College or career school is an important step in achieving your future goals, and there are many financial aid options to consider. Did you know that a federal student loan can be a great way to help pay for school? After all, a grant, work-study job, or a scholarship can be a huge help, but these forms of aid may not cover the full cost of attending school. So if you decide to take out a federal student loan, it’s important to understand what you are getting and be a responsible borrower. Getting a loan is a big decision. You might be paying your loans back for 10 years or more, so take your time to decide. And remember to accept only the loans that you need, because you’ll have to repay them once you’re out of school. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding how much to borrow. Do some research: Make sure that your school is the right fit for you both educationally and financially. Location, location, location: The amount of money you need to borrow can depend a lot on where your school is located. In-state schools and community colleges may cost less than out-of-state schools. And finally, getting an idea of your future income is also important when deciding how much to borrow. Starting salaries vary greatly depending on your career path, so it’s worth thinking about how the amount of your loan will affect your future finances. After all, your student loan payments should be only a small percentage of your salary after you graduate. Once you’ve decided on your school and figured out how much money you should borrow, you’ll need to sign a promissory note, which is an agreement to repay your loan. Make sure you keep a copy for your records. If you do take out loans, you’ll need to keep in touch with your loan servicer when repayment begins. Your loan servicer will make this easy for you you by offering web, e mail, and phone contact options. If you make this investment in your future, being an informed, responsible borrower can pay off in a big way. If you have questions or need more information, please visit StudentAid.gov.