Loan Estimator Can Be Crucial to Complete Your Equation for Affording College

There are two sides of the equation for figuring out how to afford college. These are understanding how much it will cost for you to attend, and knowing how much you can pay against those expenses. Making the two sides of the equation equal to each other is the trick!

In the case of most students, loans are going to be an important part of ensuring that your available resources match your expenses. NC Assist offers loan estimators that can help you zero in on exactly how much you'll need to close the gap.

Start With the Cost

You'll need to start by determining how much it will actually cost you to go to college. There's something very important in this calculation, and in how much you'll have to borrow. It's called the official "cost of attendance" for a college education. A college's cost of attendance is the average cost to attend for a single year. It's one of the biggest factors in what kind of financial package of loans and scholarships you might be offered.

Included in the "COA", as dictated by Congress, is the average cost to attend for one academic year, fall through spring. It includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and personal expenses. Colleges adjust the COA yearly to reflect changes to these costs. And they create several official COAs that reflect differences in living costs (on-campus, off-campus, or at home) and in-state and out-of-state tuition. Your actual cost to attend might be more than the official COA depending on your major, participation in extracurricular activities, and travel expenses.

Knowing your COA is important because you cannot borrow more than the COA minus other financial aid.

Loan Estimators Available

In any event, once you figure out your COA, you can use loan estimators provided by the NC Student Assist Loan and the NC Parent Assist Loan on the NC Assist website to find a loan estimator that will work for you.

The estimator can provide you an estimate of loan payments and the total interest cost based on the amount you would like to borrow. You can input different loan amounts and interest rates to see the changes in estimated payments and total costs.

A loan estimator is a tremendous and necessary tool for figuring out how to make a workable equation for affording college. Take advantage of loan estimators to see how you can make the cost of college work!