You have several options with student loans and should explore all of them so that you can make an informed decision about what’s best for you…
*You can choose to accept only Student Grants and Federal work study. This is money that you won’t have to pay back. If you can supplement your income through another job or perhaps financial support from your parents (an allowance?)… then you can focus on your studies and when you graduate, you won’t have any debt.
*You can decide to accept the full package Student Loans and Grants – If you want to reduce some of the costs of your loans, then you could still opt for Federal Work Study. *Also, you’re not required to pay back any of the money on your loans until 6 months after graduation, however, if you’re able to pay regularly on the loans, then you’ll have a much smaller debt when you graduate.
*Once you graduate, you’ll have a quick class (it’s mandatory) on how to repay your loan and one option you’ll have is to consolidate all your loans into one monthly payment. You can do this through several banks or pay directly to the government. It won’t hurt to shop around for the best deal.
*Career Development Loans – Are available through a host of banks and it’s designed to fund your training in a vocational school (mortgage adviser, plumber, film-maker…) You’re expected to begin repayment right away.
*The Open University has a loan program that allows you to pay for each course on a monthly basis until the course is done. This way, you won’t have any debt when you graduate.
*College/University Bursaries – There’s a ton of money available to support you through college in England. You just have to be a legal resident in this Country for at least 36 months prior to applying for financial aide. Go to the financial aide office of the college that you’re interested in and they’ll send you the correct forms and information on obtaining the money and repayment (if necessary, there’s a lot of money that doesn’t need to be repaid).
Regardless of where you live, you can go to college, regardless of income level. There are combinations of grants, which never have to be paid back and student loans, which only have to be repaid over time and that’s after you graduate… Plus work study, part time jobs on and off campus for students…
The important thing to remember is deadlines. For example, in California the CalGrant deadline is in March. This is a very important grant for anyone to apply for, however, if you apply too late, then the funding may be gone for that school year and you’ll miss out, even if you qualify for it.
So contact your financial aide office asap and get your paperwork turned in to get the most money you’re entitled to receive. They’ll also help you figure out the best way to repay your student loans, if you decide to accept student loans.
It won’t be easier to only accept the grant money, but you’ll be glad that you paid your way as you went along, once it’s all over and you commence into a new life, a new career, without debt.