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Student Loans: Do Your Homework Before You Borrow!

Financial Planning

Student Loans

The decision to go to college may seem to be a no brainer, however, paying for the constantly increasing costs of college can be quite challenging. Given the increase of costs to attend a university, most prospective students are driven to borrow money to cover tuition and other costs associated with attending college. Like everything that requires large sums of money, planning and saving is key. Lack of financial planning may result in huge debt loads among young adults aspiring to obtain a college education. Personal financial planning for college tuition should begin as soon as a person enters high school or even earlier. Students should be asking for assistance from counselors who can help them decide both their major in college as well as how to pay for the degree. Doing this earlier will help students become focused and not change majors, which may result in taking more time and classes to graduate, thus requiring more financial assistance.

Before signing any type of financial documents students need to READ the fine print and calculate the cost of borrowing. Here are a list of websites to help you navigate the cost of attending college.

http://www.collegedata.com on this site you can type in a college name and find out the cost of attending that college. By doing this you can decide whether an in-state or out of state college is right for you financially.

The Florida Department of Education, Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/FFELP/ffelp_homepage.html helps you determine what financial aid you qualify for.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website http://www.consumerfinance.gov/students/knowbeforeyouowe/ gives you access to worksheets that you can fill out to compare the different loans available to attend a college.

Armed with information from these sites, you can make an informed decision based on affordability. Graduating with little or no debt at all is ideal, however, not all of us have that opportunity. Therefore, a little homework on tuition costs before entering college may result in less debts upon graduation.

PG

Author: Elizabeth – gorimani@ufl.edu

FCS faculty with University of Florida/IFAS Extension in Gadsden County
http://gadsden.ifas.ufl

Elizabeth

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/07/16/student-loans-do-your-homework-before-you-borrow/