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Predicting Debt for 2024 High School Graduates

High school graduates and their families are worried about paying for college this spring. Financial aid delays have made it hard for some students to decide where to go to college because they don’t know how much money they’ll need to pay.

One thing is clear: If students take out loans to pay for college, they might end up owing about $37,000 when they graduate. The cost of college tuition and fees has gone down a bit in recent years. But even with this decrease, college is still expensive. On average, students borrowed about $6,990 in loans for the 2020-2021 school year. If a student relies only on loans to pay for college, they could end up owing about $36,700 in loans for a five-year bachelor’s degree.

Students and parents should remember that they don’t have to borrow the full amount of loans offered to them. It’s important to be careful when accepting loans and only borrow what’s necessary. If you don’t borrow all the money you’re offered and later find out you need more, you can ask your college’s financial aid office for help.

Predicting Debt for 2024 High School Graduates

High school graduates and their families are worried about paying for college this spring

There are limits on how much federal loans students can borrow. Dependent students can’t borrow more than $31,000 in federal loans for their undergraduate degrees. If they reach this limit, they’ll need to find other ways to pay for college, like private loans or Parent PLUS loans.

It’s important to think carefully before choosing other loan options. Private student loans usually require a credit check and may not offer the same repayment options as federal loans. Parent PLUS loans, while federal, also have their drawbacks. About 1 in 5 parents who borrow Parent PLUS loans regret it, according to a survey.

Despite the delays in the financial aid application process this year, filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is still important. The FAFSA helps determine what financial aid students are eligible for, including federal loans, grants, and some scholarships. Even though this year’s FAFSA process has been bumpy, it’s still crucial for students to fill it out every year.

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