Before Your Borrow
We want you to graduate in the best financial position possible, and one of the best ways to do that is to minimize borrowing whenever possible. We encourage you to take the following steps BEFORE you accept your loans to determine your borrowing needs.
We are more than happy to meet with you to help you through these steps.
REVIEW YOUR COSTS
Bills for a FALL term are typically generated on or around Aug 1. Bills for a SPRING term are typically generated after Jan 1. If possible, we recommend waiting to see your bill before determining if you need to borrow loans.
If you want to make this decision earlier, you can estimate using the current semester rates and assume a small inflation. Costs may not increase annually, but estimating an increase between 2-3% is a safe way to ensure that you are prepared if they do.
COMPARE YOUR AID OFFER TO COSTS
Awards are offered on an annual basis. Your bill is generated by term, so double your bill to get your annual costs. Don’t forget to add in housing and meal plan if you plan to live on campus!
Got a total? Now subtract any grant or scholarship aid from this total.
If the amount is a POSITIVE number...
You will have a balance due to the school. You can determine if you need a loan to cover it, if you can afford a payment plan, or even a combination of these options.
If the amount is a NEGATIVE number...
Your grants and scholarships should fully cover your costs. In this instance, you should not need to borrow, unless you need to borrow a bit extra for things like books.
BALANCE YOUR NEEDS VERSUS WANTS
Your loan has been offered to you based on your MAXIMUM eligibility, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to take the full amount. If you want to take extra funds from your loans to assist with educational expenses, be sure to think about what you need versus what you want.
You need gas to get to and from campus. You need books. You need food.
You want a newer computer. You want to go on a trip for Spring Break.
Bottom line... If it’s not needed, you should not be borrowing to get it.
Do you have additional expenses that you can plan ahead for?
Here are some common expenses that Parkside students plan for:
- Winterim course tuition
- Study Abroad
- Summer course tuition
- Housing or meal plan changes
- Significant online coursework or additional course fees
Borrowing a full loan at the start of the year will leave you with little to no funds available to cover these costs. If you are thinking about studying abroad or taking courses outside of fall and spring, it is in your best interest to reduce your loans so that you have funds available to assist later.
ACCEPT THE LOANS YOU NEED
If you are offered both a subsidized and unsubsidized loan, you should borrow as much as possible from the subsidized loan before you use any unsubsidized.
Decline any unsubsidized funds that are not needed.
You can reduce loan offer amounts! When you select Accept, you are able to edit the loan amount to a reduced total before you submit. Remember that loans are offered on an annual basis, so if you need $1,000 for the fall semester, you need to enter $2,000 to give you $1,000 for fall and $1,000 for spring.
If you want a loan for one semester only, this cannot be done via SOLAR. Please contact our office.
Bottom line... Request more loans later if you end up needing more! It's better to start small and increase rather than over-borrow.