Student loan debt is now at an all-time high and is crippling many students, including young adults who may not understand the dangers of getting into student loan debt. In light of this, young people who are heading off to college should consider all their options before borrowing money. Here are five facts that incoming college students need to know about student loans.
Student loan debt is in the trillions now, Although there has been some talk about finding ways to reduce the costs of college – New York State just made tuition free, for example – college is still very expensive for most students right now. According to Student Loan Hero, students graduate now with more than $37,000 in debt on average. Many find that this amount of debt makes it difficult to make major purchases like homes after graduation.
Teens who want to avoid becoming one of the statistics associated with student debt should look at ways to get free money for college. Some will qualify for Pell Grants, though there are other options. If possible, students should spend their junior and senior years of high school looking for and applying for scholarships.
If teens study a subject like computer science, which gets them a job at a big tech company, their educations are an investment. This is true even if they went into debt to get the degree. For example, a person who earns a computer science degree that costs them $30,000 will on average make $75,000 a year, according to Payscale.com. If this graduate works about 30 years, that degree will have made them more than $2 million over the course of their lifetimes. That’s a good investment. It’s only when students take out a bunch of loans for a degree that has no return that they get into trouble.
For people who got numerous student loans while they were in their teens, there is some help. Some borrowers qualify for reduced payments under the current repayment rules. These payments can be as low as $15 or $20 a month. However, there is a drawback for these. It can take up to 25 years to pay off the loans, if the borrower didn’t get a public service repayment plan. (The public service repayment plan allows the borrower to pay in his/ her loans for 10 years, while working for a non-profit or in a government job. The rest of this borrowers loans are discharged after 10 years or 120 payments.)
Most people are under the impression that it is impossible to get rid of student loans via bankruptcy. This isn’t entirely true, though it is very, very difficult. According to Nolo, borrowers who want to try to release their student loan debt through bankruptcy must pass the Brunner test, which assumes:
(1) The borrower can’t maintain a “minimal” standard of living if the loans must be repaid.
(2) There is an assumption that the borrower’s financial status will never change.
(3) The borrower has attempted in good faith to pay off the loans.
Student loan borrowers should avoid student loan debt if they can. According to many experts, the student loan bubble is about to burst, which will be financially devastating to some borrowers for many years to come. In light of that, students should look at other options when it comes to financing their educations.