School tuition and fees can seem daunting and expensive when you do not have all the finances available to cover them. You may have considered a student loan by now, but you’re not sure if creating debt is the right choice for you. There are a few things you should keep in mind when considering a student loan and in this blog, we will discuss them and provide some tips on how to get started.
How Much Money Do You Need?
The amount of money you need for school tuition and fees will vary depending on the school you attend. Private schools are typically more expensive than public schools. If you are choosing an international school, according to The College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees at a private four-year college in the United States is 48,510 USD per year. If you are attending a public university, the average cost is 37,430 USD per year. Of course, these numbers can change depending on the state you reside in. In Trinidad and Tobago, a degree can cost up to 50,000 TTD depending on the speciality.
If student loan debt is manageable and affordable for you after factoring in your expected salary after graduation, then it may be a good option for you. However, if you are uncertain about your ability to repay your student loans, you may want to consider other options such as grants, scholarships or work-study.
Are There Scholarship Opportunities?
In Trinidad and Tobago, GATE funding is offered through the Government for students interested in local institutions. To receive this funding, students are required to take a means test which will help the Government assess their household income to determine the appropriate distribution of their resources. Depending on the results of this test, you may be eligible for full or partial funding.
If you completed CAPE subjects, you can apply to the National Bursary for additional financial assistance. If approved, you may also receive a book allowance and personal maintenance allowance.
What Type of Loan is Best for You?
There are a few different types of student loans: government loans, private loans and student loan consolidation.
In Trinidad and Tobago, students can obtain financial assistance through the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP). Offered through the Ministry of Education, HELP may cover expenses such as tuition, accommodation, airfare, transportation, student fees, books and other educational supplies.
Private student loans are offered by banks, credit unions and other financial lending institutions. These loans typically have higher interest rates than government student loans and do not offer the same repayment options.
When is the Right Time to Take Out a Loan?
There is no one perfect answer to this question -it depends on your individual circumstances. However, there are some things you should keep in mind when deciding whether or not to take out a student loan:
1. How much money do you need?
2. What type of student loan is best for you?
3. Can you afford to repay your student loans?
4. What are the repayment terms?
5. Will you be able to find a job after graduation that will help you repay your student loans?
6. How manageable will a student loan be when you get additional responsibilities in the future like rent, utility bills or a car payment?
If you can answer these questions and feel confident about taking out a student loan, then it may be the right choice for you. However, if you are feeling uncertain or uncomfortable with any of the information, it is best to consult with a financial advisor or loan officer to get more advice.
Ready for a student loan? Contact Fidelity Finance and ask one of our loan officers about our personal loan options