Ways to Pay

Smart Borrowing

Watch Order And Law: Smart Borrowing

Remember, everything you borrow must be repaid with interest. So borrow only what you need. You must repay your loans plus interest and fees —even if you don't complete college or find a job after college.

Student loans can help you pay for the education you need. Here are the steps you can take to be a smart borrower and to make it easier for you to pay back your student loans.

  • Know your college costs. They can include tuition, room and board, transportation, books, supplies and fees. Understand your cost of attendance before you borrow money to pay for it.
  • Before you apply for a loan, apply for free aid like grants and scholarships.
  • Borrow only what you need and can afford to pay back monthly, based on the beginning average salary of your chosen profession. Decide the amount that's right for you using HESC's calculators and tables. Your student loan debt should total no more than 8 percent of your expected income.
  • Get the best loan for you. Student loans have different interest rates, repayment plans and repayment schedules.
  • Learn how to manage your credit cards on campus and beyond. Don't graduate with credit card debt.
  • Set and follow a personal budget so you can decide how much to borrow and how you can arrange your finances to pay back your loan.
  • Click here to use a budget calculator!
  • Do part-time work, tutoring or work-study programs while attending school.
  • Set up a savings plan. Put money aside each month to pay for school or future investments.
  • Keep all documents you receive about your loan in one convenient location, as well as copies of any documents you send to your school or lender.
  • Understand your rights and responsibilities. Six months after you graduate or leave college, you'll start paying back your loan.
  • Think about consolidating your loans. Understand the advantages and disadvantages.
  • If you're having trouble repaying your loan, there are options, including deferment, forbearance and other forms of help. The consequences of defaulting are serious, so get the help you need.

Youth In Care Corner

Did you know College graduates earn $1 million more than a high school graduate over a lifetime.

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