Minimizing the implications of a student loan
By: Rangadevi Chakraborty
Most students are born with the option of living without debt, yet somehow, we end up in situations that seem to force us into taking out student loans. No matter what causes us to take them out, we are stuck with thousands of dollars of outstanding loans.
The fact that some do not require us to start paying them back until the future distances us from the reality of these gigantic, some- times unaffordable loans.
Although required entrance counseling is supposed to provide the necessary skills to manage loans, we students generally find the claws of repayment plans wrapped around our necks before we are ready.
Graduating becomes a headache when avoiding default eclipses the dream career we have spent many years studying for. During our time here at GPC, and even after trans- ferring, there are various options to make debt manageable. Among these are grants, debt forgiveness programs and student jobs.
The easiest way to avoid having excessive loans is scouring websites and other resources for scholarships and grants.
Mohammad Tehrani, a biology major on the Dunwoody campus, said, “I’m going to write essays for specific grants that hopefully will cover most of my tuition.”
Dual enrollment student Malik Watkins agrees with him, saying, “Currently I’m not in debt because of the program I’m in. I don’t want to take out a loan, so I’ll try to work towards grants and scholarships, whatever helps.”
Some grants, such as the Pell Grant, are available to almost ev- eryone while others, like HOPE, have academic achievement requirements.
The first step in applying for any scholarship is to first speak with the financial advisor at your campus.
Although they require specific academic or social requirements, there are certain debt forgiveness programs in effect. Among these are: Total and Permanent Disability Discharge, Death Discharge, False Certification of Student Eligibility or Unauthorized Payment Discharge, Teacher Loan Forgiveness, Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Perkins Loan Cancella- tion and Discharge.
It is actually quite difficult to qualify for these programs and they’re granted sparingly, usually only after you have already paid your installments for a number of years.
The Obama Student Loan Forgiveness Plan entails that you pay only 10 percent of your income while repaying your debt, and after 20 years the entire remaining amount will be forgiven.
Student jobs are also beneficial in many ways. Some of which include improved discipline, added experience and networking relationships at work and school.
Clarkston campus computer science major Matt Holloway admits that he has a student loan but also says, “I’m actually working full time to keep up with the interest, and hopefully within two to four years after graduating I’ll be debt- free!”
Among other career platforms, Snagajob offers students easy access to internships and appropriate jobs with flexible employers.
Some students enroll in too many classes to work a job on the side.
However, tutoring your peers or high school students is always an option.Tutoring assists in retaining knowledge of the subject, earning higher grades, which may help get a scholarship, and earning money for valuable efforts.
There are so many options out there to minimize the implications of a student loan on our personal lives; we must take action.