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5 Things You Should Know About Study Loans

Footing the bill for your tertiary education and training isn't a walk in the park.

21/11/2017 04:59 SAST
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If you are planning to study, and you don't have the money to pay the institution of higher learning directly right away, one alternative is to take out a study loan.

Here are 5 things to know about study loans:

1 Study loans must be paid back

No, a loan, whether it be from the bank or from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), is not a bursary. A loan must be paid back. You also have to pay interest on the money you borrowed to study.

NSFAS, the banks and other institutions specialising in loans might help you by allowing you to repay only the interest while you study or while you're doing your training. And then you pay back the bulk of the loan once you have finished your studies. Hopefully by then you are working.

If you only pay the interest while you study, you will be paying back the bulk of the loan only after you have finished your course.

2 Most people battle to qualify for a loan

It is estimated that more than half of the 19 million credit-active consumers in South Africa have impaired credit records.

More than 11 million credit-active consumers are over-indebted according to the South African Human Rights Commission.

If you're over-indebted or have an impaired credit record, there's a good chance your application for a study loan will be declined.

You have other alternatives such as getting a bursary or a scholarship.

3 You will be paying back that loan for a long time

If you only pay the interest while you study, you will be paying back the bulk of the loan only after you have finished your course.

If your studies are not successful, you will still have to pay back the loan.

When you stop studying, you are still held responsible to pay back the money. That loan is not cancelled if you cancel your studies.

4 Your qualification can be withheld -- until you have paid back your loan

Some institutions will not issue your certificate or diploma or study record while you still owe them money. So you might finish your course, pass it, and then need money to pay the rest of your loan -- so that you can get your qualification.

5 There are alternatives to getting a study loan

You have other alternatives such as getting a bursary or a scholarship. There are many institutions or businesses that offer these, and you can also sometimes arrange to work back your study loan instead of paying back the money.

Another alternative is the Skills Academy, which allows you to stop paying as soon as you have finished your course. It's no study loan, and there's no interest to be paid. You pay every month as long as you study, and you get your certificate as soon as you have finished your course.

Yes, it is possible.