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Tips for Your Student

Prepare for College (and Beyond)

Speak with your child about their plans for college. By having some preliminary discussions, you can help them get the education they need while guiding them toward a successful career. Here are a few places to start:

  • Their future career goals and aspirations
  • Their eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness or Teacher Loan Forgiveness/Cancellation
  • How far away from home they would like to be while attending college
  • Which school(s) fit their budget and goals
  • The best type of school for them (2-year, 4-year, vocational, etc.)
  • How much they may need to borrow to pay for school
  • What their student loan payments could be—and that student loans have to be paid back no matter what, even if they don’t graduate or get their ideal job right away
  • The best ways to reduce expenses
  • How to maintain a healthy budget (visit the Financial Literacy section of for budget resources)

Plus, here are some simple tools your child can use to stay financially fit during and after college:

  • Planning & Budgeting Calculators: These calculators let you estimate your child’s future college expenses and what their student loan payment might be after they graduate.
  • Visit the Department of Education’s National Student Loan Data System ( NSLDS) to see exactly how much student loan debt they are borrowing throughout college. They will need a PIN to access their information, and can obtain a PIN at
  • Make payments on their loan interest while in school.
    • For Nelnet account numbers beginning with “E”: If you don't pay on the interest while you're in school (and have not been in a repayment status [when payments are due] before), payments made when you enter a repayment status will be applied to any unpaid interest and then to the outstanding principal balance.
    • For Nelnet account numbers beginning with “D” or “J”: If you don't pay on the interest while you're in school (regardless of whether you’ve been in a repayment status before), it's added to your principal balance (capitalized) when you graduate or drop below half-time status. For more information about interest capitalization, refer to our Interest Capitalization page.
  • Use the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook to find out what their career prospects will be once they graduate college.
  • Visit the Get Financially Fit section of our website. This section includes budget strategies, credit basics, credit card tips, financial goals, our Live Life Smart Guide for managing student loan repayment, and more.
  • Explore other options to reduce debt. Depending on which school your child attends, they might save money by choosing alternative meal plans, housing, transportation, and so on. They can always contact their college’s financial aid office for tips on how to reduce college costs at their campus and/or in their city.

If your college-bound child has questions about federal student loans, please have them contact us! We’re here to help.

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