Students are increasingly finding it expensive to get a college or university education with increased tuition fees and living expenses. Thinking about student financing can also be time consuming and requiring extensive research to get the best deal and finance package to suit the student’s needs. For those students who feel they can put off thinking about financing for “later,” they may just find they make decisions which can be costly for them.
Being a student can be a very memorable period of an individual’s life, but it can also be a time when the student is constantly thinking about student financing and mounting student loan debts. A student need not be broke all the time, and carefree student days also need not be relegated to history. Instead, with a bit of financial planning, a student can have a good time without worrying about incurring large student debt.
There are institutions that are ready to help a student look at his/her financial requirements and compile an appropriate finance plan. Students who are fortunate to have financial support from parents could also benefit from obtaining additional information. However, for the majority of students heading off to college and university, the issue of student finance and student loans becomes a looming reality.
Going to college or university may well be getting more expensive, but it is also becoming a requisite for many students. Many believe that getting a degree or vocational qualifications will enhance their prospects in a competitive and increasingly global job market. However, this desire to undertake studies comes at a price which increases each academic year.
According to Changeboard, more than 50% of all graduates in the USA will have student loans totaling $20,000 by the time they graduate. This statistic is reaffirmed by The National Centre for Education Statistics, who reports that two thirds of all College students have student loans after graduation with an average of $19,237. Additionally, a quarter of undergraduates borrow more than $25,000 and one tenth borrow more than $35,000
In the UK, the picture is reflective of the changing times in the UK education system. According to university research organisation Push, the average student graduating in July 2017 will find themselves with nearly £22,000 in debt. Many will be paying student loans well into their 30s and in some cases, even into their 40s.
Planning student financing can help to manage student debt better. Many students are now coming out of colleges and universities with increased levels of debt and are starting their working lives saddled with debt they incurred as students.
For many students, working part time and studying full time has become the norm, despite protestations from professors and other teaching staff. Teaching staff believe that holding down working commitments impacts the grades and overall learning experience for students.
Sources for Student Funding
The following highlights potential sources of funding for students
- Private student loans (account for nearly 25% of all student loans in the USA)
- Federal Student loans
- College scholarships
- Parents and friends
- Personal savings
- Working during studies
- Religious institutions
- Employer sponsorship for vocational and further degree qualifications
- Global institutions like the Soros Foundation, World Health Organisation, AMIDEAST, and the United Nations
Where scholarships are concerned, the student may find that s/he may need to submit and an essay or other written pieces of work. Each institution awarding a scholarship will have the necessary details and background and qualifying requirements.
The onus falls upon the student to get the best student financing information and deals. Therefore, planning and preparation is imperative, even though the student may be tempted to leave this to the last minute. The downside of leaving financial planning for studies to the last minute will mean decisions will be made in haste and may not serve the student in the long run.
Further information for students in the USA and UK can be found below:
- Student Federal Loans
- The Student Aid website also contains a checklist for prospective students and their parents
- Direct Consolidation Loans
Information on student financing in the UK can be found from the following sources:
- Student Loans Company
- Direct Gov
There are many financial companies offering cheap student loans, but as a word of caution, students pursuing this option may be best advised to read the small print before signing on the dotted line.
As the student population continues to explode globally, so will the number of financial and non financial, reputable and non reputable companies offering an array of financial services and products to the student market. A student who engages in financial planning, research and preparation will be the one who succeeds in the long run.