Student loans are suddenly becoming newsworthy and the news usually isn’t good. There is an abundance of horror stories of student who are so far into debt that they just don’t see a way out. But you can avoid costly mistake by planning wisely and educating yourself about student loans. the advice below is a great starting point.

Start your student loan search by looking at the safest options first. These are generally the federal loans. They are immune to your credit rating, and their interest rates don’t fluctuate. These loans also carry some borrower protection. This is in place in case of financial issues or unemployment following your graduation from college.

Don’t discount using private financing to help pay for college. Student loans are known to be plentiful, but there is so much competition involved. There’s much less competition for private student loans, with small pockets of money sitting around untapped from lack of attention. A private student loan from a community source may be just what you need to buy textbooks or manage some other specific expense.

If you’ve taken out more than one student loan, familiarize yourself with the unique terms of each one. Different loans will come with different grace periods, interest rates, and penalties. Ideally, you should first pay off the loans with high interest rates. Private lenders generally charge higher interest rates than the government.

Select the payment option best for your particular needs. A lot of student loans give you ten years to pay them back. If this isn’t working for you, there could be a variety of other options. For example, you could extend the amount of time you have to pay, however you will probably have a higher interest rate. It may even be possible to pay based on an exact percentage of your total income. On occasion, some lenders will forgive loans that have gone unpaid for decades.

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Having to make a monthly student loan payment is hard for a budget that is already stretched thin. Loan rewards programs can help a little with this, however. LoanLink and Upromise are two of these great programs. As you spend money, you can get rewards that you can put toward your loan.

To keep your student loan load low, find housing that is as reasonable as possible. While dormitory rooms are convenient, they are often more costly than apartments near campus. The more money you have to borrow, the more your principal will be — and the more you will have to pay out over the life of the loan.

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To get the most out of your student loan dollars, spend your free time studying as much as possible. It is good to step out for a cup of coffee or a beer now and then, but you are in school to learn. The more you can accomplish in the classroom, the wiser the loan is as an investment.

To stretch your student loan dollars as far as possible, make sure you live with a roommate instead of renting your own apartment. Even if it means the sacrifice of not having your own bedroom for a couple of years, the money you save will come in handy down the road.

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If you want to see your student loan dollars go farther, cook your meals at home with your roommates and friends instead of going out. You’ll spend less on the food, and a lot less on the alcohol or soft drinks that you buy at the store instead of ordering from a server.

It is important that you pay close attention to all of the information that is provided on student loan applications. Overlooking something can cause errors and/or delay the processing of your loan. Even if something looks like it is not very important, it is still important for you to read it in full.

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To get the most value out of your student loan funds, make the most out of your full-time student status. While many universities consider you a full-time student if you take as few as nine hours, signing up for 15 or even 18 hours can help you graduate in fewer semesters, making your borrowing expenses smaller.

Now you have a better understanding of what you need to know about student loans. But don’t be afraid to ask question and request for clarification on anything that you don’t quite understand. Taking the time to educate yourself about student loans before you borrow can help you avoid costly mistakes that affect your future.