With the average student loan debt nearing $30,000, it is more important than ever that students understand what it means to borrow and learn how to pay loans back on time. NerdScholar knows that student loans can be confusing, so we asked Suzanne Sparrow, the director of scholarships and financial aid at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, to share her tips and insights.
Have more questions about student loans? Leave them in the comments below and a Nerd will be sure to answer!
Q: What is the most common question you receive about student loans?
A: How much in loans can I borrow as an undergraduate student?
Q: When students receive their financial aid package from a school, what is the first thing they should do?
A: It is extremely important that the student read and understand the “Terms and Conditions” of the awards received. Every school should provide this information with the financial aid award letter.
Q: What would you say is the biggest misconception about student loans?
A: Students forget that loans are self-help and must be repaid. Although loans are an easy way to satisfy a student’s current bill, they need to understand that this is money that must be repaid after graduation.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to all students with loans, what would it be?
A: It is imperative to consistently monitor your student loans so that you are prepared when it comes time to repay them.
Q: How can students on your campus get help with their student loans?
A: A student can check their student loan history on the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). The website is www.NSLDS.ed.gov. The federal government also provides counseling for loans on the website StudentLoans.gov. Of course, students are always welcome to come to our office for personal guidance as well.
Q: Any other tips for helping students manage their loans?
A: It is important for students to minimize how much they borrow each year if possible. Working on campus to help with expenses or part-time jobs in the summer can lessen the amount the student needs to borrow. It is also important for students to adhere to deadlines and apply for financial aid each year by completing the FAFSA to maximize their eligibility for need-based assistance.
Q: Who is your favorite nerd?
A: Sheldon Cooper from “The Big Bang Theory.”