Credit and Debt Management
Your legal education represents a significant investment in your future that will increase in value over time. Securing financial aid to cover the costs associated with law school attendance brings certain rights and responsibilities. By planning ahead, you will better understand the financial obligations that you will be assuming.
- Explore scholarship opportunities through outside organizations
- FASTWEB - http://edu.fastweb.com/v/o_registration/flow/step1
- Check with your employer for tuition reimbursement opportunities
- Review federal student loan requirements and limits
- Request your Free Credit Report -- www.annualcreditreport.com
- Review and clean up your credit report if you plan to borrow a Federal Graduate PLUS Loan or private education loan
The most important way to minimize debt incurred during law school is through proper budgeting. Barry Law sets a standard living expense budget for students. Living within a modest budget will allow you to maintain control of your finances to borrow less.
- Use a budget to help manage debt wisely
- Pay all bills on time
- If you miss a payment, get current and stay current
- Keep credit card balances low and pay more than the minimum payment each month
- Pay off debt rather than moving it around to new credit cards
- Limit the number of credit cards that you carry with you
- Open new credit cards over time rather than several at once
- Follow creditors' guidelines for dispute on your accounts – not paying the disputed amount is a harmful strategy that could affect your eligibility for student loans
- Check your credit report from one of the three credit bureaus
We are committed to helping students understand their debt and to educating students on strategies for managing debt during and after law school. Many students find it easy to ignore their student loan debt level while in school because they typically do not have to make payments until after graduation. However, given the cost of education, you should take an active role in understanding and managing your student debt while in school.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) sponsors Money Smart - A Financial Education Program http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/adult.html. While not all 11 of the program’s training modules may be applicable to your needs, we suggest you visit the site and review the modules that cover debt and credit management. We believe you will find the information helpful as you navigate the student loan process, which will help you borrow responsibly.