So you’re going to school – and worried about how you’re going to pay for it.
There is no doubt that funding a college education takes work. Good financial planning is a must.
Here are some of the best ways to plan ahead for the eventual handling of student loans, including things like medical school student loan refinancing and the repayment of any personal loans you use to go to school.
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1. FAFSA, Grants, and Scholarships
First, think about the “big three” when funding your education.
Saving money on the front end will help you after you graduate. So look into federal financial assistance (FAFSA applications) and grants that can help with the cost of your education. Some people are amazed at the spectrum of grants that are out there!
You also want to exhaust all scholarship options. There are scholarships based on need, others based on affiliation, and a wide range of scholarships based on achievement. If something in your application shows you’ve outperformed others, explore that as a scholarship opportunity. Ask questions, and you may uncover an opportunity you did not know about.
2. Best Government and Private Loans
You can also look for loan opportunities like the Federal Perkins program to help with the interest rates on your student loans. Yes, you can pursue student loan refinancing later, but having a lower interest rate helps you upfront.
Also, be aware of the terms for these personal loans, such as payment options and deferral programs for after you graduate. Hardship deferrals are often things that students use after graduation for these types of personal loans, so knowing the rules early on gives you an advantage.
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3. Tackle Room and Board Costs
Here’s another way to keep your college bill down, in conjunction with other strategies like medical school student loan refinancing.
Some schools require students to pay for room and board on campus, especially in freshman year.
But more schools realize that this cost only pads the financial debt that students take on, so they are allowing off-campus living.
Getting modest housing and making your meals can remove a significant part of your college cost in many communities. Keeping your student loans smaller will save you enormous amounts of money down the road and lead to better fiscal management of your finances in general.
It’s all about managing your costs and making sure that you pay only the minimum you need to get the degree you want. The way that some people explain it is that debt becomes like pressure (the more debt, the more pressure) and that having more manageable debt means keeping owed balances lower.
4. Additional Income Streams
These other tips have more to do with the other side of the equation – earning money throughout your undergraduate career to handle your student loans better later on. Again, medical student loan refinancing and other factors come into play after you have graduated. That said, having income or revenue streams wards off potential financial problems that can develop later.
The idea is that by having income during your undergraduate experience, you’re accruing money that makes your eventual student loan repayments easier to make.
What does that look like? Increasingly, it doesn’t look like a person working part-time hours at a traditional type of wage job while they’re also studying for classes.
In today’s gig economy, there are numerous ways to make residual revenue. Maybe you have an online shop that’s making you money while you go to school. Maybe you have residuals and royalties from intellectual property that you created earlier.
You might sign up to run food for Uber Eats or some other type of similar outfit, which is a 1099 opportunity rather than a conventional job. It’s more flexible in terms of managing the work while you study. That can be valuable to students who want to generate income to work their way through school.
If none of those apply, maybe you are taking advantage of a work-study program or other means to blunt the impact of your housing costs or your college costs as you learn. That’s still an option at most schools.
Some other students are pursuing what’s called a ‘real estate’ strategy or track for student loans. It can work like this – you put some of your college money into real estate rental property, and then that income helps to balance out your college costs during and after you’re awarded the undergraduate degree.
Financial experts talk quite a bit about this – about having multiple revenue streams and how to manage debt according to your income. The above tips will help you adopt this kind of approach and make an enormous difference in your eventual repayment of personal loans you took out when it was time to seek an undergraduate degree.