How college student loans work: The definitive guide to borrowing responsibly, to minimize your student loan debt

The average college graduate comes away with a degree–and $29,000 of student loan debt, requiring an average monthly loan payment of $393. That ends up being a really high percentage of new graduates’ salaries, so perhaps it’s no surprise that, in 2018, 20% of student borrowers were behind with their payments. The problem is: once you’re behind, it can be even easier to get more behind. 

We’re here to help you figure out how to not let that happen to you. How do student loans work? How do you know how much you can afford to borrow? How do you choose the right (cheapest, most flexible) loan? And how do you best manage the costs? 

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Not just FAFSA: Get your full financial aid package by filling out your state grants application

About one-third of college-bound high school seniors don’t fill out the FAFSA–and therefore miss out on an average of $14,000 per year in financial aid. Even more students don’t fill out their state financial aid forms–despite states granting students an average of $1000 in additional financial aid. Maybe it’s because high school students often don’t realize there’s an extra step beyond the FAFSA. That’s why we’re here to explain how the state financial aid process works.

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Making Sense of Your Financial Aid Award Letter: What do the numbers mean?

Receiving your financial aid award letter can be an exciting time when you’re prepping for college. You can see how much financial aid you’re eligible to receive per college you’re accepted to. But it can also be confusing – what do the numbers mean? What is the financial aid award letter, and do you need to act on it? Which college has offered you a better “deal?” We’re breaking all of this down for you.

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How to write a financial aid appeal letter to request more college financial aid (with a letter template!)

You’ve received your college acceptance letters –but the financial aid award offered to you just isn’t enough. Maybe that’s because your top-choice school has offered you less aid than other schools, or because your financial circumstances have recently changed. Don’t worry – your aid offer is not necessarily final. You can write a financial aid appeal letter to request a revised financial aid package. Here’s how.

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The Only College Financial Aid Guide You’ll Ever Need

Figuring out how to pay for college is often the most difficult part of the application process. Just as the need for a college education is rising, the cost of tuition is skyrocketing. Between 2003 and 2013 alone, the cost of tuition rose by 79% above inflation. Since 1982, the cost has increased by a total of 500%. As a result, about 40% of soon-to-be college students end up turning down their first-choice school and going for a cheaper option

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The 7 Trickiest FAFSA Questions & How to Approach Them

Every year, college students all over the country complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. The FAFSA determines student eligibility for federal loans, grants, and work-study as well as financial aid at their colleges and universities of choice.

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How To Find and Apply For Scholarships: A Step-by-Step Guide

With the cost of colleges and universities rising each year, it might feel like the price of furthering your education is getting out of control. In fact, between 1988 and 2017, the cost of attending a public university increased by 213% and the cost of a private one by 129%.

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The CSS Profile vs. the FAFSA & EFC – What’s the difference?

You’re ready to start planning in paying college tuition. But why are there two financial aid forms: the FAFSA and the CSS Profile? How do you prioritize which to fill out? What’s the process? We’re breaking down the differences between the FAFSA and the CSS Profile, from applications to deadlines, and everything in between.

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The Ultimate Guide to Completing the CSS Profile

When it comes to applying for financial aid, most schools and the federal government use the FAFSA to figure out their award packages. But some schools, around 250 to be more exact, use the CSS Profile, which was created by the College Board and looks at student aid from a different perspective. If you’re applying to one of those schools, you’ll need to know how to approach the questions to get as much financial aid as possible.

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Ready to find scholarships that are a match for you?