Student Living Expense Loans

Student living expense loans can help cash-strapped college students pay for rent, groceries and utilities. With the cost of attending college growing, low-interest federal student loans simply don't cover all expenses, especially the day-to-day ones. Students can turn to private lenders to work out student living expense loans to meet their needs.

Where To Start
Always apply for federal student grants and loans first. Any grants awarded to students do not need to be re-paid, and the federal loans have low interest rates and generous repayment terms. However, students need to get applications finished early, as the federal money is awarded annually on a first-come, first-serve basis. Much of the awards are need-based, with the loan amount increasing or decreasing based on financial paperwork and estimates the student provides. There are even government loan programs where parents can take out federal loans called PLUS loans to help their children pay for college.

Figure Out How Much You Need
Add up the tuition, books, rent, utilities and other incidentals to get a good idea of what amount you'll need. Include any bills you already have, such as a car payment, car insurance, child support, groceries and appliance rentals. Subtract any scholarships, grants or federal loan amounts. Deduct the amount of money you will earn via employment if you will be working while attending school, either full- or part-time. The remainder is what you'll need to borrow through a student living expense loan.

Loan Estimates
Many private lenders structure student living expense loans to be low interest with a long repayment period. Some will lend directly to the student, depending on the student's credit history. Others will lend to a student as long as there is a co-signer with good credit. Wise borrowers will determine a living budget in advance, and they will ask for no more than what they need. Keeping the loan amount low is a good idea, as entry-level jobs for college graduates may not pay as much as the student first estimates. Lower total borrowing means a lower monthly payment, especially if the borrower is able to take advantage of student loan consolidation after graduating.

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