What benefits could student loans possibly bring? Isn’t there a huge student debt crisis in the U.S. today? Difficult as it may be to believe, there are many student loan borrower benefits that make it worthwhile to take out student loans.
Of course there is the obvious benefit of being able to go to college because of student loans so you can secure a better paying job and a greater financial future. But there are many other less-obvious student loan borrower benefits as well. Here are four you might not be aware of:
1. You’ll start building a credit score and history.
As long as you act responsibly with your loans – pay them back on time every month and never go into default – you will show creditors that you’re a good risk. This means you’ll be able to apply for — and secure – car loans and a home mortgage later in your life. The better your credit score, the better your chance of securing a the lowest interest rate possible on anything you might need to finance in the future.
Any debt you have, whether it’s a credit card from a gasoline station or your student loans, contributes to your credit score. You probably shouldn’t take out a student loan just to help you build a good credit history, but if used wisely – and you make your monthly payments on time every time – it can have a huge positive impact on your credit score and your ability to borrow in your future.
2. You’ll start learning the ins and outs of personal finance.
In addition to building a good credit history, paying those student loans back after graduation will give you a post-college crash course in financial literacy. You’ll understand how important it is to meet your financial obligations (being late with payments and/or defaulting can prove a huge hit to your financial life…and even your future).
You’ll also learn how interest works, and why it’s best to find a loan with the lowest-interest rate possible. You’ll understand that your obligations need to be paid first and that you’ll need to put some funds aside each month to pay them, even if that means you can’t run off to Cancún with your friends for the weekend.
3. You’ll appreciate your education more.
A 2013 study found that the more a parent pays for your education, the worse your grades tend to be. This is one off the lesser known student loan borrower benefits. Turns out, students who attend school on their parents’ dime also tend to stay in school longer than those who pay for college themselves. Knowing that you’ll have to pay these loans back yourself can be quite an incentive to make sure you do well in school. They can also help you stay focused while in school: many students who take out loans report that they try to get through school as quickly as possible because the longer they stay in, the more loans they need to take out. (They also realize they can graduate and get a college-degree-level job – one that pays a lot better – sooner than their college peers.)
You also may decide against many majors because they generally don’t lend themselves well to the job market and opt instead for something that can lead to a better-paying job right out of the gate. (Remember, you can always minor in something you like that doesn’t have a high potential for a job.)
4. You’ll get great tax benefits.
This is one of the best student loan borrower benefits out there that many people don’t know about. Too often, people will work hard to pay off student loans first before other forms of debt, not realizing that student loan debt carries great tax discounts while many other debts offer no benefits at all. When you are paying toward student loans you are allowed to deduct the interest you pay from your taxes: you can claim up to $2,500/year as long as your modified adjusted gross income is less than $65,000. The amount you can deduct decreases if that income is between $65,000 and $80,000 and you can’t deduct it at all if your modified adjusted gross income is more than $80,000, but it can be a great tax benefit as you are first starting out in your career.
Student loans are also some of the lowest interest loans you can get in the U.S. today. When used wisely to pay for college, they can change your future tremendously for the better because the benefits of a college education have never been higher.
If you’re wondering how long it will take to repay your student loans, or if you should take more or less time to repay them, take a look at the U.S. Department of Education’s Repayment Estimator or contact New Start Advisors. Believe it or not, you may actually benefit more from taking longer to pay off your student loans. There are many financial considerations to make and New Start Advisors can help you determine how to best maximize your financial future.
In addition to these benefits, you may also qualify to enroll in the government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. To learn more, download our free ebook: How to Claim Student Loan Repayment Benefits.