The average student doesn’t have the financial means to pay for college out of their pocket, and student loans have become a popular way to pay for school expenses.
The Institute of College Access reported this year that nearly 70 percent of students borrow $30,000 in Federal and private loans. The class of 2015 is reported to be the most indebted class in history.
“Students need to have long range plan as far as where their education is going, and how they are going to pay the loan back,” says Pam Brooks, assistant director of financial aid at Salt Lake Community College.
One of the biggest contributors to student debt is excessive borrowing. Many students make the mistake of using money for unnecessary items or expenses that don’t pertain to school.
“Only take out what you absolutely need,” says Brooks. “We really encourage students who are working and making their living expenses to not take that extra expense. Why take on additional debt that is going to impact them long term?”
SLCC students can visit a financial aid offices for help in determining what amount to borrow, based on current income, predicted income and major.
FAFSA workshops are also available by appointment.
“It is critical that the FAFSA is filed. It helps us provide better guidance for other aide that might be available,” says Brooks.
Students also have access to other brochures that explain how to begin the process for grants, scholarships and loans.
The goal of these resources is to help students make smart borrowing decisions that will allow them to graduate with minimal debt.
“Don’t be afraid of loans, just be smart about them,” says Brooks.