Learn About Student Loans and How You Can Get the Most Assistance

Student loans have been getting a lot of unsavory publicity lately. Like most things in life, it's impossible to please all the people all the time and student loans are a good example of that concept.

Nevertheless, student loans have enabled millions of people to achieve an advanced education they would not otherwise have been able to afford. Sure, there are some things that could be done to improve the system but, then again, improving the system means different things to different people.

It's important for every student to remember that student loans do not represent free money. It is money received for a specific purpose for a specific length of time and it must be repaid or some ugly consequences will develop.

Some wisdom needs to be employed when receiving student loans, too. The money comes from your school to you to use as you need to use it, be that for tuition, study materials, housing, or whatever.

It may be tempting to turn your student loans into a new stereo system or a wardrobe that is the envy of everyone on campus but you probably won't be strolling fashionably through campus very long if the money is squandered on things that don't directly involve the education process.

Student loans are only granted to students who have demonstrated a financial need for them. When the money is spent on things unrelated to education, there is usually not enough money to cover educational expenses and, as most students soon learn, college is expensive. Without paying for it, you won't be allowed to stay enrolled.

Upon graduation, a student has a small amount of time to find a job before his or her student loans become due for repayment and they can be repaid a little at a time, based on the student's new income.

Even students who don't stay in school long enough to graduate must repay their student loans. Again, a grace period is allowed for finding a job before payments become due but failure to graduate doesn't mean the student loans accrued don't have to be repaid.

Failure to repay student loans can lead to some unpleasant circumstances.

For one, the IRS will send your income tax refund check to the US Department of Education each year instead of to you.

Your credit rating, too, will be affected. It will show you are behind or perhaps even in default of your financial obligation to the federal government. And a financial obligation to the federal government is exactly what a student loan is.

Potential employers may frown on unpaid student loans, too, so do take advantage of the outstanding educational opportunities that student loans offer but do remember, too, to take the privilege seriously and make all efforts to repay the loan in a timely manner. They won't just disappear.