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Saturday, 16 June 2007

Student Loans

When I first started my university studies in 1979 tertiary education in Australia was free, but less than 10% of students went to university. Before I finished my first degree HECS was introduced, whereby students pay for part of the cost of their degree (initially around 25% and now closer to 50%) either up-front (which entitles them to a discount) or as via a loan from the government. The main benefit of the introduction of university fees was that it allowed for a large increase in the number of available places, with a much higher percentage of high school students continuing on to tertiary education in the 2000's that was the case back in the 1980's and 90's. There's no interest on Australian HECS (or PELS - the post-graduate equivalent) but the amount owed is indexed to inflation. Payments are made via the tax system and only commence once your salary exceeds a threshold value.

The situation in the US is a bit different, with many students needing to take out a loan to fund their tertiary studies. These students may end up with multiple loans which they'd like to simplify into one loan, or possible get a lower interest rate, so Student Loan Consolidation may be of interest. NextStudent.com has a website which provides information about Student Loan Consolidation and also has an online application form for enquiries about Private Student Loans.

Of course, as with most other forms of finance, it would be best to save money up prior to the expense, so you don't end up accumulating debt and having to pay large amount of interest. But if you do need to take out a loan it's important to gather information about the alternatives available, and shop around for the best rates. One starting point would be to read through the information available on the NextStudent.com website about the various financing options available.

Enough Wealth

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