Smart Tips for Using Student Loans to Pay for College by Craig Middleton

Student Loans
Smart Tips for Using Student Loans to Pay for College by Craig Middleton offers the kind of advice that anyone seeking financial assistance for higher education needs to follow. While you need to spend a great of effort selecting a college and a major, don’t cut corners when it comes to researching your student loan options. Thanks, Craig.


  • Taking out loans is a common part of going to college. Many students are unable to meet the rising costs of higher education without this additional assistance. Before you apply for a loan, there are some things you should know. Educate yourself on your options so you can make an informed decision that is right for you and your future.

Choose Your School and Major Carefully

  • If you are going to take out student loans to pay for your education, you should be fairly certain that the risk of taking on the debt will be worthwhile. Not all colleges and career paths have equal opportunities. Before you obtain a loan that you will need to repay, you should do some research.
  • Find out what the placement rate is from the degree program you are considering. Are there plenty of jobs available? Does your school offer job placement assistance, help with securing internships, or other resources to make finding a good job more likely?
  • Also, take a look at the growth rate of the career you wish to train for. Are new jobs being created in this field? Is the career in high demand? Or is the market oversaturated and finding employment will be tough due to high levels of competition? 
  • It’s best to find out the answers to these questions before you begin your studies. If you don’t like the answers that you find, you can adjust your plans and choose a different path before you invest time and money in a career that may not be as marketable as you think.

Calculate How Much You Need

  • Some lenders allow you to borrow more than the amount of tuition that you need. They consider expenses such as housing, meals, books, and supplies to be education-related and eligible for a loan. You can take advantage of this if you genuinely need the funds, but you should only ever borrow the amount of money that you need. 
  • Did you receive any grants or have some money saved for college? Use that first and deduct the amount from the loan you will need to apply for. Can you find an apartment with several roommates to lower your housing and meal costs? Find other ways like these to reduce the money you borrow. You will end up saving on interest and can lower the expected monthly payment obligation. 

College Debt

Determine Which Loan Type Is Best for You

  • There are many different types of loans available. Spend some time reading about them so you can choose the best option. You may qualify for federal loans backed by the government, or you could need to take out private loans. There are also options for parents to borrow the money, or you can take on the debt yourself as a student. Compare your choices and make the selection that works for you.

Know Your Repayment Terms

  • Before you sign a loan agreement, make sure you understand what the repayment terms are. These will differ for each lender. Find out when repayment will begin after graduation. Do you have a grace period or are you required to start payments immediately? Does your career offer any options for loan forgiveness?
  • You should also have an idea of what the interest rate will be and what repayment plans are available. It can be tough to predict what your income situation will be like, especially when you first enter into employment. A loan that has a variety of repayment plans could be the best choice. Ask your lender if it is possible to change your terms depending on your financial situation. Some servicers will allow you to extend the length of your loan, or even calculate your monthly payment based upon your income.
  • When you go about it in the correct way, student loans can be a huge help. They give you the opportunity to pursue the life that you desire by being able to afford the training you need to secure the job of your dreams.

Craig Middleton

  • Craig is a New York City-based retired business consultant, who is an expert in education and cultural trends. He has a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters in Education from St. Johns and loves sharing his knowledge on the side through his writing. If you have any questions or comments you can direct them to Craig at
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