Paying for college is getting more expensive each year. No one is expected to pay the full amount up front. After you apply for financial aid, grants, scholarships, and any other form of assistance, you can begin to look into educational loans to pay for the rest. Read below to get some basic information about borrowing money for school.
- Talk to your school's guidance counselor. Your counselor has walked many students through their options for paying for college. Once you have exhausted all your scholarship opportunities and other forms of aid, quality educational loans are one way to make up the difference.
- Educational loans can come from different sources. You can apply for loans through the government or private institutions, but many students use federally financed loans as a first option, since they generally have better terms for students. For example, loans given for education by the government are low-interest and you don't have to start to pay them back until after you graduate. They also have less stringent credit requirements. These features make them ideal for students.
- Make sure you understand the terms first. Before agreeing to any loan, make sure you understand exactly what you're signing. What is the interest rate? What type of grace period do you have after you graduate to pay it back? What is the repayment schedule?
- Loans have to be repaid, unlike scholarships, grants, and some other forms of financial aid. Use loans as an option, but make sure you exhaust your other options first. Getting all the free money you can should be your first step.
- The military may offer you loans as well. Talk to your parents, too, and have them research whether you're eligible for any interest-free loans through the Services.
Be sure to fill out your FAFSA form as early as possible. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required by the U.S. Department of Education to determine eligibility for any form of federal financial aid.
For more information and resources to help military youth and teens navigate everything from the unique challenges of a mobile military lifestyle to managing their social lives, saving money, and going green, visit Military Youth on the Move!