Most students hear the myths about student loans before even attending college. Others simply don’t understand whether a student loan is right for them. This article will debunk some of the major myths surrounding student loans and help students choose the path that’s right for them.
If you don’t have the family finances, you can’t attend college.
Although universities in the US can be very expensive, they are not only for the rich. There are several scholarships you can apply for at every college and university. You can also apply for a student loan to support your study finances. The most important thing to focus on is grades and personal development. Think about getting excellent test scores and building your extra-curricular or voluntary experience to make your application stand out.
Student loans negatively affect your credit score.
Okay, if you don’t make your loan repayments then this is true. But managing a student loan well can be a great way to boost your credit score. By making regular repayments, you’re positively impacting your credit. This means it can make it easier to take out a credit card or another loan in the future.
You will forever be in debt.
You will be repaying a lot of money, probably over a long time. However, graduates are earning an average of $17,500 a year more than non-graduates, making the cost of college worth-while. No one wants to think about paying back a debt, but following this system could help you become more employable and increase your income in the long-run.
Interest on student loan repayment never changes.
Despite signing a contract when you took out a student loan, the amount of interest charged can still vary throughout the repayment. Be careful when applying for a loan that you understand all the small print. This includes how and when to repay the loan, as well as the interest due. The amount of interest owed can vary year to year, so check in the initial terms what you’re agreeing to. Make sure you have an idea of how much you’ll be repaying once you graduate to prepare for this.
Forget your loan until you graduate.
Your loan shouldn’t be the first thing you’re thinking about when you wake up. However, it’s important to acknowledge how you’re getting your money and use it wisely. Interest is mounting from the minute you take out your loan. So, unfortunately, you’re building up debt the whole time you’re studying. If you have the ability, you can start repaying your loan while still studying. If you don’t have enough to do this, consider starting a savings account to put aside whatever money you do have for when you gradate. This will help alleviate the pressure of repayment.
Save Money as an International Student
It’s never too early or too late to think ways to save money as an international student. Whether you’re just applying for colleges, in your second year or close to graduation, it’s always good to have a loan repayment plan. It’s something many of us take for granted, something you don’t have to think about until after university. However, planning ahead makes for better financials once you have to start paying back the debt.
Avoid Unnecessary Spending
Sure, it’s tempting to spend all the money as it comes in. I mean, that’s what it’s there for, right? But think ahead, that money can help you out in an emergency, or be saved for you to use once you graduate.
That’s not to say don’t spend your loan on college essentials like books and living costs. And make sure you enjoy your time in college; socialise, take part in extra-curricular activity. But try to avoid spending your loan frivolously where possible.
A couple of great ways to do this is to look for student discounts when shopping and eating out, and buy second hand – books, sports equipment, home decor etc. Why spend a fortune on new books when students from the previous year are earning some extra cash by selling their one-year-old copies?
Get a Savings Account
Different loans come with different conditions and some may require a certain type of bank account to pay into. However, where possible, look for the bank account with the best interest rates and with no withdrawal restrictions. If you’re think about saving some of your student loan each month, the interest you earn in a good savings account can balance out the interest you’ll eventually owe on your loan repayment. It’s a great way to earn extra money by really doing nothing. Check out some of the best options here.
As much as you may want to ignore your loan, keeping on top of it will prepare you for repayments once you finish university. Check out the National Student Loan Data System to see how much you owe and learn about repayment options early on.
Get a Part-time Job
Once you’ve got into the swing of college life, look at your schedule and see what free time you have to earn some extra cash. A part time job will help build your resume as well as giving you some extra money to save or spend on leisure activities while saving your loan.
With high university costs, it’s common for students to work while studying. Have a look at jobs available on campus and in the local area. Just make sure, if you’re an international student, that your visa conditions allow for part-time work. Alternatively, consider remote working opportunities from around the world through companies such as FlexJobs. Remote work gives you the opportunity to work from home and often helps you avoid issues with your visa status. Just remember to declare taxes on your earnings in your home country.
Your New Best Friend – Tax-deductibles
If you decide to work in the US once you graduate, it’s important to learn all about tax deductibles. This might sound dull but it can actually save you thousands of dollars! If you’re paying off a student loan, you might be eligible for an interest deduction on your federal taxes. This is based on the interest paid on your student loan.
If you plan ahead, start saving early and take time to learn about the student loan terms and repayment options, you’ll be financially prepared once you graduate. So, don’t let the debt hang over your head, there are many simple ways to save money as an international student. Prepare early to fully enjoy the college experience!
If you need financial support to study abroad it’s important to find the right scholarship for you. There are several different scholarships to which you can apply, but as you search through the various options you’ll realize each has different requirements. Below are just a few categories that scholarships often put requirements and limitations around.
Many institutions and organizations offer scholarships based on the course you’re studying. It is common for fields that require greater numbers of graduate workers to incentivize study in that subject area. For example, some states or institutions may be lacking in qualified specialist nurses or criminal justice and finance managers, therefore providing grant opportunities such as the Global Nursing Research Grant.
Scholarships in specialist fields encourage students to make their studies more tailored to their future career by alleviating financial pressure. Therefore, graduates studying more general subjects, such as literature or history, may have a better chance of finding a scholarship based on different criteria.
Institution Specific Scholarships
Each institution has its own scholarship(s). Many universities provide financial support to students based on family income or academic success and potential. The criteria for these types of scholarships is usually to show you are a candidate of distinction – to have great grades, experience in an internship or volunteering program, to have extra-curricular hobbies and to show the institution what you can bring to the department by studying there. As well as university-wide grants, some departments offer scholarships only available to students within that specific department, reducing the competition.
Check out the 2017 rankings to see which institutions offered the most financial aid to their students last year.
If you have a specific talent or extra-curricular interest you can apply for a talent-based scholarship. Many universities and companies offer grants to students with extraordinary skills in sports, the arts, and other areas outside of major work. You will be expected to prove your talent and be part of the sports team or music department, as well as maintaining excellent grades, to be eligible for this type of scholarship.
Companies, particularly big multinationals and law firms, often offer scholarships for students who intend to work in the company after they graduate, or as an intern. This is particularly common for MBA students (Master of Business Administration).
Consider internships with big companies near the institution you are going to attend to get your foot in the door. Also reach out and contact the department you are interested in for your future career to see if they have any grant opportunities. The worst they can do is say no, at best they may offer you a grant, internship or part-time job.
International Student Scholarships
Maybe surprisingly, some grants are provided for international students to gain valuable life experience by studying abroad. That’s right, you could be paid simply for attending an institution in the US as a foreign student. Employers recognize that traveling out of your comfort zone, learning to study in more than one language, and engaging both academically and culturally, are great qualities in employees.
Visit the Study Abroad Scholarship search engine for a comprehensive list of scholarship opportunities for international students.
November 17th, 2017 by Felicity Bradstock
For a student on a budget there’s nothing better than sales shopping. Black Friday is here, Cyber Monday will follow shortly and Christmas is just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts!
Battling the crowds in-store might sound like a nightmare but as a student you likely have to budget and there are many fantastic online deals for you to snap up over the next couple of weeks. So, think about what you want and follow our game plan for this Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Where to shop?
When is Amazon ever a bad idea? The great thing about Amazon is that everything’s in one place. Also, there’s free delivery if you spend over $25! Black Friday deals last for the whole week and span across all departments.
If you’re a first-time Amazon Prime (Amazon’s premium service) user you can sign up for the free or discounted trial and get free delivery. With Prime you can also access their video, music and kindle services for free. Just make sure you cancel at the end of your free trial so you don’t get charged! Amazon makes it easy to cancel with an option through your Prime account that allows you to set up an automatic cancellation on the last day of your trial from the very first day.
n.b. It’s might be worth keeping your Prime membership if you regularly buy College books from Amazon. Think about saving further by using all the Prime services and cancelling parallel memberships such as Netflix and Spotify.
Uniqlo is a great store for affordable winter-wear. With much of their heattech (thermal) clothes and winter jackets on sale this is a great place to buy all of you last minute winter warmers. Not only do you get discounts online from 17th – 22nd November 2017 but if you’re a first-time buyer they also offer a $10 discount (with a minimum spend). To save money you can collect in-store if you leave nearby, otherwise shipping is generally priced at $5.
Maybe the king of Black Friday, Walmart offers in-store, online and in app offers across all departments. Whether you want to splash out on a TV or buy a stocking filler, there’s an option for everyone. To check out the best deals from your phone, Walmart has released a handy app (available on iOS and Android).
Finally, we come to BestBuy. Another tech-heavy option but with some excellent promotions for cyber Monday. There’s a huge variety here, from quirky gadgets and cheaper games to high-end consoles. This is a great shop for Christmas gifts, or something for you!
Think about using a comparison app such as Honey or ShopSavvy. These kinds of apps provide information about the best online sales and often offer additional discounts. Honey is currently the market leader, although reviews are mixed to make sure you check the terms and conditions of any discounts you use. Shop Savvy gives you price and product comparisons for you to make your own decision on where to shop.
For the best technology deals this year check out the Wired article for reviews and price comparisons. Wired is a great source to use when searching for new technology, with reliable guidance and reviews.
- Remember to browse online before committing to a purchase during these sales events. As good as one promotion may look, there could be a similar deal elsewhere.
- Always shop at reputable stores. If you’re unsure about the credibility of a website, look for online reviews before entering your personal details.
- Don’t get carried away! Think about what you’re looking for and your budget before you start shopping. Remember who you have to buy gifts for before squandering all your cash elsewhere!
Have a great Holiday weekend!