Waubonsee Community College and the Financial Aid Office encourage you to be smart about using student loans to finance your college education.
Unlike some other types of financial aid, loans must be paid back. After leaving school, some students have difficulty making monthly loan payments while also paying other expenses like rent and car payments. This can result in individuals becoming delinquent on payments or defaulting on student loans. A student loan default adversely affects your credit rating, can result in the garnishment of wages and/or tax refunds, and prohibits you from receiving future federal and state financial aid. Keep in mind that student loan debt cannot be forgiven through bankruptcy.
Steps to "Smart Borrowing"
To avoid these potential negative outcomes, the Financial Aid Office recommends "Smart Borrowing," which includes the following steps:
- Only borrow the amount that you need for a year of school. Develop a budget for each academic year that includes all of your expenses and resources. Expenses include tuition and fees, books, living expenses, personal expenses, and transportation. Personal expenses should be limited to essential items only. Resources include employment, savings, assistance from family and financial aid. The difference between total expenses and resources will be the maximum amount you should consider borrowing.
- Learn about available repayment plans.
- Compare monthly loan payments to expected earnings. Calculate the total amount you could borrow to complete your educational goal based on the annual loan limits. Determine the monthly payments on your expected total loan using the Repayment Estimator at studentloans.gov and then compare those loan payments with the expected earnings for your chosen major.
- Know how to contact your loan servicer and keep your servicer informed of any changes of address/phone number. The loan service is part of your loan history in the National Student Loan Data System.
- If you take unsubsidized loans, consider making interest payments on these loans. This will prevent the interest from being capitalized, which increases your principal balance. Contact your loan servicer to find out the amount of accrued interest and about making payments while still in school.
- Monitor your cumulative loan balance by checking the National Student Loan Data System at least annually.
- Before you leave Waubonsee, participate in an Exit Interview. Exit Interview notices are sent to graduating students prior to the end of each semester.
Here are other resources you can use to manage your finances and borrowing:
Sugar Grove Campus
Student Center, 2nd Floor
(630) 466-7900, ext. 5774