For many students, student loans are a part of the college experience: 43% borrow (or currently borrow) federal student loans and 12% borrow (or currently borrow) private student loans, according to the College Ave Student Loans survey of 1,019 undergraduate students conducted by Barnes & Noble College InsightsSM. Of those borrowing, only half (49%) feel confident they can repay their student loans.
While the majority of students that borrow (86%) understand taking out student loans means they will repay more than they borrow, only about 1 out of 3 (37%) fully understand the financial terms associated with them. More than two-thirds (69%) do not know what the monthly amount will be on their first student loan bill.
“Our survey highlights that though student loans play a significant role in helping students achieve their college degree, more can be done to help educate students on responsible borrowing,” said Joe DePaulo, CEO and Co-Founder of College Ave Student Loans. “Through our clear and helpful online resources and calculators, College Ave Student Loans strives to make student loans as simple and easy-to-understand as possible and help students understand their monthly payments when they graduate.”
The College Ave Student Loans survey also finds that students expect to take on most of the responsibility of repaying their student loans. More than half of students (55%) plan to pay back their loans without help from parents. And, college students graduating with student loan debt are motivated to enter the workforce. More than half (58%) say this will motivate them to land a job faster. Nearly half (43%) will look for a job where student loan repayment is part of the benefits. And, around 1 in 3 (36%) plan to work two or more jobs to help them pay off their student loans.
Borrowing for college can be a confusing process that can leave students with a financial responsibility for the years to come. To help students who plan to borrow for the upcoming school year, DePaulo offers the following tips to help families borrow smart:
- Borrow federal loans first. Federal loans in the student’s name offer certain protections and benefits – such as income-driven repayments and public service forgiveness – not typically offered with private loans.
- Don’t borrow more than you expect to make in your first year of your professional career. By doing so, you help ensure your student loan payment vs. income ratio is kept at a reasonable amount.
- Be aware of automatic deferment. Some loans, such as federal, automatically defer payments while you are in school. But paying down loans while in school – even as little as $25 a month – can help you save money over the long run. Check your repayment for each loan, and if you can afford to, ask your student loan servicer how to make payments on your loan while in school.
- Make sure there are no additional fees. Some loans come with origination, application or even early repayment charges – extra fees that College Ave Student Loans does not charge its borrowers. Make sure to read the fine print and ask your student loan servicer if you are unsure.
- Apply with a co-signer that has strong credit. Applying for a private student loan with mom or dad? Choose the parent with the strongest credit score and history who can help you net the best interest rate possible. One easy way to check what rates you can expect without pulling a credit report is with the College Ave Student Loan Credit Pre-Qualification Tool.
- Sign up for automatic payments. Planning to start paying off your student loan while in school? Consider signing up for automatic payments. You’ll often get a discount on your interest rate when you’re making automatic payments, and you’ll know that your payments are being made on time each month. Not all student loan servicers offer this benefit – make sure to ask.
SOURCE College Ave Student Loans