Student Loans: Knowledge Is PowerCollege expenses continue to soar and students are increasingly Turning to student loans to finance their education. But the mistakes you make as a young college student can affect your later life so always make sure you understand the terms you are agreeing to. Keep reading to learn other ways to avoid costly student loan mistakes.

When it comes to student loans, make sure you only borrow what you need. Consider the amount you need by taking a look at your total expenses. Factor in items like the cost of living, the cost of college, your financial aid awards, your family’s contributions, etc. You’re not required to accept a loan’s entire amount.

Know your grace periods so you don’t miss your first student loan payments after graduating college. Stafford loans typically give you six months before starting payments, but Perkins loans might go nine. Private loans are going to have repayment grace periods of their own choosing, so read the fine print for each particular loan.

Do not panic if a job loss or other emergency makes paying your student loan difficult. The lenders can postpone, and even modify, your payment arrangements if you prove hardship circumstances. Just know that the interest rates may rise.

Consider using your field of work as a means of having your loans forgiven. A number of nonprofit professions have the federal benefit of student loan forgiveness after a certain number of years served in the field. Many states also have more local programs. The pay might be less in these fields, but the freedom from student loan payments makes up for that in many cases.

Sometimes consolidating your loans is a good idea, and sometimes it isn’t When you consolidate your loans, you will only have to make one big payment a month instead of lots of little ones. You may also be able to lower your interest rate. Be certain that any loan you take out to consolidate your student loans offers you the same variety and flexibility in borrower benefits, deferments and payment options.

When deciding how much money to borrow in the form of student loans, try to determine the minimum amount needed to get by for the semesters at issue. Too many students make the mistake of borrowing the maximum amount possible and living the high life while in school. By avoiding this temptation, you will have to live frugally now, but will be much better off in the years to come when you are not repaying that money.

To get the most out of your student loans, pursue as many scholarship offers as possible in your subject area. The more debt-free money you have at your disposal, the less you have to take out and pay back. This means that you graduate with less of a burden financially.

Try to make your student loan payments on time. If you miss your payments, you can face harsh financial penalties. Some of these can be very high, especially if your lender is dealing with the loans through a collection agency. Keep in mind that bankruptcy won’t make your student loans go away.

To ensure that your student loan funds come to the correct account, make sure that you fill out all paperwork thoroughly and completely, giving all of your identifying information. That way the funds go to your account instead of ending up lost in administrative confusion. This can mean the difference between starting a semester on time and having to miss half a year.

The unsubsidized Stafford loan is a good option in student loans. Anyone with any level of income can get one. The interest is not paid for your during your education; however, you will have 6 months grace period after graduation before you have to start making payments. This kind of loan offers standard federal protections for borrowers. The fixed interest rate is not greater than 6.8%.

Only pay for the meals that you eat; get a meal plan to save money. This way you won’t get charged extra and will only pay one fee per meal.

Stretch your student loan money by minimizing your living expenses. Find a place to live that is close to campus and has good public transportation access. Walk and bike as much as possible to save money. Cook for yourself, purchase used textbooks and otherwise pinch pennies. When you look back on your college days, you will feel very resourceful.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to score a tax interest deduction for your student loans. This deduction is good for up to $2,500 of interest paid on your student loans. You can even claim this deduction if you do not submit a fully itemized tax return form. This is especially useful if your loans carry a higher interest rate.

Knowing all of the pitfalls of student loans is the best way to avoid them. Don’t be afraid to ask a what all of the terms and conditions are and how they will affect your finances in the future. So keep the advice from above in mind and always borrow wisely.