Students and their parents can borrow money from the government to pay for college. Often times, students and parents don’t truly understand that those loans need to be repaid in full, plus interest, after graduation. The average student loan interest rate is between 4.45 % and 7%.
Now you might ask, isn’t the loan money dispersed to the school directly? Yes; but if you accept the full amount of the approved loan and it exceeds the cost of your school fees, the overage will be returned to you. Schools call this a student loan refund. Why? I’m not sure. This is still borrowed money and should be paid back as soon as possible. Repayment options are presented at the time of signing the promissory note (promise to pay back), so make sure you take your time in reviewing those options.
If possible, I would recommend paying down your interest while you’re in school to avoid a large amount in accrued interest, post-graduation.
Grants are a form of financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid (unless you withdraw from school and owe a refund). You are granted these funds based on expressed need, on your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application. When these funds are disbursed to your school, they first applied to your current semester bill and then to any other loans you might have.
A work program through which you can earn money from approved employment to pay for college. Usually on -campus.
Just as with any other major decisions, do your research before committing. I have included some links below on applying for financial aid (federal student loans, grants, and work-study) and scholarships.
As an additional resource, I’ve included a link to the Loan-Grant fact sheets provided by Federal Student Aid.