Financially Savvy

Students must be responsible when financing their education with loans.

This week The Temple News reported in [For-profit colleges influence rising loan default rates for graduates, p. 3] that the default rate for student loans is at its highest level in 12 years, at 8.8 percent. However, Temple’s default rate remains relatively low at 3.3 percent recorded in 2009. While this may cause many students to worry, students must realize that there are ways to avoid loan default pitfalls. No one likes the idea of taking out loans year after year, but the reality is that some may need loans to supplement educational needs. Don’t be discouraged by the burden of student loan debt.

The responsibility of financing college requires one to become financially savvy almost immediately. Tuition increases almost regularly on a yearly basis. Temple reported that financial aid increased by $6.8 million to offset tuition increases, but many students still found themselves taking out private loans. The Temple News suggests that students are aggressive when it comes to obtaining financial aid. Research the many different types of educational grants available. Apply to scholarships specific to areas of study. It is important to research alternative financial sources, besides relying on loans. Don’t take out loans blindly, meaning, read over all of the fine print and understand the nature of the language outlined in the promissory notes that are being set. If something isn’t clear, ask questions until it is.

Instead of worrying about accumulating debt, become proactive about managing debt. Seek resources at the Student Financial Services office. As an undergraduate student, have some sort of blueprint that realistically outlines how much will have to be repaid and when. This way, students can be better prepared on what to expect come graduation.

As always, stay proactive about the changes being made to tuition. As a collective student body we can work together to ensure that tuition, and the ways we finance education, is affordable and transparent.

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