It seems like student loans go hand-in-hand with a degree these days. In fact, in 2018, college grads have an average of $36,000 in student loans1. #Woof
With the majority of those students taking out student loans to help pay for their education, parents can play a vital role in helping students understand the process and the commitment to repay the loan.
To take on this task, I talked with Jerrod Wickler, an Agency Manager here at COUNTRY Financial, and Troy Frerichs, a COUNTRY Financial Senior Investment Officer.
Here’s what we discussed:
When do students start applying for student loans? Right away! As soon as the student decides to attend school and where they’re going, help them create their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) account. Make sure they’re as accurate as possible and keep the information up-to-date.
How much should students apply for? FASFA will offer an amount they’re eligible for…not always the amount they need. Carefully calculate how much money is needed for tuition, books, room and board, etc., and take out only what is needed. Taking out more could mean paying a higher total amount of interest compared to borrowing a smaller amount. Scholarships can help lower the amount needed in loans, so be sure to have your student check with your local communities and the school they’re going to for various scholarships and start applying!
When should students start paying on student loans? As soon as possible and don’t fall behind! They have a six-month grace period after graduation, but if they can start paying sooner, have them do it! Another pro tip is to schedule automatic payments, so they never miss one.
If you still have questions about student loans, another great resource is your student’s future school’s financial aid office or the high school guidance counselor.
Do you have student loan tips? Share below!
1COUNTRY Financial Security Index, One-Third of Americans Worry They May Never Be Able to Repay Student Loans, 2017