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College Affordability and Preparedness

A FAQ for Those Looking to Finance Their Higher Education


Paul. D. Golden

Spokesman, National Endowment for Financial Education

Why is higher education an investment worth making, at any stage of life?

For many students the the answer is simple: higher education helps secure better-paying careers and can open doors in life that might otherwise be closed. Oftentimes, the question isn’t about the benefits of a higher education, it’s how to make it a feasible and smart option that works with your financial lifestyle.

How can students be strategic when making financial decisions for college?

For many, student loans are necessary to pursue a degree. Students going through the process of figuring out how to finance their college experience should be aware of the full array of options available and the long-term costs of those options. This includes understanding the differences between private and federal student loans, interest rates and repayment options, among other factors.

Why is it important to be strategic?

Student loans, when applied prudentially, can make possible a postsecondary education degree, and help expedite a person’s climb up the socioeconomic ladder.

Conversely, taking on too much and too expensive debt can significantly impact a graduate’s success in paying back loans. We know that high levels of student debt can have a long-lasting impact on the financial fragility of both students and families, and delay progress in other areas of life. That is why financial stability and financial strategizing go hand-in-hand.

What is an easy way for a full time student to save money/cut costs?

At the most basic level, we recommend students save where they can and avoid using student loans for costs that are outside the scope of getting an education.

Credit cards can become a problem as well, when used to spend on things like spring break travel and entertainment. So, unless you have steady income, and the ability to payoff card balances each month, you should stay away from these instruments.

Overall, we want students and their families to better understand their college financing options, and if they do have to take out loans, they turn to a product that is appropriate for them.

Staff, [email protected]

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