How Much to Borrow

Determine How Much to Borrow

Whether you are heading off to college for the very first time or returning for another academic year, you will need to figure out how much money to borrow in college loans once you have exhausted all other financial aid options.

We recommend you borrow as little as possible. Use the following steps to help you determine how much money to borrow:

Step 1: Identify Your Annual College Costs

Check your school's website for the annual cost of attendance. Typically, these costs include tuition and fees, housing and living expenses, and books and supplies.

Step 2: Assess Your Free Money, Family Contributions, Savings and Wages

Free money, family contributions, savings and wages can significantly reduce your overall cost of attending school.

Step 3: Calculate Your Funding Gap

Once you determine how much free money, family contributions, savings and wages you have to contribute toward college costs, you can estimate if you still need additional funding with student loans.

Step 4: Apply for the Work-Study Program or Other Employment

The Federal Work-Study Program is a part-time employment program funded by the government that allows students to earn money that can be used to help pay for college. Money earned from other part- or full-time employment can also be used toward college expenses.

Step 5: Apply for College Loans

Federal and private student loans are designed to pick up where grants, scholarships and other types of financial aid leave off.

Did You Know

Use our Student Loan Calculator to help you calculate the additional money you may need to cover all of your college expenses.