For many Americans, the road to bankruptcy often begins with the first day they enroll in college. Student loan debt has become such a common fixture in our country's higher educational institutions that up to 80 percent of college students depend on student loans to finance their college education.
Below are a few tips on how college students can use student loans responsibly and protect their future finances:
- Get realistic about how your college education will pay off. Do your research and find out how much you can realistically expect to earn once you graduate from college. Let that starting salary be a guide to how much you should borrow in student loans.
- When you graduate from college, you student loans should not be more than you starting salary. For example, if you can realistically expect to earn $30,000 a year after graduating then you should graduate with no more than $30,000 of debt.
- Only borrow the absolute minimum amount of student loans that you need for your graduation. Remember, student loan money is not free money and must be eventually repaid with interest. So many adults spend years trying to repay student loans and eventually file bankruptcy because they cannot afford their student loans and their other adult responsibilities. That takes us to our last point...
- Make sure you have an accurate and realistic expectation of how long it will take to repay your student loans. Also consider how your student loans could impact your ability to take on other debt such as a mortgage loan to buy a house or a car loan.