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What you need to know about student loans for college

The fall semester of college is just around the corner and applying for student loans may be on your to-do list. But in the flurry of filing paperwork are you thinking about how the student loan repayment will affect you in the future? Probably not.

It's important to read the fine print when filing for student loans. (Credit: Collegescholarships.org)

It’s important to read the fine print when filing for student loans. (Credit: Collegescholarships.org)

By the time you graduate your student loan balance may be pretty large. It’s going to take a student loan calculator to help you figure out what you can afford to pay and how long to pay off the loan. Here are a few things you need to know about student loans and how it affects your life. Read more

Federal Stafford Loan interest rate increase: Who it affects

President Barack Obama walks to stage to discu...

President Barack Obama walks to stage to discuss student loans in the Diplomatic Reception Room.

This week there was some bad news for college students hoping to get a subsidized federal student loan, called a Stafford Loan, to help pay for college. Congress has allowed the interest rate for subsidized loans to double from 3.4% to 6.8%, which is the current rate for unsubsidized loans. The new rate starts July 1, 2013 and affects students who are newly applying for the loan or are renewing their loan after July 1. According to CNNMoney, about one-third of college students who need federal financial aid get a Stafford Loan. Read more

College student debt on the rise: Tips on how to prevent disaster

Not to further terrify those of us already dreading the college debt that’s waiting to greet us upon graduation, but according to a study released this week, college student debt is on the rise and the job market for recent grads is getting worse — not better — even as the economy improves. Say what?! Yes, that seems to be the cold-hearted reality. Rather than hide in a hole somewhere, now is the time to grab hold of the reins and take control of that student debt. While some of us excel at the avoidance route, taking measured steps to pay off that debt could make all the difference. Read on for these tips to prevent disaster. Read more

Rising cost of college: How to overcome student loans and income inequality

Student loans

Day 3 of the protest Occupy Wall Street in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of us were more worried about getting into our college of choice than we were about paying for that education. But the cost of college has risen dramatically in recent years. According to the National Center of Education Statistics, between 2000-01 and 2010-11, prices at public institutions rose 42 percent. As a result, of the 20 million Americans that attend college, 60 percent borrow money to pay for it. But without a college degree, people earn much less, leading to greater income inequality. So, what’s the answer?

Student loans

For many, student loans have become the go-to solution. As the cost of college has risen, so has the amount of student loan debt. According to the American Student Assistance (ASA) organization, in Student Loan Debt Statistics, “There is roughly somewhere between $902 billion and $1 trillion in total outstanding student loan debt in the United States today.” The average balance owed is just over $24,000. Read more

Federal student loan repayment plans: Get in the know with what you’ll owe!

Paying off student loansWhether you’re an entering freshman or a first-year grad student, being in the know with what your federal student loan debt looks like is a good way to stay ahead of the game for when the time comes to begin repayment. Did you know you have several different options for repayment? You might even be eligible for loan forgiveness. So, what exactly are your options, you ask? Well, read on for more info. And then visit your school’s financial aid office for ways to be proactive before you accept your diploma. Read more

Poll: Stafford loan interest rate increase, students consider cheaper education alternatives

Unless Congress acts quickly to stop it from doubling, the federal subsidized Stafford loan interest rate is scheduled to revert back to 6.8 percent on July 1 from the current 3.4 percent, affecting millions of students across America.

Effects on college students

In an effort to better understand how current students would react to this change, we at CengageBrain.com, the premier destination for purchasing discount college textbooks and part of Cengage Learning, polled 500 college students on everything from the drastic actions they would take if rates increase, to how it might affect their voting in upcoming elections. Shockingly, 23 percent of the students we polled said that they would consider dropping out of their school if rates doubled, and 66 percent of students that were planning on getting an advanced degree said they would be less able to pursue graduate school. And, the effects don’t stop there.

Check out our infographic for the complete results on how increased student loan rates would impact students’ education.

Students Weigh in on Student Loans Debate

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Student loan debit cards: Are they really worth the reward for college graduates?

As your college graduation date draws ever nearer, you may be trying to figure out how to make payments on your student loans. You may have heard of online checking accounts that offer a rewards program, but what if you learned it could even help you pay off your student loan debt quicker? Before you jump into signing up, there are a few things you should know about these student loan debit cards. Read more

Student loan debt crisis: What does it mean to college students?

Paying off student loansIf you’re still in school, chances are you haven’t given much thought about how much student loan debt you’re carrying. If you’re nearing the end of your program though, you’ve probably had nightmares about how you’ll make payments while trying to make ends meet. It’s much less scary if you know what you’re getting yourself into. Here’s a brief rundown of what having student debt as a college grad means to you, and how a student loan forgiveness act may be on the way to provide relief. Read more