your education expenses. If you’re going back to school full-time and won’t be working, factor in your living expenses, and be sure not to over budget. You may be offered more than the amount you need for your education and living expenses, but you don’t have to take the maximum amount you’re offered.
Ask questions and understand what you’re signing.
You have options when it comes to financing your education. Be sure to research which options are best for you. Whether you’re meeting with one of our financial aid officers or you’re looking at private loan options, ask:
- What types of loans am I eligible for?
- What is the interest rate?
- Will the interest rate change and if so, how often?
- Can I get a lower interest rate?
- What fees do I have to pay?
- When will I be expected to start repaying my loan?
- What will my monthly payments be?
- How long will I have to make payments?
- Do you offer borrower protection?
- Do you offer deferment or forbearance?
Consider repaying your loans while in school.
You can start to pay back your loans, or begin paying any interest that you accrue, while you’re still in school. That means you can reduce your total balance, lower your monthly payment and potentially pay off your loan sooner.