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Borrowing the right way

College is often among the biggest investments parents make for their students, which is why it is so important to properly navigate the processes of borrowing and major selection. The New York Times recently reported that many young graduates are struggling to pin down a job in the current marketplace, and that this has placed an even greater burden on those who took out loans to make their way through higher education. 

At the same time, the source pointed out that only about 10 percent of individuals aged 17 to 24 possess a bachelor's degree or post-graduate certification. By selecting the right financial aid and the best possible major to get a job following graduation, parents will be helping to ensure that their students are successful both during their time as students and after earning their degrees. 

The STEM trend
U.S. News and World Report recently reported that science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees have been among the most widely discussed of late thanks to the intense need for workers skilled in these areas across the United States. Of all the choices of major out there today, few compare to the earning potential of STEM studies, and the market is only getting more demanding in terms of qualified applicants as time goes on. 

STEM fields are booming with respect to scholarship and job opportunities. STEM fields are booming with respect to scholarship and job opportunities.

At the same time, many students will have to take out loans to earn those STEM-related degrees, and the future is looking bright in this regard as well. According to the news provider, there are a range of scholarship programs offered by enterprises, government agencies, nonprofits and others for students who are looking to specialize in STEM fields. This makes sense – especially coming from the private sector – given the importance of a skilled workforce to economic growth. 

The source pointed out that many of the scholarships available will target a specific type of background, such as ethnicities or gender, but that others will be open to any individual who wants to get involved in this form of education. Borrowing is always going to be an investment, and choosing a major in these fields would certainly help to boost the returns parents and their students see following graduation. 

More good news
The Washington Post recently argued that loan rates are dropping and, alongside other trends, helping to push down the cost of taking out financial aid to attend college. Thanks to new changes coming from Washington, the source pointed out that Stafford loan rates are set to drop from 4.29 percent to 3.76 percent, while other programs backed by the government are also going to decline. 

Still, parents need to recognize the complexities and challenges associated with navigating the financial aid application and selection process to ensure that their students are getting the most bang for their buck. Consider contacting a Smart TrackTM college funding expert to give you the information and guidance necessary to select the best possible financial plan for your student's higher education career.