Good news for students looking to get loans from college.
Both the House and the Senate passed legislation that drops the interest rate down to around three and half percent, but the rate might rise as the economy picks up.
Yet, there are some ways to reduce student debt.
Diana Ospina, a junior at USC Upstate, is a text book example of everything a student should do to graduate college debt free, but she’s had to work for it.
“I get a little anxious trying to figure it out because if I don’t find anything what am I going to do.” said Ospina.
First, she chose a school that costs less, and she lives at home, but what’s really made all the difference is the legwork she did to find scholarships using sites like www.fastweb.com.
“You pretty much just put in as much info as you can what you like to do, ethnicity, activities, hobbies, grades and stuff and they just send you all the scholarships that you apply to or that you qualify for.” said Ospina.
USC Upstate Financial Aid Director, Allison Sullivan, said don’t wait to appy. Many scholarships are first come first serve.
Sullivan had some tips for students to reduce their debt.
“Just to only borrow what they need to cover their fees, and then to look into forgiveness options once they finish college.” said Sullivan.
That means the federal government may help foot the bill if students go into civil service professions like law enforcement and nursing.
Sullivan also said be wary about getting private loans, since the government’s are more lenient and defer payment until after graduation. But if you do go private, she says look at credit unions first.
Also, try not to use your student loans to pay for books. Otherwise you’re paying interest on this. Instead seek out work study or part time jobs to cover that cost.
Ospina’s two part time jobs have helped her pay off most of the principal on her subsidized government loans before the interest has even kicked in.
“I’m trying not to be one of those students who graduates college and you have this much debt and you’re drowning,” Ospina said. “And I’m trying to avoid that as much as possible.”