Paying for college

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https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2020/09/eliminate-or-radically-restructure-federal-student-loans/

College loans are burdening students across the country, so it is important to know how to get as much money as possible.

ADDIE DETRICH AND PRESLEY CUNEO, Editor-in-chief and Staff Member

Senior year may seem like it is the easiest of all, but what a lot of students don’t know is that behind the lower workload is an inevitable pile of stress for funding college. According to CNBC.com, the cost of public college has increased by 30% over the past ten years with little increase in overall income. Higher education funding has been cut since the Great Recession, and has yet to be fixed as the cost of college becomes increasingly impossible to pay for. Hence, knowing the various methods of receiving financial aid is crucial in minimizing student debt and affording the college of your dreams. 

Applying for scholarships is a great way to get money based on merit. This is helpful when you and your family are ineligible for grants due to your financial situation. Studentaid.gov explains that many organizations offer scholarships, and your college will also offer them on their website’s financial aid page, and sometimes even for your specific major. 

Clark.com mentions several websites that can be used to apply for scholarships including collegeboard.org, scholarships.com, unigo.com, and many more. The best source of money, though, is going to be college-granted scholarships which might be given as soon as you are accepted, or you will apply to them after you choose to attend that college.

In most cases, scholarships and grants do not cover the full cost of attendance. The biological or adoptive parent(s) who do not have an adverse credit history may be eligible for a Direct Parent PLUS Loan from the federal government. This loan has a relatively low-interest rate (compared to private loans) of 5.30%, and it allows the parent to defer payments towards their child’s education. After filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a student’s college will determine how much money a parent is allowed to borrow by taking into account the estimated cost of attendance at that college and the family’s estimated contribution.

Outside of parent contribution, students can take on additional subsidized or unsubsidized loans from the federal government. Subsidized loans allow the government to pay the interest on the loan until a student begins making payments. Unsubsidized loans, however, begin to build interest before a student’s payment plan begins. Generally, unsubsidized loans should be avoided at all costs, as the interest that builds up before a student begins payments can generate an additional thousands of dollars.

If federal loans do not cover the rest of the costs needed to attend college, a student may have to take on a private loan. Private loans can be sought from a variety of lenders including Sallie Mae, Discover, and CommonBond. Students that apply for private loans with a co-signer – a parent – are more likely to qualify, as most young adults do not have a steady income or credit score. These loans should only be taken on if all sources of scholarships, grants, and federal loans are exhausted: Loans obtained from private lenders have a high interest rate, and they will not be canceled if there is ever nationwide federal student loan forgiveness.

This process takes a lot of effort and patience, but never give up. In the end, any amount of money is worth it towards paying for your future career.