Student Loans Scary
The Cost of a College Education Can Be Outrageously High if You Are Not Careful
During the past 20 years, the cost of a college education has skyrocketed way past the rate of inflation. Educational costs are far above the reasonable loan repayment with an entry-level job.
The average entry-level job of most college graduates is not sufficient to repay student loans and cover living expenses. Because of this sad saga, you must be diligent in understanding college costs and the process of college financial aid, especially college loans.
The Different Types of Student Loans
There are different types of student loans, with a wide variety of repayment options. Some of the loans are very reasonable, while some can become very expensive if you do not understand the repayment terms.
Some loans do not charge interest during school attendance (government-subsidized loans), deferment, or the grace period. While others charge interest while in school.
If you have an unsubsidized loan and they have no deferment you will be charged interest in college. This process is not clear to most students.
Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student’s education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education (the Department). But, the entity you deal with, your loan servicer, can be a private business.
With Direct Loans, you:
You borrow directly from the federal government and have a single contact- your loan servicer. The servicer may be a private institution for everything related to repayment, even if you receive Direct Loans at different schools.
You can choose from several repayment plans that are designed to meet the needs of almost any borrower. And you can switch repayment plans if your needs change.
The Direct Loan Program offers the following types of student loans:
Subsidized Student Loans: for students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period, and during deferment periods.
This is by far the best type of student loan if you can qualify. The deferral of interest payments makes this an affordable loan if paid in a timely manner after graduation. The current interest rate for this loan is 3.4% (this varies over time).
Unsubsidized Student Loans: not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods. Even during the time, a student is in school, during grace and deferment periods, interest is charged.
The interest could almost double your balance at graduation unless you make interest payments during college.
Student Loans Can Be Scary, Do Your Homework
Because interest is charged during all periods, it is possible that this loan could spiral out of control. If small payments are not made during the entire loan period, including while enrolled in school.
The current interest rate for the unsubsidized loan is 6.8% (this may be different by the time you read this article).
PLUS: Unsubsidized Student Loans for the parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance.
Interest is charged during all periods. This loan requires a credit check.
If you cannot survive a credit check:
You can get a co-signer (this person is responsible for repaying the loan in the event that:
a) you do not get a job,
b) you lose your job,
c) you cannot pay, due to disability or long-term illness.
d) you do not make enough money to repay your loan.
For the co-signer, this is an EXTREMELY, high-risk loan.
You can plead your case and write a letter of explanation of bad credit, this may give you an exemption.
Student Loan Interest Rates and Problems
The current interest rate for plus loans is 7.9% (This changes over time). This alone makes it imperative for graduate and professional students to make an interest payment during the school attendance, grace, and deferral period.
A young girl was profiled on dateline who finished medical school, did a residency, and saw her total school loan balance balloon from $250,000 to over $500,000 during residency.
She stated that she did not understand the interest charges during her residency deferral period.
She could have kept this balance at $250,000 had she understood that. By making an interest payment during her residency that would have solved this issue.
Save Yourself Student Loan Pain And Heartache, With Research Before Signing. No Scary Student Loans Allowed
How to Get Student Loans for College
College loans are awarded after a student submits a FAFSA (Free Application For Federal Student Aide). This application can be started and finished online directly at the FAFSA government website, by creating a PIN.
This procedure is more efficient than applying to one individual college of your choice. Since you can verify that all of the requested information is completed in a timely manner and then sent to your chosen college.
Every single college you think you are interested in should be placed on the online application, and the completed application will be forwarded to the school of your choice when you decide where to attend.
Denial: Students have the right to deny any portion of the student aide as loans or ask to decrease the number of loans that may not be needed. The fewer loans a student has the better off they will be later, due to low debt.
How to Make Paying for Student Loans With Consolidation
Consolidation: Eligible federal student loans can be combined into one Direct Consolidation Loan. The government gives you a deadline for the consolidation of school loan debt.
This may ease your payment burden if your loan payments are too high or come from too many sources. The cost of college should not be this high.
You also have a choice of private school loans. Private school loans are more expensive than government loans. Private loans have more fines and fees if not paid due to illness or disability, and they have less forbearance.
Know the cost of your college first and go for subsidized only
With private student loans, you have no safety net. Private loans are easy to get but have no deferment or forbearance on the loans. Private loans make the cost of college very high when you take into account the interest rates.
They have no sympathy for those who get into trouble. Because of this, it is important to get the maximum from government loans before you think about private loans.
Most students have no business at all with a private loan, considering the risk involved. You can understand more of the nuances of student loans by going here.
Don’t make your cost of college prohibitive by getting unsubsidized loans you cannot pay back with a routine entry-level “out of college job”. Make sure you understand what an unsubsidized loan is before you check that box.
Related Link: Student Loans eBook
Why are banks getting rich and richer off college financial aid and student loan profits? Unfortunately, students are not having the same experience. I keep reading articles stating that student – loan debt average is $26,000.
This appears very low, because whenever I hear a forum on television or radio they suggest most graduates have much higher school loan debt. According to most media projections, the national school loan debt is edging toward a trillion dollars, and may crash soon.
Also, when I speak, I always have several attendees tell me they have a much larger debt than $26,000. The real average seems to be more like $50,000.
If you use a realistic breakdown, including private versus public school, and public schools in the south versus public schools in New York and California; you can reach better averages.
There are 12 major factors I have come up with that will determine how much you will owe after college. If you understand each of these factors before you choose a college, you can keep your school loans to a minimum.
THE 12 FACTORS TO STUDENT LOAN PROFITS:
- The total college costs for the following college items — tuition (in-state & out-of-state), fees, room, board, books, transportation & incidentals.
- The total available for a Pell grant is only $5730. for 2014-2015 school term.
- The total available for a work study grant is limited, but determined by many factors, including
part-time work hours and total financial package.
- For an expensive school, most of your financial aid award will be in loans.
- If you are of low income or moderate income, you may get federal subsidized loans.
- If you are of middle income or high middle income, you may get expensive unsubsidized loans.
- If you go to college in the South versus the North, West or East, prices differ.
- If you go to a public in-state college versus a private college, prices differ.
- If you live at home or on campus.
- Whether you plan to stop at a 4 – year degree or go on to graduate degree.
- Financial aid is limited, no matter what your income — It works best for low or moderate incomes.
- This can leave you with a financial gap in your ability to pay total college costs each year.
You may not be hired for a college level job
Because school loan costs can skyrocket with the misunderstanding or lack of knowledge of the 12 factors above, it is important to understand college costs and the severe limitations of financial aid.
You should research and ask questions about these 12 factors before you decide on a college or university. The research can be found on the colleges websites and by calling the school financial aid office and registrar’s office.
UNDERSTANDING ALL 12 FACTORS ABOVE WILL ASSURE TWO THINGS:
- That you finish college,
- That you finish with a minimum of student loan debt.
- That you will contribute minimally to student loan profits for banks
Below I listed the actual cost of several colleges; this will give you an idea of the differences of cost, and your ability to NOT pay, even if you have financial aid – all of these values are in the ballpark of cost, but only a rough estimate:
A PUBLIC UNIVERSITY IN THE WEST~ $125,000 (IN STATE RESIDENT):
Example; The University of California in 2014:
In State Student — Tuition, fees, room & board, miscellaneous: – 4 years $125,000
Out of State Resident — Tuition, fees, room and board, miscellaneous – 4 years $160,000
Because Pell grants max out at $5730., and work – study grants are limited; a realistic loan balance after graduation could easily be $80,000, bear in mind, this is for in the in-state student.
A PRIVATE UNIVERSITY IN THE WEST~$280,000:
Example; Stanford University:
Tuition, Room & Board, Books, Fees, miscellaneous: ~70,000 per year; 4 years $280,000 total
School loans here could easily total $150,000. – 250,000
A PUBLIC UNIVERSITY IN THE SOUTH~ $94,000 (IN-STATE RESIDENT):
Example; The University of Virginia (In-state student):
In State Tuition, fees, room & board, and miscellaneous –4 years ~ $94,000
Out of State Tuition, fees, room & board, and miscellaneous –4 years ~$200,000
For the in-state student school loans could total $50,000.
A PRIVATE UNIVERSITY IN THE EAST~ $270,000 – $300,000
Example; Harvard University:
Tuition, fees, room & board, and miscellaneous –$68,000–4 years ~ $270,000-$300,000
Harvard claims that if your parents make under $65,000 parents are not required to meet costs or what I call the “gap”. All costs can be satisfied with some form of financial aid. The problem is, if you don’t have a full scholarship — what will your total school loan balance be after graduation? Perhaps $150,000 – not good.
If was hard for me to find the total estimated cost for Stanford and Harvard, it is not something on the front of their websites, the administration does not seem to want to give this information freely, since you may not go further into the sites.
The question is, how far can you get on an average of $26,000 in school loans with these schools? Not far, you would not have nearly enough money to finish. Unfortunately, there are many students who start college and find this out after a year or two; that they can’t get enough financial aid, and are forced to drop out with no degree but they have school loans to pay.
They are told if they can’t come up with the “gap”, or the difference between total financial aid awarded and total cost for the past year, they cannot register for the next year.
THERE IS A WAY TO KEEP YOUR student LOAN profits for banks LOW, AND ATTEND A MAJOR UNIVERSITY:
If you choose to live at home and attend the University of California as an in-state resident, you could keep your school loans within reason, maybe $25,000 if you also qualify for a Pell Grant and Work study. Your parents’ income would have to be very low to qualify.
The other state college in that same area is San Diego State University; it is a bit more affordable, especially if you consider living at home. The academic requirements for incoming freshman for both colleges are very high.
If you made the mistake of choosing a college or university that will leave you strapped with unbearable debt, it is not too late to change to an affordable college after your first or second year.
FINANCIAL AID IS LIMITED
Because financial aid is limited, choosing a school according to cost may not matter how poor you are. Some schools have total cost financial aid packages, but many only give you about 80% of cost in financial aid. This is where you will experience a “gap” in your school account balance after you start.
Because financial aid is limited, if you are poor and dependent on a loan based financial aid package, you are better off going to your local state college or university, and staying at home. Another option is attending your first two years at a junior college, where costs tend to be much more reasonable.
In other words, you are better off going to a public school and leaving with a loan debt of $15,000, then going to a private school and leaving with a loan debt of $80,000. Targeting a low final loan balance is one reason that
cost consideration is crucial.
Poor and middle-income students have the best chance of affordable financial aid, since financial aid is need based. But, they must understand that there is a gap, which is between the maximum award given and the total cost.
Sometimes that gap is as much as $5000 per year in a private school or more and $2500 in a public school. That is a rough estimate, it could be much lower or much higher.
Do a thorough analysis of your college cost, and figure out your gap before you go. Upper middle-income students have a better chance of getting low quality financial aid, such as unsubsidized loans and parent loans — interest is charged to your loan while you are in school.
If you choose the option of not paying interest while in school, it will accumulate and could double your actual loan balance after you graduate.
Student LOANS ARE A BILL AND MAY BE DIFFICULT TO REPAY AFTER GRADUATION, KEEP THESE FACTS IN MIND:
- It is important to plan your studies carefully, get out of college in an optimal amount of time and keep school loan debt as low as possible. There are no guarantees as to income or when you will get a job. The grace period for not paying back your school loans after graduation is very small, like 6 months in most cases.
- It may take a while to find a job, and you want to finish paying your loans off in optimal time so you can buy a good car, buy a home, save for retirement and help your own kids go to college. Protect your credit rating by paying off your school loans in a timely manner.
- There are people who planned poorly, they went to an extremely expensive school or did not finish in due time or went part-time for too many semesters. As a result, they will have school loan balances at the time their kids are going to college.
- Some states also provide financial aid to supplement federal financial aid, others may not, or may only supplement with a small amount.
- Many schools do not cover financial needs 100%, even for the poorest students.
- If you have a high quality guaranteed academic scholarship, (these are rare), it may cover 100% of your costs.
- Students max out of financial aid and are asked to leave school, either after a few years or even after one year.
- There are many student loan forgiveness programs with the federal government, be sure you contact legitimate government sources only.
The current student loan profits have not been revealed for 2017 by the current Washington D.C. administration. But, hints are that the burden of financial aid and student loans will be shifted heavier to the student.
Students are defaulting on student loans on an outrageously large rate. Currently in excess of 1 million students are defaulting on their loans. The reason they give is they are underemployed and not making nearly enough money to make loan payments, or have no job.
Lois Center-Shabazz | Course Delta Agency
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