Loans vs ScholarshipsHow will you pay for college? Will it be with a loan or a scholarship? How long will it take you to become debt-free from any student debt?

Since the new semester started a few weeks ago, I got to talking with some of my friends that are still in college. It’s an interesting time because you’re meeting all of your new classmates and professors. You’re also trying to figure out how you plan on paying for your education, If you don’t know how in the world you’re going to cover your tuition costs, this can be a really stressful time.

Today I wanted to look at both scholarships and student loans. Unless your parents pay for your education or if you plan on working full-time to cover the costs of education, you’re going to have to think about your realistic options.

What do you need to know about scholarships and student loans?

What are the best scholarship options?

The great news is that scholarships are open for everyone. All you have to do is fill out a simple form and perhaps write an essay. The amount that you get various on what school you go to and the type of scholarship you apply for. The odds of getting accepted all depend on the conditions stated.

There are different scholarships for girls, for academic programs, and even for cultural groups. There’s just a ton of money out there that needs to be given away. The money is just sitting in a pot. You have a fair shot at getting some cash back. Writing an essay with the potential to get a few thousand dollars in funding sure beats working a minimum wage gig.

Have you applied for a scholarship yet? What are you waiting for?

What about student loans? What do you need to know?

Student loans are a totally different beast. This is why you apply for a loan (public or private) to cover the costs of tuition, textbooks, and sometimes living expenses. Student loans are with you forever. You can’t default on your student loans. You have to pay them off. This means that you have to really think before you loan $20,000 from a private company. How do you plan on returning this money?

Getting out of student loan debt is possible. The problem is that you’re going to be stuck with this debt until you pay it off. This means that you can be in your mid-30s and still stuck paying for that education you obtained a long time ago. Can you handle this?

Student loans are the most common option for educational funding. This doesn’t mean that they’re the best option.

What it comes down to is that you get a quality education that won’t kill your finances. There’s nothing wrong with being in debt because of school. The problem comes when you blindly get into debt. There are many options for your unique situation.

How did you cover your education? Did you use loans or scholarships?

(photo credit: djenan)