For many students, borrowing in order to finance their college degree is necessary. College is an investment in your future. While student loans may be a necessary part of financing your degree, it’s important to borrow responsibly. This means only borrowing for what you need. Your debt burden upon graduation can be minimized if you track your loans every year, and only borrow for school-related expenses.
When borrowing for school, there are four questions you'll need to consider:
How much will I have to borrow?
- Review your current loan balance. Students can find their current loan balance by reviewing the “Loan Pmt Estimate” tab in their AccessPlus account or by logging into their account online on StudentAid.gov.
- Create a budget to help keep borrowing to a minimum. Only borrow what you need. Use our Expense Estimator tool to figure out what your costs will be this year, and what your financial aid covers.
- Annual federal loan amounts can be found at https://www.financialaid.iastate.edu/federal-loan-limits/
- Know before you Owe
What will be the monthly payment?
You can also use the Loan Simulator provided by Federal Student Aid to estimate your loan payments.
Can I afford it?
- Understand and be realistic about your earning potential after graduation. For example, if you are a Journalism major, and the entry-level, starting salary for journalists is $30,000, you should not be borrowing over that amount in student loans.
- List of Salaries Post Graduation
Do I need to reduce or eliminate certain costs?
- Things to consider – housing costs, dining dollars, study abroad, new vs used texts, etc.
- Check out our Budgeting Resources for additional ways to save!
To find out how much you can afford to borrow, schedule a Financial Success appointment in ISUAppointments.