Tertiary education finance is currently a contentious issue in South Africa. With ongoing developments regarding funding for higher education constantly unfolding, it is safe to say some students in need of finance will get the privilege of accessing government funding while many others will have to find means and ways of getting funding. Below are some relevant tips worth considering in pursuing higher education finance.
Researching on available finance options should be the first and most important step. By researching, you will find that you can get lower rates through a different lender, so exploring available options should be considered.
Choose the right school
The idea of studying at a prestigious higher learning institution with rarely offered training programs is exciting. But one important factor that should not be overlooked is cost. When comparing schools, pay careful attention to the fee structure and clearly understand tuition fees and rates involved.
Borrow what you need
Borrowing only what you need increases a student’s chances of getting finance. While expenses such as housing, food and transportation can never be ignored, it’s best to borrow only for tuition and fees if that’s what you only critically need. Bear in mind the fact that you don’t have to accept the entire amount of loan you are offered.
Make sure you understand a loan’s terms, conditions and repayment requirements, ask your financial aid officer questions like, how much will this loan cost in total? What will my monthly payments be? Is the interest rate fixed or variable? Can I get a lower interest rate? What fees do I have to pay?
Find alternative resources
If you are working, ask your employer if they offer tuition assistance. You can also search for private scholarships online or contact organisations with which you are affiliated to see if they offer any funding.
Take advantage of deals
You must constantly look for clever ways to keep costs down and prevent you from borrowing more. There is no harm in asking for student discounts. You can also try to borrow or rent textbooks from the library or through available sites. You can also minimise on the food costs by packing lunch or eating at the dining hall.
Make payments while you are in school
There is never a penalty for making payments early. Try as much as possible even to pay the interest while you are in school. Interest payments while you’re still in school, if the loan allows, can help you lower your total loan amount.