Do you need a student loan?

Determine if you need to get a student loan

If the combination of your military benefits, grants, scholarships, and work-study isn’t enough to pay for school, you may need to borrow money. But remember: after you leave school, you’ll have to repay your student loans, with interest, even if you didn’t graduate.

Before you borrow, make sure to explore all of your options. Focus on getting grants and scholarships that don’t have to be repaid.
And to keep your financial future healthy, borrow only the amount you’ll need.
Use this worksheet to look at your income and expenses while you’re in school. If your expenses exceed your income, you may need to borrow enough to cover the difference. But if the difference is a positive number or close to zero, you may not need to borrow at all.

Instructions: Fill in the financing worksheet with your information. Or, download the spreadsheet and update it.

Education financing worksheet

Income and expenses Amount
Income while you are attending school
Military benefits, for example:

  • Tuition Assistance
  • Post 9/11 GI Bill
  • Yellow Ribbon Program
Job or work-study
Financial help from relatives
Other income
Total monthly income $0.00
Expenses while you are attending school
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 and expenses
Personal (clothing, laundry, toiletries)
Total monthly expenses $0.00
Income less expenses $0.00

Note: 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.

Click the Next button to explore how much debt you think you can repay.