Tips for Your Student
Prepare for College (and Beyond)
Speak with your child about their plans for college. By having some preliminary discussions, you can help them get the education they need while guiding them toward a successful career. Here are a few places to start:
- Their future career goals and aspirations
- Their eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Teacher Loan Forgiveness/Cancellation
- How far away from home they would like to be while attending college
- Which school(s) fit their budget and goals
- The best type of school for them (2-year, 4-year, vocational, etc.)
- How much they may need to borrow to pay for school
- What their student loan payments could be—and that student loans have to be paid back no matter what, even if they don’t graduate or get their ideal job right away
- The best ways to reduce expenses
- How to maintain a healthy budget (visit the Financial Literacy section of Nelnet.com for budget resources)
Plus, here are some simple tools your child can use to stay financially fit during and after college:
- Planning & Budgeting Calculators: These calculators let you estimate your child’s future college expenses and what their student loan payment might be after they graduate.
- Visit the Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to see exactly how much student loan debt they are borrowing throughout college. They will need a PIN to access their information, and can obtain a PIN at pin.ed.gov.
- Make payments on their loan interest while in school. Once they leave school, interest on unsubsidized student loans is added to their principal balance (this is called capitalization), and this interest can add up fast, even over just a few years.
- Use the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook to find out what their career prospects will be once they graduate college.
- Visit the Get Financially Fit section of our website. This section includes budget strategies, credit basics, credit card tips, financial goals, our Live Life Smart Guide for managing student loan repayment, and more.
- Explore other options to reduce debt. Depending on which school your child attends, they might save money by choosing alternative meal plans, housing, transportation, and so on. They can always contact their college’s financial aid office for tips on how to reduce college costs at their campus and/or in their city.
If your college-bound child has questions about federal student loans, please have them contact us! We’re here to help.