Thank you Ed Carter again for a wonderful post addressing many ways to manage one’s money, applicable to all debt but especially targeted to those going to school.
Ed has been a regular contributor to this blog and receives no compensation for his time of writing wonderful applicable pieces. He is also open to suggestions on anything financial and dealing with mental illness.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any ideas.
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How to Keep Long-Term Debt Manageable When Going to College
If you are recovering from or living with a mental health disability, how you shape your everyday life is critical. And that includes your career. Perhaps you’re already in a job that brings you fulfillment and purpose. But if not, consider evaluating your career and pursuing something more.
Unless you already have the knowledge, skills, and credentials necessary to excel in your chosen field, going back to school might be a strong step toward laying the foundation necessary. It’s no secret that college can be expensive and saddle you with debt that follows you around for many years after graduation. However, following these tips from MyPersonalRecoveryfromSchizophrenia.com can go a long way in helping you minimize long-term debt as you pursue a degree:
Opt for online.
If possible, take online classes. They are often more affordable than in-person programs, and they typically offer a more flexible schedule. You can complete your degree at your own pace which means that you can more easily fit other obligations into your life such as work, family, and downtime.
For instance, if you pursue a bachelor of science and education, it can open doors for you to teach preschoolers and elementary-aged kids, and you can still live a fulfilled life along the way.
Submit a FAFSA.
This is a must. The Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be easily accessed at studentaid.gov. By completing and submitting this application, you can quickly find out which grants, student loans, and work-study programs you qualify for.
Your main focus should be on grants, as they won’t require you to pay any money back. As far as loans are concerned, you will likely receive a more favorable interest rate through federal loans as opposed to private loans, and they often come with more flexible payment terms as well. Work-study programs will give you the opportunity to work off some of your tuition costs.
Apply for a lot of scholarships.
Similar to grants, scholarships are essentially free money for students. And you can apply to as many as you want. Research the variety of scholarships instituted by universities, businesses, organizations, and individuals throughout the country. The more scholarships you apply for, the more money you will get; it is that simple. If you really want to improve your chances of being rewarded, treat scholarship applications like a part-time job.
Assess each loan.
Maybe you will get all the grants and scholarships necessary to pay for all of your college expenses. But you will most likely need to take on one or more loans. Pay close attention to the terms of each loan that you consider. This means looking at all the interest rates, APR, repayment options, and duration of the loans. If you need to pursue a loan from the private sector (e.g., credit unions, banks, other lenders), compare the terms to choose the most favorable ones possible.
Just because you qualify for a certain maximum loan amount doesn’t mean you should accept it. Go through your budget and evaluate your goals to determine how much money you will actually need to get through college and earn your degree. Don’t borrow any more than you need.
One way that you can minimize the amount you will need to borrow is to put yourself in a more stable financial situation. For example, consider getting a part-time job if you don’t already have one so that you can earn income to offset some of the costs of living and school, and live as frugally as you can while you’re taking classes.
If you feel like it is time to improve your career prospects, pursuing a degree in your desired field could be a strong step in the right direction. Remember to thoroughly research schools before deciding where to go, and go for an online degree if possible. Also, be sure to file a FAFSA, apply for as many scholarships as you can, and evaluate each loan you consider. Lastly, strengthen your financial standing, and only borrow the money you need so that you can put yourself in a better long-term financial situation.
If you found this article helpful, you can read more content on mypersonalrecoveryfromschizophrenia.com!