Most students need to borrow money to pay for college. This means they have to pay back that money, called a loan, after they graduate. It can take a really long time, like 30 years or more, to pay off all the money they borrowed. But there are ways to make it faster and cheaper. If you pay off your loan sooner, you won’t have to worry about it anymore and can focus on your other dreams.
5 Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Total Loan Cost
#1. Explore free money options first
Yes, you can get money for college without having to pay it back, but you have to search for it. One of the best ways to get free money is through scholarships. You have to find ones that you are eligible for and then work hard to apply for them. But all the time and effort you put in will be worth it.
If you win a scholarship, you get to keep the money and you don’t have to give it back or pay extra fees. Winning scholarships is a great way to make college cheaper.
Grants are like a special kind of money that the government gives to students who need help paying for college. To get these grants, you have to fill out a form called the FAFSA every year you’re in college.
The amount of money you get depends on how much you need and how much you tell them about your situation on the FAFSA. The best part is that you don’t have to pay this money back, so it’s like getting a discount on your college costs.
Any money that you don’t have to pay back, like scholarships or grants, will make it so you don’t have to borrow as much money.
#2. Prioritize federal options for student loans
If you don’t have enough money to pay for school after using scholarships, grants, and your own savings, you might have to borrow money. It’s best to use federal student loans before using private loans. Federal loans have lower interest rates, more ways to pay back the money, and better protections.
The lower interest rate will save you a lot of money in the long run. Only think about using private loans if you still need money after using all your federal aid.
#3. Shop around for the best private student loans
Private student loans are different from loans given by the government. Private loans don’t have set amounts of money that you have to pay back each month or extra charges. The amount of money you have to pay back each month and any extra charges can be different depending on where you get the loan from.
It’s important to look at different places that offer loans and compare how much they charge, because you could end up saving a lot of money.
When you borrow money, it’s important to look at more than just the interest rate. Some lenders might have a really low interest rate, but they might also have other fees that they don’t tell you about.
Before you agree to borrow money, make sure to read all the details in the agreement. There might be fees for starting the loan or for managing it, and these fees can make the loan much more expensive.
#4. Pay more than the minimum every month
Paying the minimum amount of money on your student loans will help you get rid of them eventually. But it won’t make the total amount of money you owe go down. To make your loans cost less overall, you have to pay more than the minimum payment each month.
Remember to think about how much money you make and how much you need to spend on important things like rent, electricity, food, and getting around. Try to spend less on things you don’t really need, so you can save some money each month. Use that saved money to pay more than just the smallest amount you owe each month.
This will help you pay off what you owe faster. When you pay off what you owe faster, you have less time for extra charges to build up. And when you have less extra charges, the total cost of what you owe goes down.
#5. Have good credit? Refinance your loans
If you have done a good job of managing your money and paying your bills on time, you can get a better deal on your student loans. Refinancing means getting a new loan that has different rules and a different interest rate. The interest rate you get on the new loan depends on how well you have handled your money in the past.
If you have a good credit score, banks and other lenders will give you a special deal to pay back your loans. They will lower the amount of extra money they charge you for borrowing the money. This is because a high credit score shows that you are good at paying back what you owe on time. Lenders really like people with good credit, so they want to give them the best deals.
If you borrowed money and now you have more money, it’s a good idea to see if you can get a better deal on how much you have to pay back. Even a little bit less money you have to pay each month could add up to a lot of money saved in the end.