Pushing Your Money Further : Smart Steps to Borrowing a Student Loan

The population of college enrollees in the United States has consistently risen over past years, and is slated to rise even further for the foreseeable future. Despite postsecondary education being so wildly popular in America, with plenty of graduates giving back to their alma maters, communities, and overall economy of our great nation, students are collectively taking out exorbitant sums of debt for schooling.

The student loan debt burden for young farmers isn't any better either, even though they feed Americans, take on significant debt in buying sometimes-million-dollar farming equipment, welcome risk unpredictable weather conditions, and work longer days than most Americans. These American heroes face much of the same problems college attendees and graduates to *all over the United States*: student loan debt -- the average graduate owes a whopping $37,000 in debt.

Like many things in life, it's often better to *prevent* problems than react to them. This sentiment rings true for student loan debt, as students are better off making wise decisions when taking out loans than utilizing debt consolidation strategies. Here are several steps you prevent exorbitant student loan debt *before* it accumulates.

Research the differences between federal and third-party loans

Loans facilitated by the federal government and respective universities are often significantly cheaper than those from large, non-government-affiliated lenders. However, it can't be certified with completely accuracy that third-party loans will *always* have higher interest rates and less-favorable terms than government-affiliated loans.

As such, it's advisable to investigate private loan offers around the Internet and compare them to those available through FAFSA. To most easily compare available loans, you should either physically write down or print out loans considered.

Apply for jobs

While it's unreasonable to expect to pay one's way through college, students should unarguably work while attending schools. Without working, students value money less and may have unrealistic expectations regarding future employment opportunities and how much they pay. Also, not having earned cash flow may result in

Talk to loan counselors in person

While undergoing loan counseling prior to taking out student loans through FAFSA (Federal Application For Student Aid) is required, it only must be completed online. Borrowers or their parents can quickly click through counseling tutorials in minutes, rendering the valuable information they provide useless. Instead of doing yourself this disservice, make an appointment with a loan officer at your university or college to better learn about the basics of student lending and the specific terms of your student loan *before taking them out*.

Weigh the education qualities in various schools

Many students opt for top-tier universities, often charging premiums for being well-established. Many more-expensive colleges' degree values *aren't* that much higher than ones with lower tuitions. Contact graduate schools -- whether you plan on going or not -- and ask them about how their admissions offices feel about differences. Conversely, if you reach out to universities themselves, they will *undoubtedly not* provide an unbiased, truthful, non-misleading opinion.

Always apply for scholarships

Whether you're loaded down with scholarships or never received *one*, you should constantly apply for "free money." Although financial need, good grades, and being a minority helps being selected, *anyone* can be selected for scholarhips.