Student Financial Aid

Written by Tara Peris
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Managing student financial aid is a significant responsibility and one for which few youngsters are prepared. Amidst the chaos of SATs and college applications, parents are often the ones to negotiate the financing and loan applications. Although helpful in the short-term, this leaves students ill-equipped to handle their loans in the long run.

All parents do what they can to help keep college within financial reach. Savings accounts, loans, and home refinances are par for the course in this arena, but all too often, they prove insufficient. With cumulative costs ranging from $50,000 to well over three times that amount, college is a very expensive proposition. A good many students will have to supplement parental help with loans of their very own.

Real World Education

The average freshman is not especially well prepared for a college loan, nor is she expected to be. The real education comes upon graduation when the loan must be repaid. Some studies suggest that the average college student graduates with somewhere around $17,000 dollars of debt. This is no small sum, especially in light of the starting salaries that most new graduates can expect.

Although many colleges and lenders have instituted loan terms that require students to attend one-time workshops on the loan process, information from these sessions is long forgotten by the time it comes time to make the first payment. This puts students at risk for defaulting on their loan and potentially jeopardizing their credit ratings if they are unable to make payments. Students who rely on financial aid should take care to educate themselves fully on the interest terms and on possibilities for deferment and repayment.

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