With the costs of university tuition rising year on year, coupled with the cost of living increasing tremendously, graduates can be left with staggering amounts of debt. This leaves them with years of work ahead of them before they can take home their full pay check. Some people choose to study online, from online marketing degree programs, to online PHD courses, thinking this will allow them more time to work, yet still end up with massive debts. Understanding why this happens may help you prepare.
How Long Will It Take?
Research from 2014 shows that the average undergraduate takes 21 years to pay off all their student loans, when that average debt is between $39000 and $42000. With fees consistently rising, and wages not increasing to match the rate of inflation, this is only set to rise.
The Different Kinds of Debt
Knowing about the different ways to finance your degree before you start is a great way to reduce your debts and decrease the time it takes you to pay them off. Student grants and scholarships don’t need to be paid back at all, so check to see if you might be eligible as soon as you can. There is a huge amount of scholarships available, either from your university, or from external companies. Have a look into the requirements and apply for what you can.
A federal student loan is your next option, and accounts the bulk of most graduate’s debt. This is however a much better kind of debt than taking a loan from your bank, as the interest rates are much lower, and your repayment options could be a lot more flexible, you won’t even need to start repaying until after you have completed your studies. Always make sure you understand the terms of any loan you choose to take out. Know exactly who is offering you the money, before you sign any contracts. If you’re in any doubt, have someone look at the agreements for you, or speak to a financial advisor at your university. Always remember, you do not have to accept the full loan amount. Budget carefully, and never borrow more than you need
People studying online often worry they won’t get help with their fees, this isn’t the case. For example if you choose to study for a marketing degree online you may still be able to apply for some financial support.
Some May Be Forgiven
If you still owe money after a set amount of time, this portion of your loan may be forgiven. This means you will never have to pay it back. Other circumstances which could lead to your loan being forgiven include working in certain professions such as health or teaching, and joining the Armed Forces. If you think you may qualify, contact your loan provider.
Unless you’re incredibly fortunate, you are likely to come out of education with at least some debt. Being informed and prepared will help you budget, hopefully cut your debts, or at least help you pay it off faster. Please don’t let the worry of debt stop you from entering a program of higher education. University is an incredibly exciting and rewarding time. A student loan is ultimately, a worthwhile investment in your future.