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Monopoly money

Leaving school in sound financial shape
College encourages students to use loans as their last option

Allie Leitza
Features Editor

A common phrase heard by young individuals is an education is the best investment one will ever make.

However, most students wonder where they are going to get the money to invest in their education. One possibility, for instance, are scholarships, Federal Financial aid and student loans.

Student loans have recently become a subject of great debate and confusion. Some individuals and institutions will encourage students to take out the full amount of student loans, whereas, others will insist that they try every other option first. A lot of confusion also exists on payment systems.

“I encourage loans as the last resort,” said Lisa Goss, the college's coordinator for scholarships and veteran affairs.

Casper College students are fortunate enough to attend an institution where student loans have become the back-up plans of back-up plans.

Students are not encouraged to take the maximum amount of student loans, because Casper College wants to focus on getting students an education rather than a life paying off loans.

For all students (not just those enrolled in Casper College), some of the options available outside of student loans are: institutional scholarships, scholarships from the high schools a student graduated from, scholarships found on databases (like fastweb.com) and Federal Financial Aid in the form of a Pell Grant. Work study monies are also a possibility.

If all of those opportunities leave a student short of paying for tuition and fees, a student loan can be taken out. Although receiving an education is a good investment, it is important for students to know that is not desirable to pay too much for it.

More students need more money. As the economic status of students is decreasing, the number of students who can receive financial aid remains the same.

The number of student who can receive Federal Financial Aid does not increase as the number of students needing aid increases. Although it is not the most sought-after way to pay for school, more students have had to take out loans.

For example, a recent Pew Research Center analysis reported that college graduates who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2008 on average borrowed 50 percent more money than students who graduated in 1996. This trend will most likely continue.

In some cases, the students who have taken out the loans are borrowing without understanding all of the stipulations. When taking out student loans, students need to know the interest rate of the investment and whom the money being paid back to, according to Lizzy Hede, the coordinator for the Hathaway Scholarship.

“Make sure to read the fine print,” Hede advised.

With the recent changes made by the Obama administration, confusion has been compounded even more. Some students are under the impression that forgiveness for the loan after 10 years will be applied for each student.

However, forgiveness will only be granted to students in specific programs. Those specific programs are decided by the government and can change when the demand for employees has decreased.

The maximum limit of student loans available is the optimum amount of money a student can get.

That may mean more cash for wallets of college students in the right-now, but it also means there will be a larger financial burden down the road. To illustrate, students with bachelor's degrees today leave college owing on average more than $25,000 in loans.

Casper College works with the students to ensure they do not need to take out the maximum limit of student loan money available

Rather than believing rumor and hear-say, students are encouraged to talk to enrollment services in the Gateway Building on the Casper College Campus for all financial aid questions.

“Keep track of promissory notes, because in this day and age, you don’t know who you will be paying the money back to,” noted Goss.

 

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