What Is Entrance Counseling For Student Loans?

Flickr user Brandi Redd

Entrance counseling for student loans is a mandatory counseling session that students are required to complete before they can access the federal student loan that has been allocated to them.

You will have to complete this counseling session this if this is the first time you are applying for Direct Subsidized or Direct Unsubsidized Loans.

You do not need to go through the counseling again if you have previously received loans, whether subsidized or unsubsidized, under the Federal Family Education Loan or Direct Loan Programs.

Why Is Entrance Counseling Compulsory?

Most students are first time borrowers and may not fully understand the various dynamics of taking out a student loan. The federal government has made the entrance counseling compulsory in order educate students about a few key points, such as:

  • Understanding the loan process for a Direct Loan and what it entails
  • How to manage education expenses and other spendings
  • How to plan the repayment schedule
  • How to avoid defaulting on their student loan
  • Making finances a priority

Basically, the counseling session has been developed to help students understand how a student loan works, what their rights and responsibilities are, what their loan will look like in a few years, and how best to manage their finances and meet payment deadlines.

A Look at the Counseling Modules

The first module helps you to understand how your loan will behave over time and how your debt will increase as the interest accrues. It requires you to fill in your personal information including details of multiple loans. It also includes details about the types and extents of federal loans available to you.

The next module houses an interactive tool that helps you estimate the expenses you might incur during the course of your study. This will help you gain a good idea as to whether you have sufficient funds to pursue your course. It also describes the benefits you gain if you start paying off the interest during your grace period or during periods of forbearance.

The third section details information about how your salary will affect your monthly payment, the repayment options available to you and when and how you should enter repayment.

The fourth section educates you with regards to the options available to you to prevent defaulting and what can prevent you from becoming a defaulter. These include- deferment, discharge or loan cancellation, loan forgiveness, resolution of disputes with your loan servicer and consolidation of loans.

The last section aims to educate and provide you with information and knowledge that should, hopefully, help you become more financially savvy to ensure that you are able to pay off your loans faster, save money and lead a financially fulfilling life.

It touches upon points such as creating savings accounts and maintaining emergency funds, minimizing or paying off your credit card debt by budgeting your income and spending wisely, considering credits, tax deductions, and other aspects before spending from your paycheck and maintaining a good credit rating or score.

Once the session is complete, all the information you have entered into the tools given above will provide you a visual representation of the status of your loan, repayment schedule and what you can expect it to look like a few years down the line under various conditions. This can help you keep track of your goals and ensure that you pay off your loan, while at the same time building a secure financial future with a good credit score.

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