The start of fall semester is just around the corner for tens of thousands of college students in Hawaii and many will be looking for ways to help pay for their education.
From tuition and fees to meals and housing, a college education can put a dent in a student’s already thin wallet. That’s why each semester, millions of students around the country seek out various types of loans.
But the Better Business Bureau says beware as companies are out there offering deals that look better than they really are.
“There are others that’s really false,” said Lisa Nakao, Hawaii Better Business Bureau. “You don’t want to put in your personal information especially for loans. You would be asked to put in your date of birth, social security number. Those are the kinds of things that you want to protect.”
But in the wrong hands, sharing that information could put you at risk for identity theft.
Here are some tips when looking for a loan:
Do your homework. Research a company before making any commitments
Read the fine print. Make sure you know what you’re signing up for.
Watch out for gifts or guarantees which can lure you into a false sense of security.
One of the best places to start for students who are looking for a student loan is at the financial aid office.
University of Hawaii at Manoa senior Roalyver Lopez says the number of loan options can be overwhelming and the offers can be tempting for students tightening their financial belt.
“School’s really expensive, you know, so people, they really trying to get the most out of it,” Lopez said.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the national student loan debt is nearing $1.2 trillion and it’s growing by the minute.
Lopez says he prefers to play it safe when it comes to financial decisions.
“I don’t really like venture out into different loans. I just stick with what I know is legit and I just stay with that until the end,” he said.