Understanding your student loans

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With the cost of a college education on the rise, many college students find it necessary to take on student loans to get a degree. Repaying these loans can be a large task, but there are a number of ways to manage them during college that will benefit you when it comes time to begin paying them off.

First off, evaluate your specific loans. Find out how much you owe and when you will need to start making payments. This may seem intimidating, but this clear understanding early on will help you determine what steps you should take to reduce your debt moving forward.

While looking at your loans, you should take the time to learn how they work. Loan officers and financial aid advisors are great resources; they can provide you information that will help inform your decisions. Be sure to find out what your interest rates are, if your loans are subsidized or unsubsidized and what sort of repayment plans are available for you — knowing these things from the get-go will help you plan and prevent any surprises.

You will also find that paying off part of your loans while still in school can help reduce future debt. By contributing small amounts each month, you will get into the habit of making regular loan payments, lower the total amount owed and save on interest in the long run. The benefits of getting involved with your loans now are far greater than the disadvantages, and they will enable you to pay less money over a shorter period.

The biggest thing to keep in mind when it comes to student loans is that with proper financial planning and budgeting, they can be paid off. The more you know about your loans, the easier it is to pay them off sooner and transition into life after college with greater success and fewer headaches.