Most students enter college when they are around 18 years of age. They’ve only just reached the age where they can legally negotiate contracts, yet one of the most complex financial processes they’ll ever go through is the Financial Aid process for school. Second only to mortgages, but those usually come much later. It is critical to ensure that students are Using common sense with Financial Aid when they are applying for or accepting offers.
My personal opinion is that high schools should be offering a one semester class or at least seminars on the subject. Ideally students have parents to help them through the maze, but that’s not the case for all students. Student loans are huge commitments that never go away. While they may be the only means for many students to get the educations they need, they must understand exactly how they work, how they are repaid, and what the long term financial implications are. In today’s job market where many graduates are having trouble finding work, the stress compounds exponentially when the time comes to start repayment and they don’t have the income they expected. It is important for them to know what their options are BEFORE they take out the loans. I know no one ever explained this to me. I applied, the school got the money, and when it was time to repay, it was a shocking jolt at the monthly repayment amount.
My advice is to use common sense when applying for these loans. Don’t borrow more than what you need, and educate yourself BEFORE you accept the money. Using Common Sense with Financial Aid can save you stress and money down the road.