College graduation is an exciting time, but higher education can build up financial fatigue. The panic of finding a job highlights the burden of student loans. When tackling the bill, experts say sticking to a budget just makes sense.
“Living within their means, is to me, the best key. If you can't buy it with cash, then you may want to leave it alone,” suggested Daymesha Reed, Financial Aid Assistant at Wallace Community College.
Some banks defer loans up to six months after graduation, giving students a grace period to find their footing and land a job.
“Borrowing for education is an investment in education. It's a good investment, but you do have to be prepared to pay it back with interest,” explained Reed.
Sometimes, employers help with student loan forgiveness. Experts say the policy is likely buried in the handbook. For example, teaching full time for five years at a school that serves low-income families can pay off a good portion—if not all—of your loan balance.
Sandy Henry, the director of Enrollment Management at Troy University Dothan Campus, stated, “Check to make sure your employer doesn't have any reimbursement programs because a lot of employers in this area do have reimbursement programs.”
Experts also advise students to put in some time, do some research, and try to qualify for scholarships instead of loans.
“It’s labor intensive. Go for scholarships, do work study, and go for the free financial aid Pell Grant before you take out any loans,” said Henry.
Student loans are like credit card debt; they continue to grow unless you are diligent. If you need financial aid, look for private scholarships on the following websites:
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