Any college student knows that an education doesn’t come cheap.
An article in USA Today recommends that college students start investing early to establish a more stable financial future after graduation.
At the age of 18, learning how to cover costs may not be clear.
With a sticker price of $19,067 for a full-time, in-state, on-campus student per year and $28,717 for an out-of-state student, Plattsburgh State Director of Financial Aid Todd Moravec said it’s important to focus on loan management, and taking out the right kind of loans can lead to more financial success.
For most students, that means managing increasing debt year to year and starting to build credit.
According to the Institute for College Access and Success, 71 percent of college seniors graduate with college debt, and the average graduating debt per student is $29,400.
“The less you borrow, the less you have to pay back later,” Moravec said.
Moravec also said that the type of loan you take out is important. Some are more expensive in the long run. Federal loans tend to be less expensive and private loans can carry higher interest rates.
Moravec advised students to be on the lookout for free money by maximizing available grants and checking with academic departments — some may have scholarships available for high performing students.
Moravec also explained that starting a credit history while in college can be a wise investment for the future.
“Think about getting a credit card or a bill in your name and paying it on a monthly basis and on time. It’s better to have established credit,” he said.
After college students graduate, most loans have a six month grace period before loan collection companies start knocking on student’s door. The average loan payoff period is 10 years.
Keeping track of your loan services is a good start, Moravec said, as the federal government will contract out your federal loan to a third party to make its collections.
“Pay your most expensive loans first and if you can, make more than the minimum payment,” Moravec said. “Include a letter that indicates that the additional payment goes to the principle and not future interest.”
Morevec noted that the best thing college students can do is know how to manage their loans.
“Don’t use it to fund a lifestyle that you’ll pay with interest and live like a college student in college so you don’t have to afterwards,” he said.
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