Fri. Jan 28th, 2022

When not in classes here at WCU, I spend my time working inside the Financial Aid office as a WCU Life Skills Ambassador. In order to become qualified for the position, I was obligated to pass a series of online courses regarding student loans. Through the courses, I was able to gain a great deal of knowledge that I would have otherwise been oblivious to.

Prior to this experience, I was unfamiliar with the nature of student loans, and the way in which they function. However, through the knowledge that I acquired, not only do I understand the information, but I also feel confident enough to explain it to others.

With that being said, I had learned four crucial aspects that pertain to student loans.

First, there are different types of student loans, such as Direct, Private, Perkins, and PLUS. Each type of loan possess characteristics that influence the decision of certain individuals regarding which type of loan to borrow. The student, must sit down and research which option is best for them.

Furthermore, there are various methods to repay student loans including standard, graduated, extended, income-based, income-contingent, and pay as you earn.

Upon graduation, it is crucial that you research each of the options named above, and then choose the best one that correlates with your financial capabilities. If you are unable to pay your student loans at the time of repayment, do not hesitate to call your servicer; you may qualify for forbearance or deferment. The worst possible thing that you can do is ignore the situation, because then your account goes into default, which could potentially result in your wages being garnished, the loss of any professional license(s) that you have previously obtained, a significant decrease in your credit score, as well as a few other consequences.

Lastly, student loan interest can potentially start accruing now! If you have an unsubsized loan, the interest on that loan begins to accrue the day that the loan is disbursed, not after you graduate. Therefore, if you pay on it now then the interest does not seem as intimidating as it could be.

Through Life Skills, I have become more aware of the importance of being educated on student loans. Before this program, I had based all of my knowledge off of assumptions rather than factual information; however, now I am able to graduate with confidence knowing that I am educated on the various aspects of student loans.

If you would like to learn more information about student loans, I will be holding weekly workshops on the following dates to share with you what I have learned: Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. (Brandywine 004A),  and Thursday, Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. (Sykes 10B, ground floor). You can register for each of the events online at www.wcupa.edu/lifeskills. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at JP788642@wcupa.edu. I look forward to seeing you!

Jessica Peoples is a third-year student majoring in middle grades preparation with concentrations in reading and mathematics. She can be reached at JP788642@wcupa.edu

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