MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — It’s not uncommon today for new college grads to be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt before they get their first job. As a matter of fact, Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers. But here are the details on how to ease the burden for college freshmen.
All Luis Gonzalez has ever wanted to do is to go to college.
“My parents didn’t go to college, I’m a first generation college student, it was super important for me to go ahead and make that step.” Gonzalez told Ivanhoe.
But taking that step may depend on bank balances, not grade point averages.
John Haller, Vice President of Enrollment Management at the University of Miami stated, “Families should know that they should never not consider a school or an institution because of cost.”
In 2016 the average graduate left college with $37,000 in student loan debt. Haller says doing your homework can help financially as well as academically.
“Make sure you understand what the college offers in terms of merit scholarships or need-based financial aid.” Haller added.
Just like buying a car, if you’re taking out student loans, make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
Haller continued, “What are the repayment obligations, what’s the timeline, what is the interest rate on those?”
How much should you borrow? Experts say follow these steps: first, estimate your full cost of college. That includes tuition, living expenses, room and board. Then, take only what you need. Research your earning potential. The total amount you owe should be less than your starting salary after graduation. And think long term. It’s hard to think about future bills now but critical in knowing how much you should borrow.
Luis sticks to the budget he set up, no matter what.
“We do make sacrifices but at the end of the day it’s worth it.” Gonzalez said.
That college diploma is a life-changer, but it doesn’t have to be a bank breaker, if you do your homework.
Another tip, fill out and submit all of your financial documents early. Students can find repayment calculators online. For more information log onto www.finaid.org.
Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor; Gabriella Battistiol, News Assistant.