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Here’s what you need to know about your student loans — before it’s too late


No one told Jessica Jacho in high school what she needed to know about student loans — how much to take out, what types to take out or how to apply for it.

Jacho, a Monmouth University student in West Long Branch New Jersey has approximately $60,000 debt. She also has several years to go.

Jessica Jacho is a Junior at Monmouth University, West Long Branch (New Jersey).

Photo: Shannon McTigue


She is a first generation college student and has two years left to finish her degree. She also plans to continue her education in veterinary school for three years, which could increase her student debt to over $100,000.

Jacho stated, “When I was high school, I really didn’t know very much about student loans and financial aid.”

Jacho’s student loan debt isn’t the only one she has.

The end of 2021 the Federal ReserveReports indicate that the U.S. student debt reached almost $1.75 Trillion, an increase of more than 80 percent in the last decade.

According to The Average Borrower, it will take 20 years for them to repay their student loans. Education Data Initiative.According to the study, graduates will take approximately 10 years to repay $45,000 in debt. This is if they pay $345 per month.

However, this cautionary tale shows that the greater your debt is, the longer it takes to make the payments.

Experts share their tips on how to make sure you are fully informed about student loans, before and after taking out student loans.

Be aware of what you’re getting yourself into

Know the details of student loans before signing up. Also, be sure to know when you have to repay them.

Jacho tried to exhaust all scholarships, and she received $5,000 her first school year. But it didn’t cover the cost of continuing education.

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If you are still high school students, your first stop should be to your guidance counselor. Students in schools have the opportunity to receive scholarships through counselors.

You’ll be your next destination for scholarships. are online scholarship websitesThese include Fastweb, Going Merry Cappex.A variety of scholarships are available based upon factors such as your accomplishments in high school or your varied background.

Jacho is one of many students who receive scholarships to help pay for college, but aren’t aware how to manage student loans once the scholarship funds run out.

Find out more information about how student loans work, and what amount to borrow. the U.S. Department of EducationOffers online resources via the Federal Student Aid office. American Education ServicesThere are many online resources that can help you manage your debt.

Be sure to adhere to deadlines when applying for scholarships and loans, regardless of whether you are applying through your university. A missed deadline can mean thousands in fines. Paying that amount late could result in your account being frozen and you not being able to attend classes again until the debt is paid.

Nele Langhof was a first-generation German immigrant. She was also first-generation college student.

“By the way, I actually had been in [college]Langhof is now the Better Communities Collaborative’s proposal coordinator in Athens.

Nele Langhof (proposal coordinator, Better Communities Collaborative) is located in Athens Georgia.

Photo: Pricilla Gallogly


Langhof was also awarded scholarships to college but that still leaves her with approximately $45,000 of debt.

Langhof shared that his biggest piece of advice was to “hustle and grind” before you go into the real world. He also suggested paying as much on student loans as possible prior to graduation.

Be familiar with the facts and figures

McClanahan stated that you should keep your federal loans in good standing before applying for private loans.

McClanahan explained that you could get federal loan relief in order to make alternative payments. People can search for programs to help them pay federal loans, including the income contingent repayment and extended payments.

McClanahan stated that private student loans are not as competitive with federal loans. Private loans can be obtained through credit unions and banks, but are not available at universities.

Winnie Sun from Sun Group Wealth Partners Irvine in California said that interest rates are a major factor for student loans.

The following was done before the federal pause on student loan interest and repaymentThe interest rates for federal loans varied from 3.73% to 6.88%. according to FSA.

Sun suggested that borrowers must know what their interest rates will be on all loans they take out before taking them out.

McClanahan stated that it is important to understand each loan’s rules and to then try to repay the higher interest loans first. These tend to be private loans.

Sun stated that borrowers need to know how much they owe and their monthly payments.

Sun stated that most people have multiple loans and suggested creating an easy spreadsheet. It can be done on Google Sheets and Excel. Just write down the details of your loan and its amount. Also, note the interest rate you owe.

How to Avoid Making Mistakes

Sun advised that you should not pay your minimum monthly repayment.

Sun advised that you should at least make the minimum monthly payment. Sun suggested that you might consider gig work and/or freelancing to temporarily make extra money, however, you must still pay the minimum amount.

Sun suggests that you include your minimum monthly payment in your budget just like your electric bill or car payment. While the moratorium is still in place until May 1, Sun said borrowers should still plan for their student loan payments to be incorporated in their monthly budgets soon — do not assume that it will be extended or that student loan forgiveness will happen.

You can have your credit scores and ability to purchase a home or car affected if you fail to make minimum payments. it could potentially prevent employment opportunitiesEmployers may run a credit report on your past.

Sun stated it’s a mistake to leave your monthly payments unpaid. He also suggested that you reach out to help by talking to others about the matter.

Communicating is essential. Let your loan servicers know about this problem by reaching out. Sun stated that you are not the only one. Sun said, “Speak up early to find out if there is any help. Don’t wait till the end.”

Langhof did not miss any monthly payments, but her student debts prevented her co-signing for a house with her partner.

If you have outstanding loans that you aren’t paying, then you can be liable for vehicle payments, housing insurance, as well as for other costs such car and property maintenance. Langhof stated, “Don’t place yourself in this position.” Langhof stated, “Don’t leave yourself behind if it is possible to pay the minimum. That’s why it is called a minimum.”

Big picture thinking

Although it can be hard for college students to look beyond this week’s test or that essay due tonight, the consequences of making choices while in school are long-lasting.

McClanahan stated that students often make the mistake of not considering the costs versus the potential earnings from the degree they earn.

Students who are entering college should do their research on the starting salaries in their chosen field and then try to take only what they can afford. loans that equal that starting salary.

McClanahan said, “It is really important for people as they are in college to ensure that they know which jobs they have when they get out college.” They don’t borrow too much for degrees that aren’t worth the amount they’re getting back.

Many college students end up in student debt, not realizing the impact it has on their lives. Langhof was unable to afford a house and it may have an impact on other life milestones like marriage or starting a family.

Eighty-one percent of adults with student loansAccording to CNBC’s and Acorn’s newly released research, they claim that their debt has caused them to delay major life events. Invest in You Student Loan SurveySubmitted by Momentive. An online survey was taken Jan. 10-13 among 5,162 adults.

Students loan debt is even worse. women and people of color.CNBC/Acorn surveys found that women are much more likely to be in debt than their male counterparts. The survey also revealed that student loan debt is highest among Hispanic and Black women.

According to the survey, 11% of white males and 17% of females were white, while 15% of Black men are white, as well as 31% of Black women. 10% of Hispanic men have student debt, while 19% of Hispanic woman have it.

The possibility of loan forgiveness can make a huge difference in your life

Many borrowers have mixed feelings about federal student loan forgiveness. The moratorium on repayment expires May 1.

Many students even have a laissez faire attitude to student loan debt. I am a 24-year old graduate student and have completed my undergraduate degree in 2020. Many of my classmates are recently graduated students who have not paid a single payment on student loans due to extension. the Covid-19 pandemic.

A friend told me they didn’t plan on paying off their student loans. They said that it was too difficult to think about the future because there are so many bills.

You can make it a contentious debate on the economic effects that student loan forgiveness could have on the U.S. economy, but the varying proposed amounts in forgiveness — $10,000, $50,000 or more — could all mean tremendous relief for borrowers.

For students from low socioeconomic backgrounds like Jacho who is first generation Latina student and the most affected by student loan debt, the federal government could forgive all debt.

Jacho stated, “All that I know is that I’d be weeping in pain knowing all my debt has been paid.” “If I don’t have as much debt, I’ll be more able to rest better at night.”

Borrowers’ mental health could be affected by student loan forgiveness. Over 60% of students say they are unable to repay student loans. has negatively affected their mental healthCNBC/Acorns Survey:

Jacho stated, “If all my debt were paid, then I would basically be okay in my job and continue with my life.”

Sun stated, “I wish there was loan forgiveness but it will take some time.” Anything involving government is usually a bit more complicated. Despite this, the government’s current administration has shown promise in executing it.

Check out this checklist

This checklist will help you to be as smart as possible about loans that you take out. Keep track of your payments and make sure you pay them off as soon as you can.

  1. Apply for student loans and scholarships in high school.
  2. Consider what the average starting salary is for the degree that you are interested in.
  3. You should contact your school to learn about the deadlines that apply for student loans.
  4. Only apply for student loans that you really need.
  5. Calculate the interest rate on student loans, and track your total debt using a spreadsheet.
  6. While you are still in school, pay off student loans.
  7. When you are done with school, include your minimum monthly payments in your monthly budget.
  8. As often as possible, pay more towards your loans.
  9. Ask for help if you need it — contact your student loan provider.
  10. Based on your financial circumstances, research relief programs and other repayment options.

College Money 101” is a guide written by college students to help the Class of 2022 learn about big money issues they will face in life — from student loans to budgeting and getting their first apartment — and make smart money decisions. Even if you are still at school, this guide can be used immediately to help you become financially smart when you graduate. Mikaela CohenA graduate student at Georgia, she is working towards a master’s in journalism. CNBC Make It currently has her as an editorial intern. Edited by Cindy Perman.

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