Let's recap what we've learned about student loans:
- How to pay for college is as complicated and as important a decision as which college to choose, what to major in and whether to live on or off campus.
- Only borrow what you can afford to pay back after graduation based on income estimates in your career field.
- Filling out a FAFSA form is crucial to securing student aid.
- Exhaust federal funding options before applying for private loans.
- Most private loans have variable interest rates, and initial rates vary based on yours or your cosigner's credit rating.
- The standard federal loan repayment program lasts 10 years.
- Public service employees and others with low incomes have additional options for repayment based on annual income.
- Federal loan programs offer options for postponing payment during a financial hardship situation.
- Federal consolidation can extend your loans up to 30 years.
- Consolidating private loans is the best way to secure a fixed interest rate on your private student loans.
- Managing your student debt borrowing based on what you can afford to repay is the best way to get an education and avoid financial trouble down the road.