Paying for College

Two weeks ago I posted about some financial details to watch while attending college. I also hinted at some ways to find savings and reduce your overall expenses. I thought it would be neat to create a colorful graphic about paying for college using some real numbers from my years at the University of Oregon.

The short & sweet for graduating students and alumni:

  • Including living expenses, even an in-state education is pricey. Expenses are increasing faster than inflation, so do your best to save where you can.
  • Federal loan repayment plans are typically 10 years. If you can afford higher monthly payments, you’ll cut thousands of interest dollars from your total cost of education.
  • Hopefully you took advantage of scholarships. Its likely the most you’ll ever earn for writing an essay.
  • Use your banks portfolio tools for a glimpse at how you spend and try free online tools to manage your money and discover opportunities to save more.
  • Make payments toward accumulated interest while still in school. Once your repayment begins, any unpaid interest will be added to your principle balance, increasing the minimum monthly payment amount.
  • Now is actually a great time to pay down debt. My bank pays 0% interest while loan payments allow me to effectively gain 6.8%

Although financial expert Susan Orman has argued against graduates returning home rent free, I’d say it is a good option to keep open. Sure the thought of going broke might force you to find a job and save money, but with current grads spending months unemployed, it makes sense to join the millions moving back in with parents.

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