Student Loan Debt in America
About 45 million Americans currently owe a total of $1.48 trillion in education loans, and those numbers continue to rise every day. The average debt per student borrow is now upwards of $27,000. So before you even get to stretch your muscles in the real world, you're already saddled with nearly $30K of debt to worry about -- on top of getting a job, a place to live etc.
One of the biggest problems with student loan debt in America is the lack of understanding of how the process works from start to finish. When many people graduate college, they are in for a big surprise when those student loan payments start coming in.
So it’s crucial that you actually understand your loans — for two reasons:
1. so you don’t suddenly get slapped in the face by them,
2. and so you can make the best choices for you and your situation, including the best ways to get the debt paid off.
To help you better understand your loans -- from which ones to borrow to how to pay the money back -- check out the resources below.
3 rules for student loan borrowing
- Never borrow more for a 4-year degree than the entry-level salary you expect to earn during the first year after graduation.If you know what you want to study and figure out that in your first year after graduation, you won’t be able to earn as much money as you would have to borrow, consider an alternative.
- Consider doing your first two years at a community school and transferring to a four year school for the last two years.Then after two years, you can transfer your credits to the school from which you want your degree. That can save you as much as 50% on the total cost of college Just make sure to do some research to make sure that you will be able to transfer those credits to the school of your choice. And by the way, no one asks you where you started college – just where you graduated from.
- Never borrow any private student loan money! Can’t say it enough. If the cost of the degree you want exceeds what you can borrow under the federal student loan program, you should either pick a cheaper school, work your way through school or start at a community college and transfer.
Bonus tip: Only borrow what you absolutely need! You may qualify for a bigger loan amount than you actually need, but that doesn’t mean you should take it. If you work your way through school, you can avoid borrowing too much in student loans and make your life a whole lot easier down the road.
Refinancing student loans can save you big bucks
If you're stuck paying super high interest rates on your student loans, refinancing can save you a lot of cash! This guide breaks down how the refinance process works, how to decide if it's right for you and where to find your best options.
9 ways to pay for college without student loans
Borrowing money for college can be a great investment in your future -- as long as you do it the right way. However, taking on big debt is not the only way to get a degree. There are plenty of other options for financing your education!