Are you planning on going to college? Are you already at college? Perhaps you already graduated and now you are seeking the best course of action to repay that student loan? The bottom line is you are really on your way toward a better future for yourself and your family by investing in higher education. Smart borrowing saves you money and ensures you are financially prepared to take the next step.

Before you need to start borrowing money, take a look at what grants and scholarships are available for your course. Often, college grants and scholarships are available within your region, state, or countrywide and from a variety of sources. Take advantage of federal grant money or find other types of scholarships.

If you do need to borrow then apply for a federal student loan from the federal student loan programs. Usually their interest rates are below-market rates and they offer flexible repayment options. If you think you are not eligible for federal student loans it is still worth doing the research and investigation to be sure. To do this you will need to fill out an FAFSA.
Once you have tried the above funding sources, you can apply for a private student loan to make up any difference in the total amount you require for your course of study.

Private student loans each have their own requirements and features.
Ensure that you only borrow what you can afford to pay back, now and later on. Do not borrow more than you really need. To know what is too much you need to assess your debt-to-income ratio. Most, if not all, lenders use this principal calculation to assess your loan application, so it makes sense to work it out yourself beforehand. Your debt-to-income ratio is the comparison between your monthly earnings and what you owe. It is a snapshot of your financial health.

To work it out is a simple calculation: Divide your monthly minimum debt payments (not including mortgage or rent) by your gross monthly income/salary. So, if you earn $2,500 a month gross income, and your outgoing commitments include $170 a month in student loans, $140 on credit card repayments and $320 on a car payment then your total monthly debt repayments are $630. Therefore, 630 divided by 2,500 = a ratio of 25.2%.

Knowing your debt-to-income ratio is one of the best ways to assess your fiscal fitness. As a very general guideline, a ratio of 0-20% is considered excellent to acceptable. Anything above 21%, or even approaching higher figures is considered difficult to manage. Student loan applications with a high debt-to-income ratio are commonly not successful. Ergo, manage your money wisely at all times and always try to avoid debt by paying cash or using a debit card whenever and wherever possible!
For reliable information on degree level education visit the HBCU College Grants website at is a feast of useful online degree information and your online one-stop source for the financial aid needed in your pursuit of a higher education.