Skip to main content
X

Three Tips For Utilizing Federal Student Loans

Tips for utilizing federal student loans

Researching how you will pay for college? Considering utilizing federal student loans? Read the top three tips from a student financial services expert before you apply!

Your time as a student should be an exciting one, a time that you feel supported to grow intellectually and personally, all while being supported by a university staff that is devoted to your success. Your time as a student, however, is most likely also a very busy time. While juggling so much in the academic and extracurricular space, it's not uncommon to lose track of the fleeting (yet long-lasting) financial decisions you make as a college student. The achievement of a higher education comes at a cost. Financing it through federal student loans is the most common method of paying. Here are three tips for you to consider before applying for federal student loans:

Know Your Alternatives

Since federal student loans are the most common method of paying, this option is often misinterpreted as the only method. Not so! Sometimes the other options are right under our noses and we don't even realize it. For instance, when was the last time you checked in with your employer's human resources department to determine if it offers tuition reimbursement to employees? You might be surprised what you learn. Try Googling "scholarships for college students who are working adults." There are over 90 million results for this. Let's not forget the approach of paying the tuition for a college course when you have saved up enough money. You might not finish your degree in four years, but doesn't the idea of graduating with no student loan debt sound amazing?

While those other options are certainly superior to borrowing student loans (which may take decades to pay back), they may not be options for you. If you rely on federal student loans to fund your educational costs, here are a couple more tips for you to consider now:

Control Your Borrow

You control the amount you borrow. Simply put, you're not required to accept the entire amount of loans you're offered. You have the right as a student loan borrower to request a reduction to your award or to cancel it entirely. The choice is yours.

Calculate Your Payment

Consider the potential income you may earn upon graduation. The job of your dreams may pay a lower income in the real world. Your total monthly payment of federal student loans after you graduate could easily be as much as a car payment. Is this something you will easily fit into your personal budget? To understand the potential impact to your future payment amounts, use the Federal Student Aid Repayment Estimator. Once you login, it will transfer real-time information about your personal federal student loans. You can even test how the different payment strategies affect your monthly amount.

If you know a college graduate that is currently repaying student loans, don't be shy. Ask for his or her advice. What that grad shares will echo some of the tips above but may uncover additional considerations not mentioned.

Jeremy Brannan is an assistant vice president of Student Financial Services at Southern New Hampshire University.

Education

Explore more content like this article

Types of Degrees

College Degree Levels In Order

April 10, 2019

With so many college degree levels available, it can be hard to know which degree is right for you and your career goals. Explore college degrees in order from lowest to highest to see how your educational path could progress.

A white check mark inside a yellow circle.

What are Credit Hours? The Building Blocks of Your College Diploma

March 29, 2019

College degrees are granted when you’ve earned the number of credit hours an institution has designated for that particular program. So, what are credit hours, and how exactly are they determined?

A college student and advisor exploring degree programs at a computer.

The Difference Between Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science

March 27, 2019

It's important to understand some of the basics of an undergraduate program when choosing a degree to pursue, like why or how a Bachelor of Arts may differ from a Bachelor of Science degree.

Link to SNHU Facebook Link to SNHU Twitter Link to SNHU Instagram