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Taking a student loan? Here are 4 tips that should guide you

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Student loans have become common among university students in Kenya. Most students who are joining campus see HELB loans as very necessary and cheap. However, there are guidelines that students ought to follow to ensure that they don’t graduate with so much debt and end up suffering in the long rum

  1. Don’t take on debt that’s more than your expected first year’s salary.

Calculate your total debt for all years of school. To get a ballpark estimate, multiply your first-year loan by the number of years of your program — for instance, multiply by four if you’re earning a bachelor’s degree. That should get you to within 15% of your total loan debt. Find out about the average starting salaries of people who are in the career you are studying.

Ideally, your total debt should be a lot less than your expected starting salary so you can pay your debt in 10 years or less. If you devote more than 15% of your monthly gross income for those student loans, you’re going to be struggling to make those loan payments or you’re going to be adopting a very austere lifestyle or you’re going to be working two jobs to help you pay back the debt

2. Start looking for free money now.

While student loans are extremely helpful, they have to be paid back. Grants and scholarships, on the other hand, don’t look for free scholarships even if it means lying about the true financial capabilities of your guardians.

3.       Plan out your course load

Once you know what degree you want to pursue, plan what courses you will take till your graduation, including all prerequisites. If you are allowed, try to take on a heavier course load each semester, or additional classes each year. By taking more units each semester, you can finish a semester early and save on fees. Above all, try not to let four years turn into five. Don’t fail or repeat classes

4.       Cut costs

Live with a roommate or at an affordable place. If you buy print notes, try selling them at the end of the semester. Cook your own meals if you can. By saving on your money, you can be able to use a portion of the loan that is usually sent to your account to make a substantial investment. You can also buy long term assets like furniture so that you won’t have to spend money on them again once you start working.

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