Financial Empowerment. There are different meanings of financial empowerment to many people. I am a high school student about to embark on my journey to college. While my parents have always footed my expenses, and then most of them once I got a job, going into college, they are not able to take on that expense for me. This post is the first in a series that I will be writing about financial empowerment from the standpoint of a student.
Student Loan Debt
What does financial empowerment mean to me? It’s a means to get what I need to succeed in life. I want to go into talent management with a focus on singers. To succeed in this, not only will I need the experience, I will need the knowledge that education will provide me. Paying for college with student loans, is a scary event to consider, as student loan debt is a huge undertaking and to think about for when we graduate college.
Student loan debt owed in the United States is over 1.6 trillion dollars. In 2017, the average student loan debt, per Nerd Wallet was $28,560. Many students have much higher debt than that, depending on the career they’ve chosen. Doctors and Lawyers? Can graduate with hundreds of thousands in student loan debt. When you’re just getting started in life? That’s a huge debt. 5.2 million students are in default of their federal student loans.
Being prepared for this debt is the first step to a student’s financial empowerment. Even if you are just starting college and won’t have to repay this debt for another four to eight years. Know that you will have this debt, and make a plan to start paying it when you graduate. You will only have six months after your graduation date to wrap your mind around it and start paying that bill.
One step to lessen the impact, if you are taking out federal student loans, is to pay the interest while you’re in school so that interest doesn’t get added into your total bill. The subsidized loan, the government will pay the interest while you’re in school, but, the unsubsidized loan, you are responsible. You do not have to wait for the loan to go into repayment to pay the interest.
If your college allows it, try to get into their work/study program. This will help towards your college expenses as well.
Work-study is a federally and sometimes state-funded program that helps college students with financial need get part-time jobs.Nerd Wallet
These jobs usually pay just the minimum wage for the state your college is in. You can apply for standard jobs around campus, such as at the bookstore, or the cafeteria. Some jobs offered may be in your chosen career field. Work/Study funds do not affect your other financial aid packages. Most students use this money to help pay for living expenses. Doing this will lessen the amount of student loans you will need to take out.
This article is just a start on how you can financially empower yourself to be prepared for a new debt that you will be undertaking. Stay tuned for future articles that are more focused on student loans and scholarships.
Tristan is a guest writer who is interested in educating himself and other new students, embarking on the next phase of their lives, into higher education.