How to Afford College: Get The Most Out of Your Financial Aid

September 23, 2015
* Sponsored Post

As the cost of college tuition continues to rise, many parents and students are increasingly turning to private and federal educational loans to fund college education expenses. We asked Credible, the site where students can compare personalized loan offers, what applicants need to know to get the most out of their student loans. Here are their top five tips!

1. Compare financial aid offers

To minimize the amount of money you may owe after graduation, students should compare financial aid packages between schools. Your financial aid package, including scholarships, merit-based awards, and need-based financial aid, will vary from school to school. Comparing the tuition costs and financial aid programs could help you save thousands over your college career.

2. Borrow only what you need

Federal and private student loans can be instrumental in helping you cover the cost of attending college. While it may be tempting to take out more than you need in student loans and live a more comfortable lifestyle, it is important to remember that once you graduate you will be required to pay back those loans.

You should borrow what you need to live comfortably during college, but not in excess, as you may find that you won’t be able to afford your repayments after graduating. For extra spending money, look into working part-time during the school year or saving money over the summer.

3. Shop around for private loans

As no two private loans are the same, it makes sense to shop around for different private loans and compare offers from multiple lenders. Some lenders attach fees to their loans, while others can offer discounts after your first year of scheduled repayments.

These are factors that should be taken into consideration before you decide on which loan is right for you. Choose the loan and lender that not only suits your needs while attending school, but also for the future.

4. Stay actively involved in the process

Your student loan lender should offer several resources to keep you informed throughout the lending process. Stay in touch and ask questions about interest rates, terms, and what estimated repayments will be after graduating.

Make sure you understand all of the forms you are signing when you take out your loan. Simple things such as knowing if your loans have fixed or variable interest rates could save you time, money and headaches over the course of your repayment term. Ignorance is not bliss in the world of lending, so do your best to educate yourself.

5. Consider interest-only repayments while attending college

Generally, some federal loans and most private loans will accrue interest while you are attending school. This interest will compound onto your loan balance, and will mean that you may have a higher principal balance after you graduate. Paying some or all of the interest that accrues each month will help to keep the principal balance from growing and could save you thousands of dollars over the course of the repayment term.

Student loans are a valuable resource that can help students cover the upfront investment of gaining a college education. Also make sure to apply for the AdmitSee high school scholarship and college scholarship. We give away over $20,000 every year to students; no essays required!



Browse Successful Application Files

FeartheLee
Stanford ‘19


Accepted to Stanford, Williams, Brown, Pomona, Duke, Bard, Kenyon

Stanford 2019, creative writing and education. Full essays! "Lopsided," less-than-stellar numbers.
mark_pino
UPenn ‘20


Accepted to UPenn

Hello! I'm a Freshman at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. I plan on concentrating in finance, marketing and social impact. In high school I was active in LGBTQ advocacy and music. I can help with any questions you have about admissions
Bhenrique
UC Berkeley ‘19


Accepted to UC Berkeley, Penn State, Colorado, UCLA, NYU

Passionate about Education. Lover of all things science!
beccapenn38
UPenn ‘21


Accepted to UPenn, Tulane, Elon , UNC

Student in the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business dual enrolled in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Wharton School.

New Posts

College Supplemental Essays That Worked: Tips & Inspiration
College Supplemental Essays That Worked: Tips & Inspiration
November 20, 2017

As we enter the last stretch of this college application season, it’s time to switch gears and focus on the additional supplemental essays.College supplemental essays are what makes the application process so challenging....

10 College Interview Questions You Should Prepare For
10 College Interview Questions You Should Prepare For
November 17, 2017

Early applications are in and applicants should start preparing for the next application step: the college interview. About College Interviews First thing you should know about college interviews is that you probably won’t have...

Load More Posts