Planning Ahead: 3 Tips For Limiting Student Loan Debt

Today’s college graduate leaves school with more than ,000 in student loan debt. That figure is just shy of the average price for a new car — ,500, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. Unfortunately, the amount of debt people take on when buying a car or going to college turns out to be one of the few similarities between the way people finance their cars and the way they finance their college educations.

Understanding how the strategies you use when shopping for a car can also be applied to planning for your college degree can help keep you from getting chained down with ballooning debt from student loans that mushrooms from year to year.

What Shopping for a Car Can Teach You About College Loans

Few new car buyers go to a showroom without first having done research on the model or models they’re considering. For some buyers, the most important considerations are initial cost, fuel economy, safety, quality, reliability, brand, comfort, and seating capacity. Discussions about financing the vehicle come later, but those negotiations are no less important to the process of buying a car. (After all, few purchases require one to spend ,000 in one sitting.) Auto dealer know that simple things like manufacturers’ incentives, rebates, and financing deals can make or break a sale.

Students in the market for college loans (http://www.nextstudent.com/private-loans/private-loans.asp) don’t typically take this same careful and researched approach. In fact, many students enter college without even knowing what they want to study.

If you’re like many students, you’ll begin taking out student loans in your first year to help cover your college costs, and you won’t decide on a major until your sophomore or junior year. By the time you declare your major, then, you’ll already be in debt and perhaps even have taken classes that won’t apply toward your major requirements. Getting yourself in this situation is the equivalent of taking out a car loan without having picked out your car yet and then paying for the test drives.

If you find yourself short on the necessary credits for your major by the time graduation rolls around, adding as little as a single semester at the end of your fourth year can result in tens of thousands of dollars in added costs, once the interest from a semester’s worth of additional student loans is factored in.

But following three simple tips, gleaned from smart car shopping strategies, can help you keep your college costs under control and minimize your debt from student loans.

1. Be Prepared

A better approach, if you’re going to be financing your education using student loans, is to determine a field of study ahead of time. By doing significant research on employment and college programs prior to applying for admission, you’ll be better prepared when it comes to choosing a school, declaring a major, and charting your course picks — all of which should also put you in a better position to make borrowing decisions and to plan how much money you’re going to need from college loans and how you’ll repay those loans once your graduate.

2. Shop Smart

Knowing what you plan to study will help you choose the school you attend, and here’s where you can save big. Some lower-cost schools have better specialized academic programs than their higher-cost, more well-known counterparts. By balancing the cost and quality of a school’s particular academic program against its broad-spectrum reputation, you can avoid spending big bucks for a “status” degree and get the most return, in terms of learning and job training, on your time and money investment.

Make sure you also apply your research and smart-shopping techniques to your student loans themselves. You’ll want to maximize your available federal financial aid and take advantage of low-cost, lower-interest government-issued student loans before you turn to pricier non-federal private student loans (http://www.nextstudent.com/private-loans/private-loans.asp).

3. Do Your Research

Choosing a field of study before starting college can also help you estimate how much you’ll be earning after graduation. Simply knowing the average starting salary and employment prospects for new graduates in your field can help you determine whether it’s reasonable and safe to take out student loans.

Using this strategy, you can also develop “Plan B” options for ancillary fields that will allow you to make the most of what you’ve already studied. Use your Plan B outlook to add academic, extracurricular, work, and internship experiences that broaden your knowledge base and enhance your employability upon graduation.

Your research may reveal that the average starting salary in your chosen field is very low (http://www.jobweb.org/studentarticles.aspx?id=904), or that the average time between graduation and finding gainful employment exceeds your six-month grace period before your student loans go into repayment. (Get current average starting salaries for hundreds of majors and academic degrees in this PDF Fall 2010 National Salary Report, http://www.nextstudent.com/articles/pdf/NACE-Salary-Survey-Fall-2010.pdf.)

Knowing what you can expect can help you plan repayment strategies for your college loans and may help you refrain from amassing a level of student loan debt that your post-graduation salary won’t support.

By approaching college financing and student loans with a more research-oriented and smart-shopping focus, you’ll be in a position to save a lot of money by finding the right-priced college program for you, improving your employment prospects after college, and avoiding common traps that can lead to over-borrowing and more student loan debt than you can handle.

college loans: http://www.nextstudent.com/private-loans/private-loans.asp, starting salaries for popular majors and degrees: http://www.jobweb.org/studentarticles.aspx?id=904, full PDF report: starting salaries by academic major and degree: http://www.nextstudent.com/articles/pdf/NACE-Salary-Survey-Fall-2010.pdf

Written by jmictabor

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Planning to Get Your Bachelor Degree Online?

Are you ready to study at home or anywhere that you feel comfortable with? Just like getting involved in online business, the idea of giving people the convenience of just owning a personal computer and an internet line to get their Bachelor Degree Online are becoming more and more popular. Furthermore, the main objective is to assists in saving the public thousands and thousands of dollars a year.

According to reports, the numbers of universities that offer bachelor’s study programs online have increased to 75% and the soar of percentage were contributed by traditional universities. The trend of getting your Bachelor Degree Online is definitely on the rise therefore making the courses on offer increased and students have more option to choose from when they enroll for their Bachelor Degree Online.

No matter if you are a student, a fulltime employee, a stay at home parent, or a jobseeker, this is the chance to get your Bachelor Degree, associate’s degree and diplomas wherever and whenever you like. Imagine yourself studying and doing assignments at the comfort of your own home or at a café and not in the confined space of a classroom. The online programs also cater the disabled people who find some universities do not have sufficient facilities to assist them moving around campus independently.

However, even though there are many universities and colleges now offer Bachelor’s degree online, the interested party should do a thorough research. They also have to be very selective in choosing the right college and their Bachelor’s program. They could also make some consideration on their choices by asking others who have already earned their Bachelor Degree Online.

Since university and college degree has become one of the main requirements for many companies in search of new employments or promoting their existing personnel, it has struck the minds of the university and college boards to open their online courses to aid this type of workers to obtain their degree online while working fulltime at the office. All they need to do is register for a course and pick their schedule when they are free.

The online bachelor degree courses offered to the potential students are also similar to the ones offered by the regular universities and college. Therefore, rather than having to spend your entire time in classrooms or lecture halls, you can go ahead and do your course works at home or anywhere you like. The examples of courses that the online universities offered are programs such as art and design, business, education, finance, engineering and construction and also law and criminal justice.

The Online Bachelor Degree will definitely be the top choice as it will only costs you less money and less contact time with the lecturers. Thus, this will accelerate the process of obtaining a degree In your field of studies and making you more available in the market for new jobs or job promotions if you are already employed by your company.

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Time Magazine article speaks some truth about college.
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