There’s no getting away from the fact that tertiary education is expensive. However, with the unemployment crisis with which we, as South Africans, are faced, it has become an essential part of making an attempt to solidify a brighter future for ourselves.
Many of us will have to go in search of a student loan in order to cover the hefty costs associated with attending university, which can lead to a large amount of debt that often follows us well into our careers post-graduation. Here are some tips for successfully managing your student loan and keeping this debt to a minimum.
Take Out a Loan from a Recognised Institution
Loan sharks make their deals sound super appealing, but trust us when we tell you that you will be paying back mountains of extra cash in interest and may fall victim to violent tactics if you dare to miss a repayment instalment in the future. Avoid the risk and make sure that you only take out a loan from a recognised financial institution. If you’re worried about all of the red tape and complicated procedures, fear not.
Applying for a student loan is actually quite simple. Just remember that if you are a full time student, younger than 18 years of age or a part time student earning less than R5 000 per month, you will need to bring someone along who will be willing to sign as surety. The easiest way is to bring one of your parents with you and ensure that you have your ID book, as well as their ID book, on hand.
You will also need your parent’s proof of income (usually in the form of payslips from the last 3 months), proof of address and proof of enrolment at a valid educational institution.
Create a Separate Account
Once your student loan has been transferred into your account, it can become increasingly tempting to dip into it to pay for things that might not be university-related (like a couple rounds of craft beers for your mates at Kitcheners, for example!). Because of this, it would be wise to create a separate account in which to store all of the money. Make an effort to use this account only to pay for varsity fees, text books, your digz etc. Once you receive your qualification, you’ll be very, very glad you did!
Keep in Touch
Once you graduate and start earning a salary, make paying back your student loan a priority right from the get-go. Also be sure to keep in touch with your creditor, informing them of your repayment plan and any changes in your contact details, such as cellphone number or address. If, for whatever reason, you know that you will miss a repayment, notify your creditor before they get in touch with you in order to avoid a potential penalty.
Ultimately, if you wish to successfully manage your student loan, now’s the time to be more responsible when it comes to moolah. Save where you can, plan ahead as much as possible and, of course, always think before you spend!