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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How much do you Owe in Student Loans

By Steven R. Brooks

College is not cheap. In fact, the cost just seems to keep going up and up. Very few people can actually pay for the entire cost of college out of pocket. Students look to financial aide, grants, scholarships, and loans to pay for college. Student loans are one of the most common ways to pay for college and most college students graduate with student loan debt.

How much do you owe in student loans? Your first choice in student loans should always be the government. They offer the Stafford Loan and others often with a better interest rate then if you looked for money in other places. Also, if you are in more financial need, you can get a subsidized Stafford Loan. This means that the government will pay the interest on your loan until six months after you graduate.

After government loans, you can look for student loan services, get a personal loan, take out a second mortgage, or use credit cards. I would recommend against the second mortgage or credit cards. If you are desperate enough to take out a second mortgage, you should look for a cheaper school.

Another way to save for college is to go to a cheaper school. Most cheaper schools are state schools. Don't think that cheap means lower quality. They only cost less because the also get money from the government. Many state schools are even better than a lot of more expensive private schools.

How can you use less loans? The best way to minimize student loan debt is by by not taking out loans in the first place. Unless you are a super genius and feel you must go to an Ivy League school, go to one of the top state schools and save a lot of money.

You can save even more money if you go to a community college for two years first and then transfer to a state school. State schools are cheap, but community colleges (which are state schools too, but they are only two years as opposed to four) are often have the price.

You can also save a lot of money by commuting to school. You might find that living in residence halls or dorms isn't all they are cracked up to be anyway. Commuting can save you a lot, especially if you live close by and don't have to pay much gas.

Another way to help pay for college is to get a job. Get a part time job during school to at least pay for all your daily expenses and books. If you are a good saver, you can even stash some away for tuition.

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