How much do I need to borrow?

It’s important to borrow only what you need for education beyond high school. Remember: whatever you borrow, you have to pay back—with interest. Extra borrowing can lead to higher payments in the years to come.

A student loan is a long-term commitment. Before you accept a loan, research its rates and fees, the length of the repayment period, and your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.

Be realistic about what your salary will be after graduation and estimate the amount of debt you can afford. Ideally, student loan payments should be ten percent or less of your net monthly income.

Before you borrow, explore all of your financial aid options, focusing first on scholarships and grants that don’t have to be repaid.

Use this worksheet to budget your monthly income and expenses at college or other post-secondary school. You may need to borrow less than you think!

Student Budget Worksheet

Job or work-study
Financial help from relatives
Other income
Total Monthly Income $
Room and board (if you live on campus)
Rent and utilities (if you live off campus)
Food and Snacks
Books and supplies
Medical/dental/vision insurance /expenses
Personal (clothing, laundry, toiletries)
Total Monthly Expenses $
Income Less Expenses $ _________________

If your expenses exceed your income, you may need to borrow enough to cover the difference. If the difference is a positive number or is close to zero, you may not need to borrow at all.