Archive | Student Loans

Image by Fabian Blank,

Image by Fabian Blank,

An independent and fun-filled life is the fantasy of every college student. However, with the limited financial budget of a student, this fantasy remains just that – a fantasy. Moreover, college loan repayment is another obstacle that not only prevents this kind of life for students but also prevents them from investing independently and earning rewards to help financially support them.

1) Freelance
As a student, there are many ways to earn money. Content writing is one huge field that has helped many students. With a lot of freelance websites in motion, students can grab work that interests them, write articles and earn by selling those. Students can also start their own blogs and earn money through them.

2) Be A Tutor
If a student excels in English, they can earn by proofreading and editing articles of their peers or by becoming tutors. Teaching is the best way to excel in a subject and by becoming a tutor, students can earn, polish their own skills and knowledge and be a valuable service to those around them. Schools usually have teaching assistant posts or a campus tutoring center available where students can take the role of a tutor.

3) Become a Notetaker or Sell & Textbooks
Students with learning disabilities are provided with note takers that are compensated fairly well, and by taking up such a position, students can not only help their peers but also earn for themselves. Selling text books at the end of the term is another way income can be generated. Textbooks are a huge expense for students, so many look out for used books from seniors. Approaching such students results in a win-win situation for both parties.

4) Get a Part-time Job or Internship
Most universities and colleges have a career counseling department that provides students with opportunities to work with local or multinational companies. Students can look out for such internship / job opportunities and work part time. This would build their resume, provide them with adequate experience and help students make money. On campus jobs such as waitressing or administrative work in various departments are also available that help students to make money. Usually, students also participate in paid interviews, surveys and medical experiments that add cash to their wallets.

For most students, having cash to spend freely is a major issue; not only during their study years, but also after graduation. This is mainly due to the high amount of interest they have to pay on student loan repayments. While some students have their repayment strategies chalked out, most do not care to think about it until after they graduate and the grace period has almost ended. Hence, having made some money while studying at college can be a huge advantage for every student while at college and even after they graduate.

Earning while you study can also reduce your dependency on student loans, resulting in fewer repayment problems and reduced interest payments.

This article was contributed by guest author Henry Kingston.


Image by on Flickr

Chances are, if you graduated from college, you have at least one student loan to pay off.  If that’s the case, my condolences.  However, you’re not alone.  All the better to budget with.  If you’re forced to save a set amount of money every month, you’re more likely to learn how to budget, and learn fast.  There are a number of ways to cut costs in your daily life. 

The first step is to make a budget that allocates a set amount of money toward bills, food, rent/mortgage, and daily expenses. Then, figure out how much is left over based on your income. If you’re in the States, find a tool that calculates whether you qualify for income-based repayment — via President Obama’s William D. Ford Direct Loan Program — and go from there. However, a warning: there are a number of different options for student loan repayment now, so beware of private companies that want you to refinance with them so that they can make a profit.  Here’s an infographic with a flow chart that’s easy to understand:

Students picture

While it may be tempting to simply allow your student loans to go into default, it’s probably not wise in the long run.  Defaulting can result in wage garnishment, tax refund withholding, even the revoking of your driver’s license!  That’s nothing to fool around with.  Better to go with the twenty-five year plan, if you’re short on cash — as many of us are these days.  There are a number of steps you can take to gain more control over your finances, even if you don’t feel like you have a lot of expendable income.

First, focus on what you can control.  How much money is left after you put aside your basic monthly expenses and student loan expenses?  As difficult as it might seem, try to set aside a little each month for a savings account.  You’ll be grateful when an unexpected expense comes along.  And try not to rack up a lot of excess credit card debt.  If you can’t afford to pay for something, maybe it’s not worth the additional expense every month.  If there isn’t enough money at the end of the day to simply get by, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your career path and consider setting a goal to get a better job or return to school for a specialized certificate or a different career altogether.

A good rule of thumb in selecting a program of study is a) Are you passionate about this subject and, b) Is it practical? That is, are you going to school for a position that’s highly in demand?  An example of a field that is always growing and expanding is healthcare.  (I would say education too, but there are the salaries to consider.)  To give you an idea, here’s a visual with some useful numbers as ball park estimates.  Basically, you’re looking at 90K a year, at minimum. With that kind of salary, you should be able to pay off your student loans fairly quickly — within ten years, as opposed to twenty-five years. If you’re concerned about choosing between a second degree and quitting your job, fear not: there are now a plethora of online programs in nursing and healthcare for you to choose from.

If, on the other hand, you’re a burgeoning entrepreneur looking to think outside the box and go the route of starting a business rather than working for a company, you could always begin building your business while still in school.  If you go this route, you’ll likely have other types of loans to contend with: business loans.  How do you go about juggling student loans and business expenses, all while trying to raise enough capital for your business to grow?  Well, nowadays we have the Internet, and along with it come innovative crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Interestingly enough, crowdsourcing is fast becoming a mainstream source of capital generation for startups, considering the increasingly important role social media is assuming in effective business marketing campaigns.

So take heart and have courage: you can do whatever you set out to do with your money or your career.  Just take things one proverbial step at a time, and you’ll be fine. If you have ideas to contribute about successfully balancing college, money, and career goals, either in or out of school, post them in the comments below.

This article was contributed by guest author Daphne Stanford.



Let’s face it: college tuition is through the roof, and it’s only going to get higher. At the same time, many higher level jobs are only available to those with degrees. Add the two together, and college becomes a daunting and expensive task, rather than a chance to learn and grow as a person. Not all hope is lost, however! There are plenty of methods you can use to cut back on costs and get a degree without having to climb a mountain of debt! Methods like…

Scholarships and Grants

This one is a no-brainer, but sometimes it still just feels like a lottery. Don’t be discouraged, though! If you can name one single thing that makes you stand out, you can bet there is a scholarship or grant for it. Are you short? Tall? Boy? Girl? Can you dance? Can you sing? Are you a liberal? Conservative? What career path are you aiming towards? The answers to those questions and more can all, you guessed it, get you some no strings attached cash. Is it worth it? Yes! If you spend three hours applying for dozens of scholarships and grants and even only get a single $500 scholarship, that’s the same as three hours working a $167/hour job!

Get Textbooks Cheap

Textbooks can be one of the hidden costs of college. Altogether, the price to buy all the textbooks you need for a single year might be a thousand bucks or more. Everyone knows that renting is one way to cut down costs, but another tip is to buy the previous edition of the textbook required. Do they want the 4th Edition? Get the 3rd edition. Oftentimes, the information is exactly the same, and if the questions in the book are different, you can always just work with a classmate. If you rent a used book in an older edition on Amazon, it’s entirely possible that you can get it for a single penny, minus shipping and handling. Yes, that’s a true story. How about that?

Online Classes

The best way to make things cheaper is to make them digital, and classes are no exception. If you’re taking a gen-education class or even some specialized classes, why pay full tuition just to sit in a lecture hall and listen to the professor, when you can pay half, sometimes a quarter as much? On top of that, you get more options and features to help you learn, like these online masters in aging interactive study guides and re-playable lecture recordings.

Live Off Campus

Here’s a little fact for you: if you do the math, on-campus housing at some colleges can be very expensive. Would you spend a thousand dollars a month for a place to live and eat? Two thousand? Three? Maybe if you were rich and wanted a condo. But you’re probably not rich, and are definitely going to be plopped into a noisy, smelly dorm. So what to do? Go ahead and live on campus your first year or two, make some friends, and then book it to an apartment or rental house with them! You’ll no longer have the luxury of paying for everything in a single lump sum payment, but you’ll have the advantage of, well, saving a lot of money and having your own place.

So there you have it, not one but four ways to make sure your money stays your money whenever you ship yourself off to college this fall. Use these wisely, and imagine the looks on everyone’s faces a couple years after you graduate, when you tell them you already paid off your loans!

This article was contributed by guest author Lizzie Weakly.

by Simon Cunningham on Flickr

by Simon Cunningham on Flickr

The majority of university students have forever dealt with student loans. Past students may still be trying to pay off their loans while current ones may feel swamped with the amount of money they will have to pay. Luckily, there are many resources online that have great information for students on how to deal with loans and get rid of them as quickly as possible. Here is a consolidated guide on student loans:

  1. Many experts recommend consolidating loans, and it is something that students should look into, especially if juggling multiple students loans. It combines them all into one loan that can be paid off through one payment per month rather than multiple. This is a huge benefit that can save you money through a plan that better fits your financial needs. Keep in mind that you may end up spending more money if you choose a longer payment schedule, and it may be required that you have a locked interest rate, based on your multiple loans.
  2. Interest rates play an important role in deciding whether to consolidate your loans. Federal loans are presented with fixed rates which establish how much you will be paying throughout your loan schedule. Private loans are subject to change depending on whether they are a variable or a fixed rate loan. Both have pros and cons, but again what is important is that you find a payment schedule that best fits your schedule.
  3. An example of a strategy that can be used when paying off student loans is to pick the shortest payment schedule that you can manage. The longer the payment schedule, the more money in interest you will end up paying, which in most cases will lead to paying off way more than you borrowed.
  4. Attempt to pay more than you need to each month as well. That little amount that you add on to your monthly payments will save you money in the long run and get that loan paid off more quickly. Prioritize the most expensive loan too if you haven’t consolidated your loans, because again, you will save money and time due to the higher interest rates on that loan. Contrarily, you can prioritize your smallest loan to pay it off as quickly as possible. This will save you the most time in the long run because of how long the small interest rate schedule is.
  5. Look for student discount and loan forgiveness options if need be. Those small breaks will help you even if the discounts are very minimal. Loan forgiveness should only be used as a last resort option as it does come with some important clauses.

Student loans remain extremely common with the university population today, and will certainly be an important factor for students in the future. Consolidating federal loans is an option that can help students manage their finances while not impacting their financial situation due to locked interest rates. Private lenders can either save or cost you more money depending on the rates you choose. At the end of the day, pick the schedule and tips that fit your needs and will benefit you the most, in the area you wish to benefit the most. Just remember to always read the fine print.

Find out more about Loans and Consolidation from The Simple Dollar.

Image by jessiejacobson, Flickr

Image by jessiejacobson, Flickr

With all the costs of post-secondary education, it can become very difficult to find the money to pay for it. Luckily, with student loans, students can more easily pay for university/college. There are two forms of student loans: government loans and private loans (i.e. personal loans and student lines of credit). Depending on eligibility, students have the option to receive either. So, how do you choose which loan is best for you? Here are a few factors that can help you differentiate and choose between the two:

Government Loans

Private Loans

Interest rate Fixed interest rate and often lower than private loans. Variable interest rate that can substantially increase your debt if rates increase.
Loan repayment Repayment starts six months after graduation. Repayment assistance programs are made available for students who may need it. Monthly interest payments while in school and regular repayment (principal and interest) starts a few months after graduation. Repayment assistance is dependent on the institution.
Reapplying for loans Must reapply every year and takes approximately four to six weeks for applications to be assessed. Usually, half the loan is given during the first term and the other half is given during the second. No need to reapply each year. Typically, only Proof of Enrollment is necessary and funds will be available shortly afterwards.
Parental involvement Your parents’ incomes will affect the amount of your loan. The higher their income, the less financial aid you receive and vice versa. Usually need a parent to be a cosigner/supporting borrower.
Extra Perks You will be automatically assessed for Canada Student Grants when you apply for a Canada Student Loan. Also, government loans differ province to province and territory to territory. Some offer both federal and provincial/territorial loans, while others only offer one or the other. More information and applications to each province/territory’s respective financial aid websites can be found below.

Depending on the institution, a lot of aid can be made available to students; much more than that offered by government loans. Here are some options available for Canadian students:

Here are some options for American students:

Final Thoughts

With all the perks of a government loan, why doesn’t everyone just apply for them as opposed to private loans? Simply, it is because not everyone qualifies for these loans or receives enough from them. Government loans are given on a financial need basis and have a limit. Use the Student Financial Assistance Estimator to see how much money you can receive from the Canada Student Loans Program. In the end, those who do not qualify and those who do not receive enough sign up for private loans.

With that being said, student loans are a great resource for your education, but try not to rely too heavily on them. Depending on how much you borrowed and the interest rate, it can take several years to completely pay off the debt. This can make it very difficult for you to achieve other financial goals.  Remember to be smart with your money and good luck!